OREANDA-NEWS. NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) today announced that it has been selected by NTT DOCOMO, INC. (DOCOMO) as a development partner for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) technology, which DOCOMO aims to commercialize in March 2016.

NEC has started the development to deploy NEC's mobile communications software such as Virtualized EPC (vEPC) and a Virtual Network Function Manager (VNF Manager) to Docomo's commercial network. The vEPC virtualizes the functions of a LTE core network, including the Mobility Management Entity (MME), the Serving Gateway (S-GW), and the PDN Gateway (P-GW). The VNF Manager implements lifecycle management of the virtualized LTE core network (*).

This mobile communications software will open the way both for flexibly increasing or decreasing the processing capacity of the core network according to the load and for automatically recovering from hardware failure in a short time. So it will help improve the stability and reliability of the core network.

In response to a sharp increase in mobile traffic, telecom operators are continuing to invest in their network infrastructure. Meanwhile, it has been common to use dedicated hardware for building LTE core networks. This means that the cost and lead-time for the procurement of dedicated hardware and its running costs have become impediments for flexible network operations. As a solution to these issues, the NFV technology, which virtualizes the functions of the communication equipment, has attracted attention.

"NFV, which has finally moved into its commercial phase, is no longer just a pie-in-the-sky idea. Through multi-vendor initiatives with NEC and other leading vendors in the NFV domain, we look forward to putting NFV to practical use and thereby helping to accelerate the transition to a new era for mobile networks," said Mr. Seizo Onoe, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at DOCOMO.

"NEC is delighted to be selected by NTT Docomo as a partner for the development of their industry-leading network functions virtualization technology. NEC will aim towards the early realization of Docomo's virtualized EPC, while ensuring that telecom carriers around the world can fully reap the benefits of network virtualization by providing an open virtualization-based mobile core technology. In this way, NEC will continue helping telecom carriers to provide advanced communication services," said Mr. Shunichiro Tejima, Executive Vice President of NEC Corporation.

As a total solution provider, NEC has long been delivering infrastructure systems such as mobile core networks and wireless base stations to DOCOMO. It became the world's first to release commercial vEPC products in 2013 to lead the development of NFV technologies. In addition, NEC has successfully tested mobile core network virtualization in a multivendor environment with DOCOMO. NEC believes that it has been chosen for the current project by DOCOMO due to its track record as well as innovation in network virtualization.

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilize the company's experience and global resources, NEC's advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise in technological innovation to empower people, businesses and society.