The global virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) market is expected to reach USD 27,776.3 million by 2030, progressing at a CAGR of 18.8% during 2024–2030. The demand for these solutions is fueled by the growing preference for network virtualization in the telecom industry and the rapid deployment of 5G network infrastructure, which creates a strong need for flexible and cost-efficient virtualization solutions.
Additionally, 5G deployment requires a more-agile and scalable core network, which is provided by a virtualized EPC. Additionally, it offers cost savings, by reducing hardware dependence and enabling efficient resource utilization, and improves the service agility, thus allowing operators to quickly deploy and scale network functions.
Moreover, vEPC helps process data closer to the edge, where the information is being generated or consumed, which is crucial amidst the rise of IoT and edge computing. Additionally, the growing adoption of cloud-native architectures in the telecom industry is fueling the demand for vEPC solutions.
Furthermore, governments’ increasing emphasis on investing in 5G infrastructure development, the growing adoption of private mobile networks by enterprises, and the transition of telecom operators from traditional hardware-based infrastructures to software-defined networks are all contributing to the demand for vEPC solutions worldwide.
On the basis of component, services are projected to be the faster-growing category, with a CAGR of 21%, over the forecast period. This is because of the ever-present need for support and valuable expertise among companies implementing and operating virtualized networks. Users require professional services, including consultation and integration; and managed services for smooth and productive operations. These services help MNOs customize and optimize their vEPC solutions by ensuring the smooth implementation and efficient functioning of networks.
Additionally, to improve network performance and overcome slowdowns, ongoing support, updates, and troubleshooting are provided to end users. Thus, as these services are important to meet the requirements of companies operating virtualized networks, the vEPC market continues to boom in this category.
The 5G network would be the faster-growing category over the forecast period, driven by the rising developments in the 5G network infrastructure, wherein virtualized solutions could provide higher speeds, greater capacities, and lower latencies. vEPC also enables network slicing, which helps create customized virtual networks for specific applications. Virtualized EPC solutions’ scalability helps MNOs handle the enormous amount of data produced by 5G networks. Additionally, the growing emphasis on the adoption of the IoT and cloud computing technologies among enterprises is fueling the advance of the virtualized EPC market worldwide.
The cloud deployment mode category dominates the market, and it is expected to witness the higher CAGR, of 22%, over the forecast period. Deploying software on the cloud provides many benefits to enterprises and operators, such as flexibility, agility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, by eliminating the need for expensive hardware.
In addition, the geographic redundancy of cloud deployments provides reliable service even during disruptions. It is also beneficial for operators as they can quickly adopt innovations such as serverless computing, edge computing, cloud-native applications, and cloud-native DevOps; and easily introduce new services.
Based on application, the vEPC market is growing rapidly in the LTE, VoLTE, & VoWiFi category. This is primarily attributed to the integration of LTE with 4G networks, which creates a high-speed wireless communication network providing significant improvements in data rates, capacity, and latency compared to the previous generations of cellular networks. The rising number of mobile devices, increasing usage of data-intensive applications, and surging need for faster and more-reliable network connectivity, to handle the network traffic, are all aiding the growth of the industry.
Moreover, the deployment of virtualized EPC in 4G & 5G networks can enhance the VoLTE technology, by offering a superior voice quality, faster call setup, and data services seamlessly, unlike traditional circuit-switched voice calls.
Furthermore, the usage of VoWiFi is growing because of its potential to offer better indoor coverage and cost savings. Thus, the growing virtualization of EPC by mobile network operators and the rising adoption of Wi-Fi calling by consumers are fueling the market advance.
vEPC solutions are crucial for LTE, VoLTE, and VoWiFi as they provide the infrastructure to handle the routing, switching, management, and security of voice traffic, thus ensuring smooth voice communication over networks.
Regionally, APAC is predicted to be the fastest-growing vEPC market, with a CAGR of 25%, during the forecast period, because of the presence of leading MNOs, who are making efforts to advance their telecommunication technology. The growing government emphasis on 5G infrastructure development is further contributing to the growth of the domain, mainly in India, China, Japan, and South Korea. India and China are the largest contributors to the market in the region owing to their huge populations, which consume enormous amounts of data throughout the year.
Some of the major players in the vEPC market are Affirmed Networks Inc., Athonet (Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company), Cisco Systems Inc., Cumucore Oy, Druid Software, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., NEC Corporation, Nokia Corporation, Parallel Wireless Inc., Polaris Networks (Motorola Solutions Inc.), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Tech Mahindra Limited, and ZTE Corporation.