Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson Wednesday released a flurry of press releases ahead of the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. 

The company is putting an emphasis on software and cloud-based solutions, as the wireless industry moves towards virtualizing the network with technologies like Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). 

Specifically, Ericsson will be launching what it’s calling Telecom Cloud Transformation consulting services, which the company says is a framework that combines SDN and NFV with the company's experience in the field.  

"Through this new offering, operators will be able to turn to Ericsson consultants and systems integrators for step-by-step advice - starting with business process analysis and continuing all the way through to implementation, development and maintenance," a press release stated. 

Paolo Colella, vice president and head of consulting and systems integration for Ericsson, said in a statement that the cloud offers operators advantages such as efficiency gains in operations as well as improved time to market. 

"With our professional services leadership and data center experience, we can help operators identify how best to transform their existing technology and process environments to take advantage of the cloud opportunity," Colella said. 

The announcement comes amid a broader industry move towards Software Defined Networks (SDN) that is being driven by significant reductions in CapEx and OpEx. ABI said operators in East Asia, including heavy hitters like China Mobile, have been actively supporting C-RAN structure and network virtualization to tackle increasing deployment costs. 

Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst of Yankee Group, notes that software is now just as important as the hardware in a network. 

"As network equipment providers drive software innovation, comprehensive release packaging -- along with tools and processes for rapid software roll-out across massively scaled mobile and fixed networks -- provides operators needed agility to confidently launch new capabilities while boosting network performance," Rehben said. 

Late last year, AT&T announced an ambitious plan to begin "virtualizing" its network, shifting financial resources from hardware to software going forward. The initiative, which is being called Domain 2.0 is integrated through AT&T’s Wide Area Network (WAN) and utilizes NFV and SDN, as well as modern architectural and operational approaches.