Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia teamed to create a new testing initiative for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), pledging to “promote competition and create industry alignment” for the technology.

The vendors signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create the NFV Interoperability Testing Initiative (NFV-ITI), and said one of the main aims was to help providers address the challenges related to NFV deployment, and cloud transformation.

In a joint statement the companies explained the deployment and integration of virtual network functions in multi-vendor environments tends to throw up “new interoperability challenges”.

NFV-ITI members will work to boost interoperability and accelerate commercial implementations with the aim of reducing time-to-market for new applications and services.

The partners added the project would support all existing interoperability related testing activities, which are used to address different needs across the industry, with an added focus on commercial NFV solutions used in today’s networks.

Martin Backstrom, VP of Group Function and Strategy at Ericsson, said NFV-ITI will “accelerate industrialisation of NFV” and help to create a stronger ecosystem for operators, customers and vendors.

All “relevant NFV vendors” are also welcome to join the initiative by ratifying the NFV-ITI MoU, the partners added.