If you want to be able to turn network services on and off the same way you do virtual machines, some big carriers are starting to think like you.

On Thursday, Verizon announced enterprise services defined and activated through software, a move intended to help both the carrier and its customers save money and respond more quickly to changing needs. It could mean firing up a new carrier Ethernet link to a branch office in minutes instead of months, for example.

Verizon’s Virtual Network Services announcement comes just days after AT&T introduced its own set of software-defined services and then partnered with Orange to help move more service smarts from hardware into software.

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Like AT&T, Verizon is going virtual for enterprises