AT&T adds Alcatel-Lucent, Fujitsu to list of vendors backing its SDN, NFV efforts

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AT&T's (NYSE: T) User-Defined Network Cloud initiative continues to expand, with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Fujitsu Network Communications becoming the latest vendors to join the program, which is launching a number of so-called beachhead programs starting this year as part of the operator's shift to an IP- and cloud-based network.

Tim Harden AT&T supply chain

Harden

"The architecture and deployment teams are finalizing their planned introduction of this new architecture, which we expect to roll out later this year and early 2015," said Tim Harden, president, AT&T supply chain.

Marian Croak, senior vice president of Domain 2.0 architecture and advanced services development, AT&T, previously told FierceWireless that AT&T Mobility's voice over LTE (VoLTE) rollout is one iteration of its User-Defined Network Cloud software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) efforts.

Unveiled in February 2014, the User-Defined Network Cloud effort will deliver network as a service (NaaS) to customers and is supported by AT&T's Domain 2.0 supplier program.

The effort will impact how the operator conducts business, works with suppliers and manages systems, platforms and software. In short, the company is getting away from using specialized, proprietary hardware that was tightly coupled with vendor software and is instead focused on using virtualized software on less-expensive commodity hardware.

Croak has said one of the most important qualifications needed by any company selected to work on the User-Defined Network Cloud is an adherence to open-source software. "We want to make sure these vendors are relying on commodity-based hardware, that they are not building proprietary systems, that they can be very flexible and adaptable," she noted.

In addition to Alcatel-Lucent and Fujitsu, other companies selected to work with AT&T on its drive toward an all-IP and cloud-based architecture include Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Tail-F Systems, Metaswitch Networks, Affirmed Networks, Amdocs and Juniper Networks. AT&T said it expects to divulge yet another round of vendors in the next few weeks.

The operator noted its planned capital expenditures will not change as a result of the latest vendor announcement, though the User-Defined Network Cloud program is expected to reflect a downward bias toward capex over the next five years. "This will come from growing the vendor community, relying less on specialized hardware and using more common off-the-shelf equipment, and deploying open service and network components that are reusable," AT&T added.

For more:
- see this AT&T release
- see FierceTelecom's take on the news

Related articles:
AT&T's 'nanodegree' gets workers ready for SDN, NFV future
Marian Croak on why and how AT&T is moving to SDN, NFV and an all-IP future with Domain 2.0
AT&T exec: VoLTE launch is one 'beachhead' project in User-Defined Network Cloud efforts
AT&T's Kris Rinne explains how 'User-Defined Network Cloud' will change carrier's network architecture
AT&T launches user-defined cloud strategy

Headline updated July 26, 2014, to add missing word.