NTT Docomo and six equipment vendors said they have completed proof-of-concept trials that verify the feasibility of network functions virtualization (NFV) technology using the software and equipment from the six firms.

Docomo said in a statement that the trials verified the interoperability of each vendor’s evolved packet core software with the others’. The participating vendors were Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC and Nokia Networks.

Seizo Onoe, EVP and CTO at Docomo, said: “Thanks to collaborative efforts, NFV is soundly moving towards practical realisation, rather than just ending up as a pie-in-the-sky dream. I am delighted that we have confirmed the feasibility of NFV through multi-vendor initiatives with many of the top ICT players.”

NFV technology will enable communication software designed originally for dedicated hardware to run on multipurpose hardware. The long-term objective is for NFV to allow mobile operators to combine network hardware and software components of any vendor for deployment of network systems. It also offers the promise of accelerating delivery of new services and driving more efficient infrastructure investment.

Docomo is a founding member of the Open Platform for NFV Project, an open-source project formed last month. The operator aims to use a virtualised mobile network for the commercial deployment of services by the fiscal year ending March 2016.