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Cricket Communications, Inc. (Cricket), a pioneer of prepaid wireless services, has selected NEC Corporation and Netcracker Technology to trial network virtualization based on SDN (Software-Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) technologies.

Cricket, Netcracker and NEC will collaborate in the trial to virtualize the Evolved Packet Core network. Network virtualization, with SDN and NFV technologies that combine the IP edge components of networks into one single virtual infrastructure, could be a key element of Cricket’s network strategy. This collaboration will demonstrate that virtual network functions are portable between different hardware platforms.

Cricket will test and evaluate a single pointed infrastructure model to manage all the aspects of a virtualized network. It will enable Cricket to determine how this strategy can further develop its smart seamless network capabilities.

By enabling advanced network automation, rapid delivery of network services and easy application of policies across the network, SDN plays an important role to seamlessly interconnect all the virtual network functions.

The trial will also validate a range of benefits virtualization will bring - from minimizing the dependence on hardware, to flexible and dynamic network management that is simple, flexible and enables accelerated service deployment and time to market - while enhancing the customer's connectivity experience.

“Cricket consistently delivers value to its customers by actively seeking out cutting edge technology in both network and IT domains, and working with our strategic partners, to rapidly prototype it and effectively operationalize it,” said Rob Strickland, CTO at Cricket. “This joint trial is a result of a successful business relationship between Netcracker and Cricket. It reflects our commitment to bring the latest to benefit our customers while positively impacting business operations.”

“We are very excited to partner with Cricket to deliver innovation that bridges the Network and IT domains,” said Andrew Feinberg, President and CEO of Netcracker Technology. “Our proven and market leading capabilities in SDN and NFV are a direct result of our investment, totaling hundreds of millions dollars, to help our customers achieve their vision of transforming their infrastructure to be more efficient, scalable and profitable.”

"NEC and Netcracker have proven capabilities in delivering innovative SDN and NFV solutions worldwide as part of their vision to fundamentally transform networks into more efficient, scalable and profitable platforms," said Mr. Shunichiro Tejima, Executive Vice-President, NEC Corporation. “This trial will showcase the best of what NEC and Netcracker have to offer in virtualization and we look forward to working with Cricket to validate and deliver on their vision.”

The trial will commence shortly with close cooperation between select teams of virtualization, networking and IT experts from Cricket, NEC and Netcracker.

About Cricket Communications

Cricket Wireless is bringing consumers more value with a simple, friendly, and reliable nationwide wireless experience with no annual contract. The power of Cricket Wireless is its nationwide 4G LTE network that covers more than 319 million people; easy and affordable plans and prices that include monthly taxes; and a great selection of phones customers love. Cricket Wireless, something to smile about.