According to numbers just released by Exact Ventures, the wireless packet core market, including evolved packet core (EPC), grew more than 50 percent in 1Q11 compared with 1Q10 due to sustained growth in mobile data and signaling traffic.

Smartphone penetration and mobile-data traffic is expected to continue to rise into the foreseeable future, driving a double-digit market growth forecast for the wireless packet core market in 2011, the group adds.

On a global basis, during the first quarter, Ericsson led the total wireless packet core marketplace, owning 26 percent. On the strength of its sales to Latin America, Huawei was the second largest vendor, with revenue just slightly below that of Ericsson. Cisco ranked third, with 18 percent, as a result of its strong PDSN sales to North America. Nokia Siemens rounded out the top four vendors for the quarter.

“The policy charging and rules function (PCRF) market currently dominates EPC sales because operators have been deploying PCRF equipment to support WCDMA/HSPA-based data services,” notes Greg Collins, founder and principal analyst at Exact Ventures. “Other EPC components are currently deployed to support LTE-based services.

He continues, “PCRF is a key component in wireless packet core networks, enabling rules and policies that allow wireless operators to differentiate network traffic. Currently, most of the functionality enabled by PCRF is used for cost-avoidance applications, such as bill shock, and for management of tiered data services. PCRF functionality is increasingly critical for operators as they develop revenue-generating applications and services that require differentiation of network traffic content.”

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