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Verizon has officially joined Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) as the eighth platinum communications service provider (CSP) member in the group. This move helps cement ONAP as the de facto solution for service automation, which will help accelerate network management and orchestration initiatives.

Verizon plays nice with AT&T to accelerate network service automation

On January 16th, Verizon announced that it had officially joined ONAP as the eighth platinum CSP member in the group (the sixteenth CSP member overall). This move is interesting because Verizon historically stayed away from ONAP – most likely to avoid getting in bed with its largest rival, AT&T, which designed a large part of the ONAP platform. By putting aside its competition with AT&T, Verizon is lending further credibility to ONAP and raising its profile within the discussion about open source service automation.

Within the industry, the imperative to "automate or die" is louder now than ever before. Ovum suspects that Verizon's announcement is the first of many major announcements we'll be hearing ahead of Mobile World Congress that will aim to accelerate network virtualization and get the industry one step closer to its endgame – end-to-end network automation through software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).

SDN/NFV investments will ramp over the next year, with Ovum forecasting CSP investments to hit $34bn by 2020. But NFV investments have not taken off as quickly as expected, due in large part to the fact that operators have a multitude of open source platforms from which to choose; this has led to major challenges in network automation and orchestration because operators did not know which option to choose.

The good news is that with industry consolidation (OPEN-O and ECOMP merging last year to form ONAP), only two major platforms are left in the game – ONAP and Open Source MANO (OSM). Telefonica is the major CSP backing OSM, but there have been rumors that Telefonica may be warming up to ONAP. If this proves to be true, it would be yet another driver pushing ONAP further ahead of OSM. Ovum expects that additional CSPs (tier 1, 2, and 3) will follow suit this year and signal support for ONAP, expanding ONAP's CSP base, and establishing the open source platform as the de facto solution for automation.


Further reading

Market Opportunity Analysis: NFV/SDN, SPT002-000027 (January 2018)

"Pace of NFV/SDN adoption does not meet initial vision," SPT002-000034 (December 2017)

2018 Trends to Watch: Network Services, TE0005-001004 (October 2017)

"CSPs form strategic alliances with cloud providers to accelerate NFV," TE0006-001436 (September 2017)


Stephanie Gibbons, Principal Analyst, Intelligent Networks

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