CHICAGO -- Light Reading's Big Telecom Event -- In a speech that alternately amused and informed the BTE audience, Telus CTO Ibrahim Gedeon expressed some clear skepticism around the NFV hype and warned that any serious technology changes must be accompanied by quantifiable benefits.
At one point, the perennial crowd favorite compared NFV to underwear. "Unless you are going to be in an accident and going to the hospital, does anybody really care?" he said. "It's something you do for yourself that no one else sees."
Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) has been able to virtualize route reflectors and CPE, and it has deployed a cloud RAN (radio access network) on its mobile side. But the carrier has not commercialized the products, because of the complexity of deploying them across a network providing millions of Canadians with voice, data, video, and wireless service.
Just doing virtualization for its own sake, or doing it without a guarantee of a significant improvement in total cost of ownership (TCO), is pointless, Gedeon told the audience.
"We see NFV as transformational trigger. It promises to deliver a common multi-purpose, extensible, multi-tenant infrastructure that is agile, programmable, adaptable, and hosts applications seamlessly," he said. "But as we operationalize, there has to be an order of magnitude improvement in TCO. When we look at the promise of putting in new technology and then look at the business case, if someone says it's a 10% savings over three years, you should shoot them."
In one of his serious moments, Gedeon encouraged telecom network operators to share more information with one another, especially when they fail.
"We have to stop hiding our failures," he said. "I'd love someone to say, 'We suck at something.'"
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading