Abstract - Techno-economic drivers are creating the conditions for a radical change of paradigm in the design and operation of future telecommunications infrastructures. In fact, SDN, NFV, Cloud and Edge-Fog Computing are converging together into a single systemic transformation termed "Softwarization" that will find concrete exploitations in 5G systems. The IEEE SDN Initiative has elaborated a vision, an evolutionary path and some techno-economic scenarios of this transformation: specifically, the major technical challenges, business sustainability and policy issues have been investigated. This white paper presents: 1) an overview on the main techno-economic drivers steering the "Softwarization" of telecommunications; 2) an introduction to the Open Mobile Edge Cloud vision (covered in a companion white paper); 3) the main technical challenges in terms of operations, security and policy; 4) an analysis of the potential role of open source software; 5) some use case proposals for proof-of-concepts; and 6) a short description of the main socio-economic impacts being produced by "Softwarization". Along these directions, IEEE SDN is also developing of an open catalogue of software platforms, toolkits, and functionalities aiming at a step-by-step development and aggregation of test-beds/field-trials on SDN-NFV-5G. This will prepare the ground for developing new ICT ecosystems, thereby improving the quality of life and facilitating the development of the new digital economy.
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