NFV Market to Reach $38 Billion by 2022


After a slower start than initially anticipated, the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) market will experience moderate growth through ongoing NFV investments by major telcos. ABI Research forecasts that North America will lead the market, accumulating $13 billion in NFV-related investments during 2022, while Europe will experience the highest growth rate at an estimated 53% CAGR between 2017 and 2022. Early adopters claim several benefits to NFV-enabled systems, which include reductions in network CapEx and OpEx, service agility, and reduced deployment times for new network elements.

In 2015 and 2016, the market experienced some early successes but mostly reconsiderations and failures with NFV. Early adopters conducted proof of concept testing and NFV-integrated system demonstrations with the aim to understand the true impact of NFV in the technical, operational, and cultural domains. Our forecasts indicate that NFV will become a sizeable opportunity for vendors, although it is not yet clear whether it will cannibalize existing hardware-based product lines or create new market use cases.

Additional highlights of the report include:
• NFV market is segmented in 3 sub-parts: Market by Framework (NFVI, VNFs, and MANO), Market by Solution Type (Software, Hardware, and Services), and Market by Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and RoW).

• NFV Framework and Solution Type segmentations are also further subdivided, to maintain the granularity in the data for each geographic region.

• Research Methodology is added to present an analogy behind the studied facts and ideological assumptions, while consolidating the NFV tracker data.

We estimate that total NFV market revenues will reach $38 billion in 2022. Hardware spend — including servers, storage devices, and switches — will reduce with time, while software and services will have higher growth rates of 55% and 50%, respectively. Although the market is evolving and technical expertise is starting to mature, the standardization and multi-vendor involvement challenges will remain stagnant for the next couple of years. Software and services vendors will have opportunities to identify NFV use-cases in enterprise verticals, and use these to offer end-to-end integrated systems.

Early contracts and market trends illustrate the biggest winners are likely to be the established vendors, including Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia, as well as specialists like Amdocs and Netcracker, with systems integration becoming more important each day. Several vendors also place heavy and risky bets on open source software, which may increase business opportunities but may also create difficult choices for them in the future, particularly if telco interest in specific open source projects fizzles out.

For the time being, NFV is mostly considered as a cost-cutting exercise, since new revenue opportunities require a transformation in a much broader context, which is more likely to be driven by 5G, after 2020.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Network Functions Virtualization Tracker and Forecasts Report. For more information, please visit


About Author

Neha Pachade is Senior Analyst at ABI Research. She has more than 5 years of experience in Technology Market Research. She focuses on research and analysis of new and emerging technologies including NFV, SDN, 5G, Telco Cloud, and relevant topics. For more information, please visit

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