Network infrastructure vendors are courting wireless service providers all week at the Mobile World Congress 2016 powwow in Barcelona. Cisco in November outlined plans to cooperate with Ericsson on accounts and better meld their gear. Meanwhile, Alcatel Lucent, Huawei, Juniper and Nokia are all in the mix depending on geography and customer.
The upshot is these network providers have a mix of infrastructure and software managing services. The promise of software defined networking and network functions virtualization (NFV) is that these service providers can be nimbler and generate revenue.
For enterprises, the service provider scrum is worth watching because many of the network technologies and approaches like NFV will filter down. Service providers have the ultimate legacy infrastructure conundrum as well as integration headaches that go with a heterogeneous environment.
Cisco's David Yates, product mobility marketing chief, outlined how the Ultra Services Platform, which is specific to the networking giant, integrates various functions such as network policies, security and firewalls into one management core. By centralizing management and service creation, providers can better manage packets and growth.
Although network demand is soaring over the next 5 years, service provider revenue is largely flat because the spoils are going to over-the-top applications. Service providers will need to cook up offerings that will appeal to consumers.
Cisco is naming a series of customers for its Ultra platform, which is generally available now. The company is also outlining wins for its Ericsson partnership. Ericsson and Cisco are engaged with more than 200 customers around the world already.