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MWC 2017: Altice virtualises global network with Cisco, Red Hat

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, cable, fibre, telecoms and media company Altice announces it has enlisted Cisco and Red Hat to virtualise its worldwide mobile network

Altice, a multinational supplier of cable, fibre telecoms, content and media services with more than 50 million customers worldwide, will lean on suppliers Cisco and Red Hat to streamline its operations by virtualising its global mobile network.

Announced on the opening day of Mobile World Congress, currently under way in Barcelona, the collaboration will be led by Altice’s French subsidiary SFR – formerly part-owned by Vodafone – which is transforming its mobile packet core infrastructure with a network functions virtualisation (NFV) platform based on Red Hat’s OpenStack platform and Cisco’s network, virtualisation and datacentre compute systems.

This platform has already helped SFR to realise a number of benefits, including shorter deployment time and agility to offer new services, capital savings through greater automation, and improved internal workflows.

“NFV is a reality at SFR,” said SFR CTO Philippe Le May. “We are focused on innovating faster and taking bold leaps to transform our network operations, providing our customers with experiences beyond mobile that no one else can match.”

SFR said it had an aggressive roadmap in place for 2017 to virtualise further mobile services using a Cisco software-defined network (SDN) and NFV platform. It already runs 50% of its network traffic over the platform and wants to reach 80% by the end of the year.

The wider Altice business now hopes to build a holistic NFV platform to let it realise similar benefits, such as improved revenue and customer retention across the organisation.

Read more about NFV

  • The Open Networking Foundation unveils its Open Innovation Pipeline to guide the next phase of development of software-defined and virtualised networking tech.
  • NFV automation is the ability to transfer manual network configuration to technology; NFV orchestration creates the deployment and automation blueprint.
  • Service providers are rapidly adopting NFV infrastructure, but addressing NFV security in the process is essential, with network and security teams working together.

Ultimately, it said, it wants to converge all its mobile packet core services from its legacy 2G network through to its current 4G network into a single virtualised system to prepare for a smooth transition to its future 5G network.

“Red Hat OpenStack Platform enables Altice to create an agile, flexible and scalable NFV cloud that can meet its modernisation goals and deliver new, differentiating services to its customers,” said Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager of OpenStack at Red Hat. “We are delighted to collaborate with Altice and Cisco on this transformation initiative.”

Read more on Software-defined networking (SDN)