NTT DoCoMo completes NFV trials

Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo has successfully completed proof-of-concept (PoC) trials for the feasibility of network functions virtualisation (NFV).

In partnership with vendors including Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and NEC, DoCoMo completed the trials using its virtualised evolved packet core (EPC) – common in many LTE systems – which demonstrated a number of advanced network control mechanisms.

Seizo Onoe, EVP and CTO at DoCoMo, said that he expects NFV to change the ecosystem of network industries.

"But without a high degree of collaboration among the players, such hopes could end up like pie in the sky,” Onoe added. “Therefore, I am delighted that we have been successfully collaborating in PoC trials with the industry's leading vendors."

The trials demonstrated capabilities such as scalable user-data processing to handle concentrated user traffic efficiently, as well as automatic network-recovery techniques to improve service delivery stability in the event of hardware failure.

Other advantages of NFV include improved connectivity for dense data traffic, faster time-to-market for new services and high cost effectiveness.

DoCoMo now expects to commercially launch virtual mobile network services by the fiscal year ending in March 2016 and has been collaborating with the three vendors since November 2013.

“We are delighted to collaborate with DoCoMo toward the realisation of a virtualised mobile internet architecture,” said Kelly Ahuja, SVP and GM of mobility business group at Cisco.

“It is exciting to see a world leader in the mobile industry being fully committed to virtualisation in their network architecture where and when it makes sense for their customers.”

This week, another vendor involved in the trials, Alcatel-Lucent, deployed a virtualised RAN solution to Saudi operator Mobily, from its newly launched NFV portfolio.

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