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Telefonica's Lopez Elected New Leader of the ETSI NFV Work Group

August 02, 2016

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s NFV group, which is credited with bringing the concept of network functions virtualization into the telecom world’s collective consciousness, has a new leader. He is Diego Lopez of Telefonica.

Lopez replaces Steven Wright of AT&T’s strategic standards division in the U.S., who recently concluded his two-year term as the group’s chairman.

AT&T and Telefonica are among seven leading telecommunications operators that founded the ETSI-based NFV group back in November of 2012. Since then, things have moved quickly – in telecom terms – toward standardization and adoption of network functions virtualization.

The group is preparing to come out with Release 3 of its specifications, and it’s created various related working groups to address such things as NFV management and orchestration (also known as MANO) and interoperability (through the newly established Solutions, or SOL, work group). Speaking of SOL, Bruno Chatras, special technical advisor of Orange, and Thinh Nguyenphu, senior specialist at Nokia, have been named chairman and vice chairman of the new Solutions working group.

As for Telefónica, it is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, with a significant presence in 21 countries and a customer base of 341 million. The company calls its NFV project UNICA. Telefonica is starting its effort to virtualize network functions by targeting non-critical network components such as DNS and policy control, according to Light Reading in a March report, which said Germany is the first area on the company’s VNF hit list, possibly followed by Argentina next year. Ericsson is also a key vendor for Telefonica’s UNICA effort.

“NFV and SDN promise not only cost savings from a CapEx and OpEx perspective, but also revenue generation. TBR believes early adopters of these technologies will gain a competitive advantage in service pricing and feature differentiation,” said Chris Antlitz, senior analyst at Technology Business Research, which last month came out with a study talking about where the carriers are in their move to NFV, SDN, and 5G. According to RCR Wireless News, the TBR report indicates AT&T is leading the pack in terms of NFV deployment.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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