The rapid growth of Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) poses an increasing threat to the profitability of Communications Service Providers (CoSPs). In the coming years, enterprises are expected to continue migrating to SD-WAN from managed networks – IDC forecasts worldwide spend on SD-WAN will reach USD 8.05 billion by 2021.1
As more and more enterprises deploy SD-WAN, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) revenues – the traditional revenue stream for CoSPs – will decline. The CoSPs that will remain competitive are those who can transform threat into opportunity – by integrating SD-WAN into their existing network, and offering enterprises new value-added SD-WAN enabled services.
These can include:
- Combining SD-WAN technology with virtualized Customer Premises Equipment (vCPE) to provide wholesale broadband in places where CoSPs do not yet have their own network presence
- Providing a one-stop shop for multiple value-added services like integrated firewall and security or software release patching
- Offering cloud-based Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)-enabled services in areas where the competition from Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) is less fierce
Enterprises are likely to sign up for these services, given that they will allow them to control their entire network with just one service provider, and further reduce costs. Not only will CoSPs be able to grow and retain their enterprise base, but they will also be able to extend their network coverage, move into new market segments and respond more quickly to emerging customer demands and future shifts in the WAN landscape, all of which will help offset MPLS revenue decline.