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MWC 2019: Vodafone powers 5G with VMware

Vodafone is using VMware’s telco cloud platform to prepare its mobile networks for 5G in 15 geographies

Mobile operator Vodafone is expanding its use of VMware cloud infrastructure services to power its networks around the world as it prepares to launch live 5G services in multiple countries in the coming months.

The operator has already been relying on VMware for some time as a primary strategic partner for telco cloud infrastructure services, and is already using the supplier in live 4G networks in 15 countries, supporting more than 300 core network functions.

However, as commercial 5G moves closer to reality, it is now trying to bring more uniformity to its global operations and management, making its 4G networks 5G-ready without disruptive and expensive re-platforming.

To do this, it is using a software-defined cloud infrastructure to bring tried and tested benefits such as streamlined cost and increased agility for service deployment and management. Such things are likely to become much more important on 5G networks, if they are to deliver on the promises made around the future network’s ability to enable functions such as widespread edge computing.

“The ability to be flexible and agile as we continue to automate our network operations and management could only be achieved through a software-defined infrastructure,” said Vodafone CTO Johan Wibergh.

“We have been pleased with the accelerated time to market and associated economic benefits of our transition to NFV [network functions virtualisation] and, increasingly, a telco cloud infrastructure. We have teamed up with VMware based not only on its technology leadership and innovation, but the ability to get operational deployments up and running within our requirements.” 

The telco cloud infrastructure offers a hybrid architecture, open application programming interfaces (APIs), compatibility with both OpenStack and Kubernetes, network-based microsegmentation, and service assurance. VMware said its certification programme was specifically designed to help virtual network function (VNF) suppliers simplify onboarding to the telco cloud platform.

Shekar Ayyar, EVP of strategy and corporate development at VMware Telco NFV Group, said: “Our expertise lies in serving up the benefits of virtualisation – simplification, reliability, cost efficiency and agility – in even the most complex telco environments. Multicloud is the future of telco, and Vodafone is an innovator when it comes to leveraging the telco cloud for next-generation networks.”

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