Telecom service providers in the Asia-Pacific region are actively virtualizing their network architecture. A flurry of new applications development is driven by open source communities -- such as OPNFV and ONAP -- as well as from individual efforts by telcos.
According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the network function virtualization (NFV) market in the Asia-Pacific region will grow to $9.24 billion in 2022.
NFV Market Development in Asia-Pacific
Japan is the largest single market within the Asia-Pacific region, constituting 25.7 percent of the total NFV revenue. This is followed by South Korea and China, at 22.7 percent and 14.6 percent of the revenue growth respectively.
"Japan leads in the region, not only because of the desire to design resilient and reliable networks in preparation for future disaster threats, but also to prepare for the 2020 Summer Olympics," said Lian Jye Su, senior analyst at ABI Research.
South Korea and China are actively preparing for 5G, which requires both cloud radio access networks (C-RAN) and Cloud Core Networks.
At the same time, the rest of the regions are actively catching up. Tier Two telecom companies -- such as Banglalink and Ncell -- are currently deploying virtual subscriber data management platforms.
The industry has long agreed that there is no single approach to NFV and the latest market developments demonstrate just that fact. In July 2017, SK Telecom launched T-MANO, its own network function virtualization management and orchestration (MANO) platform.
This move is contrary to major Chinese telecommunication service providers, who opt to collaborate with large number of vendors and other telcos in ONAP to develop a common MANO platform. Telecom companies in China aim to become the catalyst for the government 'Made in China 2025' strategy.
Through their NFV initiatives, Chinese telcos can empower local industrial players with new capabilities, such as multi-access edge computing, massive machine type communications, dynamic cloud services and vehicle-to-everything communications.
Outlook for NFV Application Growth
"That is why the recent NFV interoperability test between Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia are important. Such collaboration allows telcos to truly embrace the multi-vendor NFV deployment and benefit from the open source nature of NFV,” concludes Su.
ABI Research analysts believe that virtualized network function on-boarding, interoperability testing, and lifecycle management are becoming the new focus of the industry, as telecom service providers seek to leverage the strengths of different hardware and software vendors.