“Cloud transformation” often gets described in future-focused terms. But you only need to survey the marketplace to see the amazing strides that leading communication service providers (CSPs) have made in transforming their networks and businesses. From cloud-native core networks to open Radio Access Networks (RAN) to network slicing to multi-vendor cloud operations, CSPs and 5G network suppliers worldwide are making their vision for the new generation of telecommunications networks a reality. And they’re working with VMware to do it.
To celebrate how far we’ve come, even as we anticipate what’s coming next, here are some recent examples of the amazing things happening right now with the VMware telco cloud portfolio.
Telia Advances Core Network Transformation
Telia Company, one of Scandinavia’s premier CSPs, is among the world’s first communication service providers (CSP) to cloudify their core network. Telia is using the VMware Telco Cloud Platform to provide a common horizontal platform for 4G and 5G core network functions, both virtualized and containerized. They’ve deployed across 24 sites in six countries – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. As of October, Telia had already migrated more than half of all network traffic, including Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC), and Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF). By end of 2021, the Telco Cloud Platform will run all of it.
This represents a huge milestone in Telia’s digital transformation. With a cloud platform, they can rapidly deploy and efficiently operate containerized and virtualized network functions (CNFs and VNFs) from multiple vendors with agility, scalability, and resiliency. And they can continue speeding towards their goal of an end-to-end cloud-native network for new 5G and edge services.
TIM Group Blazes a Trail in Open RAN
Few 5G innovations get as much buzz as Open RAN. While some CSPs are in the evaluation and experimentation stage of their Open RAN journey, disruptive CSPs such as TIM Group (Telecom Italia S.p.A., Italy’s largest CSP), are heading full steam ahead to Open RAN in production
Over the last year, TIM Group has launched two live Open RAN deployments on its mobile network—making it the first and only CSP in Europe to implement a major Open RAN infrastructure initiative. And they’re using VMware Telco Cloud Platform to support end-to-end network function virtualization (NFV) and automation software for the deployments.
These groundbreaking Open RAN initiatives include:
- Extending Open RAN to the city of Matera, wherethe disaggregated, multi-vendor RAN deployment is supporting real-world customers
- Launching Open RAN in a 5G standalone (SA) environment at the TIM Innovation Lab in Turin, which will soon go into production in Matera
Both initiatives involve a variety of vendors—VMware, Dell Technologies, Intel, Mavenir, and MTI. And they show conclusively that innovative CSPs can enable open, multi-vendor RAN innovation in live networks right now.
Vodafone Goes Cloud-Native to Unlock Agility and Sustainability
Vodafone Group Plc, one of the world’s premier CSPs, has been a longtime strategic partner of VMware. Now, they’re showcasing what a major CSP can do when they embrace the cloud.
Vodafone has deployed the full VMware Telco Cloud Platform across all its European markets. They’re using VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure to run their virtualized network, as well as VMware Tanzu for Telco and VMware Telco Cloud Automation to orchestrate all multi-vendor network functions (xNFs) and services for their 5G core networks. The CSP now has a consistent cloud-native infrastructure across all networks and applications. They can quickly implement and manage new software, applications, and processes across any mobile infrastructure and any cloud. And they can securely design, build, test, and deploy next-generation functions 40% more quickly, and for half the price.
How is Vodafone using these capabilities? To start with, they became the first CSP in Europe to launch a live 5G SA network, using VMware solutions to automate and orchestrate new 5G applications across multiple countries simultaneously. The cloud-native 5G SA network is currently live in eight markets—Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, and the U.K. With this cloud-native foundation, Vodafone is unleashing one of the world’s first network slicing deployments, which will offer dedicated low-latency slices for applications like connected vehicles and Industry 4.0.
Meanwhile, Vodafone is also working with VMware to advance their sustainability initiatives. Vodafone has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, and to helping their customers reduce carbon emissions by 350 million metric tons globally through IoT solutions. In 2021, VMware technology helped Vodacom Business enable more than 160,000 smart metering solutions and over 616,000 smart logistics and fleet management solutions across Africa. These efforts resulted in saving more than 1,648,400 metric tons of CO2—the equivalent of 325,239 cars driving for 12 months.
Nokia Embraces the Multi-vendor Telco Cloud
CSPs want the flexibility and innovation of open, multi-vendor networks, and they’re looking to their vendors to help reduce the complexity and risk that can come with that transformation. Enter VMware’s Ready for Telco Cloud program, which certifies third-party network functions (NFs) to interoperate with the VMware Telco Cloud Platform. This October, Nokia became the first network equipment provider to certify its complete 5G core xNF portfolio through the program. Today, nine Nokia software applications have been validated for interoperability with the Telco Cloud Platform, including Nokia Registers, Nokia Cloud Mobile Gateway, Nokia Cloud Mobility Manager and Nokia Cloud Signaling Director.
Why is this such a big deal? Because now, any CSP using VMware Telco Cloud Platform can quickly deploy and start monetizing 5G services with a fully validated Nokia 5G core, with complete confidence that come along with VMware’s Ready for Telco Cloud certification. They can build new 5G services in hours instead of weeks, and work with innovative independent software vendors who are also certified on the platform with Nokia products.
We may still be in early days on our journey to tomorrow’s revolutionary multi-cloud and 5G services. But innovative CSPs and network suppliers worldwide have already made significant progress, and these efforts are already bearing fruit.
What’s next for global CSPs and VMware Telco Cloud Platform? Multi-cloud transformation. We recently announced a suite of new enhancements to the Telco Cloud Platform that will help CSPs work with the world’s most innovative cloud providers and services, without locking themselves into one partner’s cloud. These efforts include:
- VMware Telco Cloud Platform – Public Cloud, which helps CSPs seamlessly incorporate public clouds into their 5G architectures
- VMware Telco Cloud Platform – Edge, which provides the foundation for next-generation communications and compute services at the service provider and enterprise edge
- New VMware Telco Cloud Automation capabilities that enable consistent multi-cloud operations across the entire network, and will soon support network slicing
- VMware RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) platform, which unleashes new app innovation and velocity across RANs
The future of CSP cloud transformation is coming a lot faster than some may expect. VMware will continue playing a key role in making it happen.