As Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. gave out its revenue forecasts during an analysts' event last week, it became clear the company sees software-defined networking (SDN) trumping hardware sales in the long term.
"For Huawei, the age of hardware-driven growth has clearly ended. Indeed, Huawei is positioning SoftCOM as the network architecture vision of the next five years," writes Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin in a note published Monday.
SoftCOM is Huawei's vision combining SDN; network functions virtualization (NFV); hosted OSS and BSS functions; and masses of cloud-based services all over the network.
It's not as though Huawei, which hosts analysts and some media in Shenzhen every year for a few days of briefings, was declaring hardware dead. But within the Carrier Networks division, Huawei expects software and services to grow at about 15 percent per year, which implies "anemic annual growth of less than 1 percent for fixed and mobile products combined, based on the figures that Huawei reported during the conference," Perrin writes.
As for what SoftCOM will actually be, Huawei remains light on specifics. As Perrin points out, that's true of many vendors' SDN or NFV strategies, given that carriers are still deciding what to do with these concepts.