Samsung claims to have beaten off competition from several other vendors to secure a major NFV deal with SK Telecom.
The South Korean operator is to use Samsung Corp. 's NFV technology to support a nationwide Internet of Things (IoT) network.
In a blog post on Samsung's website, it said the vendor's AdaptiV Core technology would support network innovation and improve service quality.
It plans to launch services on the IoT network in the first half of this year and says its first applications will cover package delivery tracking, CCTV monitoring and city-wide sensor monitoring.
Along with other network vendors, Samsung is positioning NFV as one of the core technologies of next-generation networks. Supporters argue that NFV will lead to greater efficiency and allow operators to launch new services with more agility.
Samsung claims to have scored higher marks than its NFV rivals during SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM)'s assessment of product performance, functionality, stability and ease of management.
Its AdaptiV Core product features a graphical user interface that lets customers more easily manage their virtualized resources, said the company.
It also includes a virtualized evolved packet core (EPC) that will be responsible for managing the traffic flowing to and from IoT devices. By "scaling" network functions as they are needed, the virtualized EPC should bring about performance improvements while reducing power consumption and cost.
In late 2013, SK Telecom carried out trials of virtualized EPC technology with a number of vendors, including Samsung and Nokia Networks . At the time, the operator said that Nokia was the only vendor to "successfully demonstrate a complete EPC solution in a cloud environment". (See SK Telecom Eyes Virtual Packet Core.)
Sweden's Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has more recently figured in SK Telecom's NFV plans. In September, the two companies agreed to collaborate on research into 5G and NFV technologies with the aim of boosting operational efficiency. (See Ericsson-LG, SKT Team on 5G, NFV R&D.)
That SK Telecom eventually plumped for Samsung on the IoT network is perhaps no surprise -- as two of South Korea's biggest technology players, they enjoy an especially close relationship.
Other big operators are also throwing their weight behind NFV technology. Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) has carried out trials with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) and aims to have commercial services running over a virtualized EPC by March next year.
Market research company Analysys Mason believes the NFV market will take off next year as "drivers start to overpower inhibitors." By 2018, it expects the global NFV market to be worth $2.4 billion, up from just $181 million in 2013.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading