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Many carriers acknowledge the need to transform to a software-centric model for network services, but few have made a strong commitment to make such a transformation. Software-defined networks, network functions virtualization, cloud, mobile, and virtualization technologies have become critical ingredients for how future network services will be designed, operated, and managed. New vendor relationships, radical changes to develop new services faster, Agile development, and moving to a DevOps model are all part of the transformation.


  • AT&T's transformation to a software-centric service model and provider has been significant in its scale, early vision, long-term commitment, and overall industry impact. Many large carriers have since developed their own transformation programs that are clearly on a similar trajectory, but AT&T was the first to invest heavily, make major organizational changes, culturally support the shift, retrain employees, and commit to the transformation broadly and early.
  • Many tier-1 global carriers considered a similar transformation and were involved in many aspects of SDN/NFV during the past three years, but few made the same commitment, investment, and cultural changes. Now carriers of all sizes compare themselves to AT&T's progress.
  • In addition, major industry network and software vendors admit that AT&T was the carrier to demand changes to a more software-centric purchasing and service model.

Features and Benefits

  • Understand more about AT&T's transformation to a software-centric provider and its move to become more agile and leverage DevOps in development of new network and managed services.
  • Provides insight on the various changes and investments that AT&T has made in the past three years to transform into a software-centric company and carrier.
  • Shares why AT&T's transformation was unique and able to impact the industry.

Key questions answered

  • What were the major changes to AT&T's transformation into a software-centric model and carrier?
  • How long has AT&T been investing in making this transformation, and why is it unique in making this change?
  • What are the lessons learned from AT&T's transformation, and what key recommendations does Ovum share?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Recommendations

Setting the course early

  • What was the motivation for AT&T to transform?
  • Early programs that gave AT&T a head start

Major elements of AT&T's transformation story

  • AT&T's cultural change starts at the top
  • Domain 2.0 transforms AT&T's supply chain and more
  • Moving to DevOps and Agile for new service development
  • Controlled commitment to open source and open network
  • Encouraging growth and transition of employees' skills

The impact of the transformation

  • Setting the course for the industry
  • Current status of virtualizing network functions
  • Current impact on business services – some examples

Benefits of the transformation

  • Customer perspective
  • Internal benefits


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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