New growth from 5G standalone, RAN and SASE is getting underway, amidst maturity and decline in foundational deployments.
Telco cloud 2.0, fuelled by 5G standalone and RAN, is on the starting grid
This report accompanies the latest release and update of STL Partners ‘Telco Cloud Deployment Tracker’ database. This contains data on deployments of VNFs (Virtual Network Functions), CNFs (cloud-native network functions) and SDN (Software Defined Networking) in the networks of the leading telcos worldwide. It builds on an extensive body of analysis by STL Partners over the past nine years on NFV and SDN strategies, technology and market developments.
Download the additional file for the full dataset of Telco Cloud deployments
Scope and content of the Tracker
The data in the latest update of our interactive tool and database covers the period up to September 2021, although reference is made in the report to events and deployments after that date. The data is drawn predominantly from public-domain information contained in news releases from operators and vendors, along with reputable industry media.
We apply the term ‘deployment’ to refer to the total set of VNFs, CNFs or SDN technology, and their associated management software and infrastructure, deployed at an operator – or at one or more of an operator’s opcos or natcos – in order to achieve a defined objective or support particular services (in the spreadsheet, we designate these as the ‘primary purpose’ of the deployment). For example, this could be:
- to deploy a 5G standalone core
- to launch a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) service
- or to construct a ‘telco cloud’ or NFV infrastructure (NFVi): a cloud infrastructure platform on which virtualised network services can be introduced and operated.
The Tracker is provided as an interactive tool containing line-by-line analysis of over 900 individual deployments of VNFs, CNFs or SDN technology, which can be used to drill down by:
- Region where deployed
- Technology vendor
- Primary purpose
- Category of NFV/SDN technology deployed
- …and more filters
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5G standalone (SA) will hit an inflection point in 2022
5G standalone (SA) core is beginning to take off, with 19 deployments so far expected to be completed in 2022. The eventual total will be higher still, as will that of NSA core, as NSA 5G networks continue to be launched. As non-standalone (NSA) cores are replaced by SA, this will result in another massive wave of core deployments – probably from 2023/4 onwards.
Standalone 5G vs non-standalone 5G core deployments
Source: STL Partners
Previous telco cloud tracker releases
Each new release of the tracker is global, but is accompanied by an analytical report which focusses on trends in given regions from time to time:
- 2020 in review and focus on North America: How should telcos do cloud? – April 2021
- Telco Cloud Europe update: Open RAN approaching tipping point – October 2020
- NFV goes mainstream: How cloud-native is contributing to growth – June 2020
- Deployment Tracker: Asia-Pacific points to the future of NFV – November 2019
- Deployment Tracker: North American data and trends – June 2019
- Deployment Tracker: Europe 2018 update – November 2018
- Deployment Tracker: Global review and update – August 2018
- Deployment Tracker: Asia takes the lead – April 2018
- Deployment Tracker: North America – SD-WAN tail wags NFV dog – January 2018
- Deployment Tracker: Europe – September 2017