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This report provides an overview of CSPs' NFV adoption priorities, identifies challenges to NFV adoption, and outlines the NFV roadmap over the next five years.


  • The network core is the primary focus for virtualization, with 74% expecting to have deployed vEPC by the end of 2021.
  • Security and interoperability with legacy systems are currently network operators' top concern with NFV deployments.

Features and Benefits

  • Evaluates the current adoption of NFV in operators' top concern with NFV deployment.
  • Suggests which pain points are causing most problems for operators, and where they will look to invest for future developments.

Key questions answered

  • In which parts of the network are CSPs already adopting NFV?
  • What type and size of telecoms operator have been most successful at deploying virtual network functions (VNFs)
  • What are the key pain points for CSPs deploying NFV?
  • Where are telecoms operators looking to partner and invest next?
  • Are CSPs still invested in the success of NFV?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Recommendations

Two years of major deployments ahead

  • From the core, NFV adoption turns outwards

Top challenges – security, interoperability, and the cloud

  • Security and interoperability are the largest concerns for CSPs
  • Cloud migration – still years of work ahead
  • "Open" ecosystem still at a tipping point

Evolution in NFV, revolution in vendors?

  • CSP deployment roadmap 2020–24
  • Rise of the SI(s)
  • Investment in NFV still high and set to grow
  • Evolution not revolution


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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