SK Telecom, Samsung, HPE and Intel MOU for 5G NFV Technology Evolution; ETSI ISG-NFV?

Who needs the ETSI ISG on NFV?  Apparently, no one BUILDING 5G INFRASTRUCTURE!  Founded in November 2012 by seven of the world’s leading telecoms network operators, ETSI ISG NFV became the home of the definition and consolidation for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) technologies.  Yet there is very little, if any, commercial deployments based on their specifications.  In particular, the greatly promoted ETSI NFV management and orchestration (NFV-MANO).

SK Telecom  today announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Samsung Electronics, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Intel for cooperation in the commercialization of an evolved 5G network functions virtualization (NFV) platform

Under the MOU, the four companies will jointly develop evolved NFV technologies for 5G network infrastructure, establish a standardized process for adoption of NFV, and develop technologies that can harness the capabilities of the virtualized network.   Together, the companies will be able to reduce the time required to validate and integrate technologies from various vendors as well as verify them within the network. This will result in a more rapid introduction of new innovative technologies that enhance end user experience.   

Mobile operators will be able to benefit from a significantly reduced time-to-market for the latest 5G services such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) through the NFV platform. Previously, they had to install each new hardware equipment or upgrade existing ones to introduce a new service.   

The four companies will realize an evolved 5G NFV platform by applying Samsung’s 5G solution based on technologies from Intel and HPE to SK Telecom’s 5G network.  To this end, Intel will provide its latest technologies, including Intel Xeon Processors, Ethernet 800 Series Network Adapters and Solid State Drives, and HPE will provide HPE ProLiant Servers to Samsung Electronics for early development and verification purposes. SK Telecom plans to establish a process for 5G network virtualization, which includes interconnecting its 5G core network to Samsung’s virtualized 5G solutions.   

“Through this global cooperation, we will secure a solid basis for commercialization of an evolved 5G NFV platform and provide more innovative services to our customers,” said Kang Jong-ryeol, Vice President and Head of ICT Infrastructure Center of SK Telecom. “Going forward, we will continue to develop new technologies for 5G NFV evolution to play a leading role in realizing communication services of the future.” 

“Together with SK Telecom, HPE and Intel, Samsung will lay the groundwork for network virtualization to allow SK Telecom to swiftly apply Samsung’s virtualized solutions on partner hardware platforms. As more operators look to virtualized networks, this collaboration will serve as an exemplar of transforming legacy networks to virtual networks,” said Roh Wonil, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Strategy, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “With proven success in 5G commercialization, we will continue to extend our 5G leadership, allowing customers to experience immersive 5G services.”  

“Industry collaboration is essential to accelerate the rollout of 5G networks,” said Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice president and general manager of the Intel Network Platforms Group. “The joint work between SK Telecom, Intel, HPE and Samsung will be instrumental in helping SK Telecom implement the latest technologies and new capabilities in a faster and more agile way, ultimately delivering new innovative services to their end users.” 

“We are pleased to be providing telco optimized infrastructure for this collaboration with SK Telecom, Samsung and Intel”, said Claus Pedersen, vice president, Telco Infrastructure Solutions, HPE. “HPE believes that the future of 5G lies in open, interoperable software and hardware innovation from different vendors. This is yet another proof point that HPE is the leading open infrastructure provider for 5G, helping telcos to deploy 5G services faster, on secure telco optimized platforms.”

About SK Telecom

SK Telecom is Korea’s leading ICT company, driving innovations in the areas of mobile communications, media, security, commerce and mobility. Armed with cutting-edge ICT including AI and 5G, the company is ushering in a new level of convergence to deliver unprecedented value to customers. As the global 5G pioneer, SK Telecom is committed to realizing the full potential of 5G through ground-breaking services that can improve people’s lives, transform businesses, and lead to a better society.

SK Telecom says they have attained unrivaled leadership in the Korean mobile market with over 30 million subscribers, which account for nearly 50 percent of the market. The company now has 47 ICT subsidiaries and annual revenues approaching KRW 17.8 trillion.

References:

https://www.samsung.com/global/business/networks/insights/press-release/sk-telecom-and-samsung-forms-global-cooperation-for-5g-nfv-technology-evolution/

For more information, please contact skt_press@sk.com or visit our Linkedin page www.linkedin.com/company/sk-telecom.

 

TM Forum Survey: Communications Service Providers Struggle with Business Case for NFV & Digital Transformation

Communications Service Providers (CSPs)  are still contending with how to convince customers of the business value of network functions virtualization (NFV) and also struggling with digital transformation (CX), according to a TM Forum industry survey of 160 people from 66 CSPs.  Approximately one third of CSPs surveyed said they are deploying NFV in the packet core and 36% reported NFV deployment at the mobile edge or as virtual CPE. The number of survey respondents admitting to having no timetable for virtualization also fell from 30% a year ago to 23% this year.

The TM Forum CSP survey, conducted this past summer, was dominated by non-North American operators, with 34% based in Asia Pacific, 24% in Europe and only 3% in North America.

Most CSP respondents are also struggling with network transformation, even though many (44%) think it’s essential to their overall digital transformation process. They are also struggling to adopt new ways of working within their network operations, with 67% admitting they have not introduced DevOps, considered important to become more agile and less siloed, in network teams at all.

Speaking during a Telecom TV panel at 5G World, Franz Seiser, VP of Core Network & Services, Deutsche Telekom, explained that NFV is, indeed, a key building block for 5G, but it will take time to implement.

“We are not where we’d like to be as an industry [with NFV deployment],” Seiser said, adding that it’s less a technology issue than one of transformation. “We have a big job still head of us in progressing and transforming the way we work.” He noted, however, that there is time to catch up because the first 5G standards are for new radio access only and do not include the network core although the development of these is well underway.

Tier 1 CSPs including AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, Telstra, Verizon and Vodafone have announced publicly that they are embracing NFV and SDN, and our latest DTT survey shows that the pace of network transformation is picking up among these and other telcos. Nearly a third of CSP respondents said they are deploying NFV in the core, up from just 22% six months ago. In addition, fewer respondents said they have no timetable for virtualization, and among respondents whose companies are not yet deploying NFV, one in five said they will start deploying VNFs within the next year.

Tier 1 CSPs including AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, Telstra, Verizon and Vodafone have announced publicly that they are embracing NFV and SDN, and our latest DTT survey shows that the pace of network transformation is picking up among these and other telcos. Nearly a third of CSP respondents said they are deploying NFV in the core, up from just 22% six months ago (see graphic below). In addition, fewer respondents said they have no timetable for virtualization, and among respondents whose companies are not yet deploying NFV, one in five said they will start deploying VNFs within the next year.

Not all CSPs are taking the same approach to network virtualization. Some are focusing on virtualizing specific applications, without undertaking wider transformation programs. Others are taking an approach that focuses more on improving customer centricity, particularly for enterprise customers, while many see network transformation as part of a bigger digital or business transformation. TM Forum research shows that 44% of CSP respondents view network transformation as part of overall digital transformation.

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Digital Transformation Status:

“Our technical team believes we are well along the way to (digital) transformation,” the online report quotes one survey respondent saying. “The business team has absolutely no idea what digital transformation means to them and their work. In my opinion, it feels like the technical team is using this transformation as a way to grab power within the organization.”

One of the problems, says TM Forum Chief Analyst Mark Newman, is that CEOs don’t have the confidence in their IT staff to lead a digital transformation effort.

The TM Forum Digital Transformation Tracker cites two other reasons network transformation is lagging, including the fact that there is still “a loose definition and interpretation of what a digital transformation program involves.” In addition, it says, there are “different objectives of network transformation programs and the constantly-evolving timeframe for network virtualization and cloud adoption.”

Legacy OSS/BSS systems remain the biggest challenge to network transformation, according to 60% of respondents, while 56% ranked security vulnerabilities as a major issue and 52% were concerned with how long it’s taking standards to mature.

References:

http://inform-digital.tmforum.org/digital-transformation-tracker-3

http://www.intuitive-design.co.uk/clients/TMForum/21583_DTT3/V1/DTT3-Report-Network-Transformation.pdf

https://www.lightreading.com/nfv/nfv-mano/csps-still-puzzling-over-nfv-business-case/d/d-id/746931