The Linux Foundation announced its Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), backed by a host of big-name operators and suppliers, which promises a carrier-grade and open source platform (based on Linux) to accelerate the introduction of new products and services.

Among the founding platinum members are AT&T, China Mobile, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia Networks, NTT Docomo, Telecom Italia and Vodafone Group.

“Open source code has been proven to accelerate innovation and time to market for new technologies,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at Linux Foundation.

“The Open Platform for NFV will bring together providers, cloud and infrastructure vendors, developers and users alike to define a new type of reference platform for the industry, integrating existing open source building blocks with new components and testing that accelerates development and deployment of NFV,” he continued.

Network functions, through NFV, are implemented on virtual machines rather than being tied to specific hardware. And by shifting from proprietary infrastructure to open platforms, operators should be able to avoid customer lock-ins as well as be more agile in service delivery.

The initial scope of OPNFV will be on building NFV infrastructure (NFVI) and Virtualised Infrastructure Management (VIM). Although OPNFV won’t develop standards, it will work closely with ETSI’s NFV ISG, which has been influential in driving consistent approaches to NFV.

A notable absence from the OPNFV roster is Telefonica. At this year’s Mobile World Congress, the Spanish giant set a target to have 30 per cent of the group’s new infrastructure virtualised by 2016.

Enrique Blanco , Telefonica’s global CTO at the time, told Mobile World Live that shifting from proprietary infrastructure to platforms based on open standards – and so avoiding vendor lock-ins – was one of the main drivers for its large-scale push on virtualisation. “We want this to be a multi-vendor environment from day one,” he said. “We want to source different functions from different suppliers.”