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Tier 1 Carriers Make NFV, SDN News at MWC

Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) is an enormous event taking place this week where the wireless ecosystem is discussing and displaying all aspects of mobile networking – from applications, to endpoints and the core. While the noise of the event can make it difficult to unearth specific areas of interest, two of the areas that are generating a fair amount of heat at the Barcelona gathering are network functions virtualization and software-defined networking. And some of the world’s largest carriers are making new moves on this front.

AT&T (News - Alert) on Monday unveiled its vision for its network in the future, and the vendors it is employing to realize that vision. It calls this vision User-Defined Network Cloud, which AT&T says involves a new software-based architecture and a whole new way of doing business and working with suppliers.

“With the User-Defined Network Cloud AT&T is looking to accelerate the time to market for introducing new services, take advantage of higher utilization of resources and operational savings, and have the flexibility to meet rapidly changing customer needs,” says David Krozier, principal analyst at Ovum.

This week AT&T identified Ericsson (News - Alert), Tail-F Systems AB, Metaswitch Networks, and Affirmed Networks Inc. (which it listed in that order) as the key companies it has selected under its new Domain 2.0 supplier program. Affirmed is helping AT&T out with the virtualized evolved packet core. Ericsson will handle integration and deliver “transformation services.”

CenturyLink is another service provider with NFV and SDN news this week at Mobile World Congress. The company announced it has chosen Ericsson’s new business and operational support system, called Service Agility, to more efficiently bring to market new enterprise applications like global Ethernet, Internet, optical wavelength, and virtual private network. The carrier plans to implement the new Ericsson solution starting late this year and into 2015.

Telefonica, the Spain-based carrier that offers services in 24 countries in Europe and Latin America, is also making news this week with the unveiling of its UNICA initiative, which is what it calls its move to a new open, virtualized infrastructure. In making this announcement, the company noted its involvement in the ETSI (News - Alert) NFV group, along with leading operators AT&T and Verizon. Network as a service, multitenancy, and the ability to virtually provision customer premises equipment are among the applications Telefonica discussed relative to UNICA.

Ericsson said it has joined forces with Telefonica on an R&D program through which the companies will collaborate “in deep-dive technical investigations and testing, addressing areas such as network transformation and migration, virtualization of network functions, network security, SDN technology as well as network virtualization infrastructure, management and orchestration.”

Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) this week said it’s in a co-creation agreement with Telefonica to advance NFV via its CloudBand NFV platform.

Also this week, Alcatel-Lucent announced an expansion of its work with Intel Corp. to help operators improve time to market and operational efficiency through the use of NFV and virtualized radio access networks.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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