Virtualization is now seen as a significant enabler of innovation by operators. A defining moment for the drive towards virtualization in mobile networks occurred in October 2012 when thirteen of the world’s leading telecoms network operators came together under the auspices of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), to address the technical challenges around virtualization in an initiative called Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).
However, on its own network functions virtualization is not enough. BSS also needs to be virtualized; but to truly gain the benefits of virtualization operators need to partner and work with vendors with domain expertize and a library of tested use cases to accelerate innovation and service launch. By virtualizing BSS, operators can:
Adopt ‘learn fast’ processes
Increase the range and speed of product lifecycle management – leading to increased innovation and faster timescales to deploy new services and adapt existing offers. Operators benefit from reduced risk when deploying new innovative services as these can be rolled out or rolled back, or upgrades can be easily done, without committing resources that can’t be easily reused elsewhere.
Adapt and scale new services to enable rapid time to market
Deliver a platform to embrace OTT and content partnerships and the flexibility to create new business models (such as new MVNO, M2M and enterprise models)
Reduce capital costs by consolidating hardware using high volume standard hardware instead of proprietary hardware and enabling the optimum utilization of the hardware deployed. For instance, hardware will no longer need to be permanently dedicated to a specific application or purpose; this means for example that hardware that is only needed for occasional peak load can be re-purposed during off peak periods, as virtualization makes it so easy to deploy applications. Furthermore, the ability for virtualized applications to co-exist on the same physical server (multi-tenancy) removes the need to dedicate a physical hardware set to one application. The ease of deployment of virtualized applications using open standards significantly reduces Operational costs. The adoption of open standards reduces vendor lock-in, reduces the need for vendor specific skills, simplifies integration and enables automation (Orchestration).