Who's Ready to Buy Evolved Packet Core?

With hundreds of respondents on the record already, our Evolved Packet Core Benchmark survey is starting to take shape. And, while many are aware of the importance of the Evolved Packet Core, less than a third of respondents so far have been labled "EPC-savvy." (See What's Your EPC Readiness? and LR Survey Shows EPC Knowledge Gap.)

In case you're not that "EPC-savvy" either, here's a quick refresher on what the initials actually refer to: Many wireless networks are about to undergo a major change in architecture as carriers move to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. LTE doesn't switch voice and data on separate circuits -- as earlier cellular networks have -- but, like WiMax, handles all traffic on a "flat-IP" architecture. The EPC is the conduit through which mobile users connect to applications in an LTE network, and it supports vital session, mobility, and QoS management functions. In other words, EPC technology is at the heart of a radical shift in the way many of us will do mobile.

With that in mind, Light Reading Mobile got on the phone with Heavy Reading senior analyst Gabriel Brown to chat about the survey and what it all means.

Brown believes that, overall, the survey shows that carriers are at least aware of the importance of EPC but that most are still at the very earliest stages with the technology. He takes the fact that 44 percent of respondents to the survey say they now have "staff dedicated to tracking EPC development" as a promising sign.

"It’s a pretty important metric. Having so many people claiming to have technical dedicated to Evolved Packet Core shows how seriously the industry is taking this," Brown tells LR Mobile.

Yet Brown notes that 41 percent of the survey takers say that EPC will start having an impact on their capex budget "sometime in 2011-12," compared to 31 percent that expect to start spending on the technology this year. While 33 percent of respondents say they are conducting EPC field trials now, 24 percent expect to start later this year, and 30 percent don't intend to test the technology until 2011.

"This indicates that carriers are making evaluations now, leading to actual commitments this year and the next for the majority," Brown says. "Obviously, Verizon and some others have made their decision already." Overall, 29 percent of those surveyed say their companies will make purchasing decisions on EPC in 2010, 36 percent say 2011, and 22 percent believe it won't happen until 2012 or later.

So how does your company's EPC readiness measure up? To find out, just take a few minutes to complete our EPC Benchmark questionnaire by following this link:


— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Three OSS Imperatives: Customer, Cost & Cloud, a Light Reading Virtual Event for service providers that need to understand how to adapt and transform their operational support systems to put customers first, drive out cost, and support new cloud-based services. To take place on Tuesday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, access is free. For more information, or to register, click here.

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