Verizon's 5G efforts get boost from Intel

Intel has been working with Verizon (NYSE: VZ) on things like software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) for some time now, but it's getting even more familiar with the operator now that it has officially joined the Verizon 5G Technology Forum as one of its core members.

Verizon announced the forum at the start of the CTIA Super Mobility 2015 trade show earlier this month, when it called out partners Alcatel-Lucent  (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Cisco, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Samsung to test 5G in the company's innovation centers in Waltham, Mass., and San Francisco. Technology field trials are expected to begin in 2016. Intel is joining those efforts and could tap into some of the 5G technology it's developing at its 5G testbed in Oregon as well.

"We've got innovation that we've been investing in across our entire portfolio at Intel, from the device modem side, the access network and the core network, that marries up very nicely with what Verizon is doing" in San Francisco and Waltham, said Sandra Rivera, VP and general manager of the Network Platforms Group at Intel, who also serves as a board member and marketing committee chair at the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV). Verizon is not a member of OPNFV but is part of the technical steering work stream.

A lot of Intel's work in Verizon's 5G forum will be around implementation, testing, validation and understanding the platform requirements of different use cases, as well as collaboration in terms of standards. Rivera explained that Intel missed the window for being part of Verizon's initial launch, but it had agreed a while ago to be part of the effort.

Intel's work with Verizon goes back many years. Last year, Verizon launched a private/public cloud offering for the enterprise that started out as a proof of concept but wound up being a commercially viable product.

Rivera said she increasingly sees a trend of "co-opetition" between Tier 1 service providers and the Tier 1 hyper scale cloud providers, whereas a few years ago, it looked like a lot more contentious situation. Communication service providers carry all the content generated by the Googles, Facebooks and Netflix, and "they both believe there's value to be gotten by working more closely together versus competing with one another," she said. That doesn't mean they don't still compete, but "I really see a lot more co-opetition going on going forward," she told FierceWirelessTech.

While Verizon was the first U.S. operator to announce its 5G trial plans, Intel is working with other operators and partners on 5G around the world as well. It announced an agreement with SK Telecom in South Korea this past summer and earlier it had signed an MOU with Nokia Networks to create a mobile edge computing ecosystem.

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