Orange becomes first telco to test AT&T's ECOMP platform

Orange has become the first telecoms company to sign up to trial AT&T’s platform for creating and managing a software-defined network, called ECOMP.

ECOMP, or Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy, is a software platform that powers AT&T’s network, by providing service providers deeper control over network services. AT&T claims this will drive down costs by allowing operators to add new services more easily.

AT&T saw data usage on its network skyrocket by more than 150,00% between 2007 and 2015, with this set to grow even further as new applications such as 4K video and virtual reality become more widespread. ECOMP will enable these services to be integrated in to a network more easily, the US-based company claims.

“ECOMP is a stake in the ground. It’s a declaration that networks of the future will be software-centric, that they’ll be faster, more responsive to customer needs, and more efficient,” said AT&T SVP of domain 2.0 architecture and design Chris Rice. “Orange’s decision, as one of the leading international carriers in the world, is a great endorsement of that approach.”

The agreement comes just two months after the two global operators announced plans to collaborate on open source and standardisation initiatives for software-defined networking.

In July, Orange and AT&T announced plans to work together to move intelligence from customer hardware to the network in an attempt to reduce costs and complexity.

On the ECOMP announcement, Orange SVP of Orange labs network Alain Maloberti said: ““The analysis we conducted of ECOMP currently shows it to be highly agile and comprehensive, a testament to the commitment that AT&T has shown to address the key challenges that global service providers all face. 

“We jointly believe that a platform like ECOMP needs a strong and dynamic open source community to drive industry adoption, and we will work with AT&T to create a community to develop a reference software platform for automated network orchestration and management. We plan to start experiments with ECOMP firstly in a lab environment, to be followed by a field trial as part of our On-Demand Networks program.”