Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the United States, is reportedly planning on using network virtualization strategies as a big part of its efforts to save over $10 billion in operating expenses by 2020. The goal was originally set by CEO Lowell McAdam back in September, and executive vice president John Stratton, who also serves as the company's president of global operations, took the stage at the recent Wells Fargo Securities 2017 Media & Telecom Conference to talk about the value in virtualization, along with other ways that the company plans to save money. Talking specifically about the company's plans for network virtualization and the nature of the technology, Stratton said that the company will be rolling out a number of new virtualization-based services and relying more on cloud services.
Specifically, Verizon is looking to a few core technologies to virtualize networking backend. One of those is network function virtualization, which replaces dedicated hardware like offsite routers, traffic controllers, and other pieces that run near or within towers with powerful servers that can run the entire stack on the software end, saving energy and space over running it piece by piece. This not only saves money, but can deliver better results, and allow for more network capacity. Another key technology is software-defined wide area networking, or SD-WAN. This particular technology uses special software to manage WAN in real time, adapting to hardware, software, network condition, and usage changes to adapt the network hardware to work with the best possible WAN solution for a given scenario.
Outside of virtualization, Verizon hopes to reduce the need for customer service manpower such as call center employees by empowering customers to solve issues themselves. This initiative takes many forms, and has reportedly gone well so far. One of the biggest pushes will be to beef up the capabilities of the My Verizon app, giving customers the ability to make more different types of changes to their accounts, as well as work through various types of issues and view detailed information about their service and billing in order to prevent calls that don't have an issue to solve, but are rather about a confused customer seeking clarification on something regarding their account.