Telefonica Chile chooses Ericsson to complete virtualization of core network

Telefonica, the biggest mobile network operator and internet service provider in Chile, announced it has chosen Ericsson to finish the virtualization of the operator’s core network.

Telefonica said completely virtualizing its core network will help the vendor provide new products and services quicker, which tap root into use cases within the realm of 5G and the internet of things (IoT). Under the agreement, Ericsson will launch its network functions virtualization (NFV) solution, such as virtual EPC, virtual IMS, virtual AAA and NFVI, providing Telefonica Chile with more telco applications in a shared environment dubbed “UNICA.”

The aim of the UNICA project is to virtualize network functions across all of Telefonica. The company selected Ericcson as one of its main global partners in the UNICA project in February 2016, having originally offered the role to HPE the year before. As part of the collaboration, Ericsson agreed to provide Hyperscale Datacenter System 8000, Ericsson Cloud Manager, OpenStack based Cloud Execution Environment, Cloud SDN and automation.

“As market leaders in key 5G technologies such as NFV and SDN, Ericsson is helping operators around the world to evolve their existing networks toward 5G,” said Nicolas Brancoli, head of customer unit South Latin America, Ericsson. “With this deal, we will deliver the first 5G Ready Core network in the country to Telefonica Chile, enabling the operator to cement its leadership position in the region well into the future.”

Ericsson added the company will virtualize all telecom applications within its UNICA network with three data centers in operation across the country. Installation, project management, network optimization, training and managed services are included in the agreement. Services are expected to be deployed during the second quarter of 2018.

In the meantime, ZTE Corporation, a Chinese multinational telecom company, announced it had successfully finished a phase-one 5G transport test in cooperation with Telefonica at its Future Networks Lab in Madrid, Spain. According to Telefonica, the company plans to continue to conduct phase-two transport testing alongside ZTE, and will conduct additional tests for verification for 5G end-to-end solutions.

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