International Data Corporation (IDC) sees 2021 as an accelerated year for multi-access edge cloud (MEC) investments according to the Worldwide Carrier Multi-Access Edge Cloud Software Forecast, 2021-2025.
MEC buildouts are being carried out by a broad cross-section of edge stakeholders (e.g., wireless and wireline communications service providers, cable companies, content delivery networks (CDNs), and cloud providers) to deliver latency-sensitive edge network services. Beyond connectivity, MEC buildouts will also provide opportunities for organizations to host applications both on premises and in edge cloud sites.
Potential benefits include the ability to meet stringent data traffic policies, enhance security, and improve real-time control and decision making.
The use cases, go-to-market alignments, product development, and move to cloud-native architectures by players in the market — the telcos, the hyperscale players, and carrier infrastructure vendors — remain in development.
IDC believes that the acceleration in the development of the mobile edge cloud ecosystem, cable MSOs investing in edge capabilities, and cloud service providers hosting network edge workloads and partnering with communications service providers to provide MEC solutions for enterprises will drive the majority of carrier MEC investments over the forecast period.
IDC forecasts worldwide revenue for the multi-access edge cloud (MEC), including virtual network functions (VNFs), network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVI), and cloud-native network functions (CNFs), at the carrier edge cloud across the four market subsegments (mobile edge, wireline edge, cable edge, and CDN edge), will grow from $3.5 billion in 2020 to $16.7 billion in 2025. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.0% over the 2020-2025 forecast period.
“As MEC emerges as a viable option for various enterprise verticals, it is becoming a key driver of new revenue streams beyond connectivity and critical for mobile network operators as they attempt to monetize 5G. Although edge investment is mostly related to 5G/MEC today, we expect edge spending to expand in the wireline market as well as cable MSOs, CDNs, and wireline service providers build edge platforms for low-latency, availability, and security for next-generation enterprise applications.” said Ajeet Das, research director, Carrier Network Infrastructure at IDC.