Operators who use software-defined networking (SDN) in mobile backhaul networks could create opex savings of €6.6 billion, according to new research.
 
The study, published by research firm Strategy Analytics on behalf of Tellabs, looked at five applications where SDN could help produce savings: metro aggregation/load redistribution, local breakout/Internet IXP, Wi-Fi offload/video redirect, cloud RAN and small cells.
 
Although overall opex savings are significant, the amount gained from each of the five applications varies greatly – between 25 and 70 percent.
 
The largest single opex saving will come from Wi-Fi offload/video redirect. Operators are increasingly using Wi-Fi data offload technique to ease spectrum congestion and relieve the stress on mobile network infrastructures.
 
According to Tellabs, this application could contribute a 70 percent opex saving by 2017 – increasing from €162 million in 2013 to more than €2.2 billion by 2017.
 
Geographically, Asia-Pacific is set to the gain the most – the survey predicts opex savings of €4.1 billion over the period, compared to savings of €924 million and €917 million in North America and Western Europe respectively.
 
Meanwhile, the Middle East & Africa, Central & Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean & Latin America, would see savings of €269 million, €186 million and €147 million respectively.
 
The report follows on from an earlier study by the same authors, published in August last year, which showed that capex savings from using SDN in mobile backhaul could reach €3 billion by 2017.
 
Opex savings are due to be twice as big thanks as the ongoing provisioning and management of backhaul capacity is far larger than the initial outlay.
 
Stuart Benington, Director, Corporate / Technology Strategy at Tellabs told European Communications that different technologies bend towards different financial aspects.
 
“It depends on the technology; for example, NFV is more focused on capex. With SDN, it’s the operational efficiency and scalability… it’s also highly programmable,” he explained.
 
“This report underscores the valuable business cases for SDN, which to date, the industry as a whole has lacked.”
 
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