Telefónica has announced a massive contract with Chinese equipment vendor Huawei to virtualise its 4G network in 13 countries in Latin America and Europe.
The size of the contract is not stated, but the deal covers 11 countries in Latin America from Panama to Argentina and two in Europe – Germany and Spain. The UK is not included in the announcement.
“Telefónica has been actively working for some time in the evolution of network virtualisation technologies,” said Javier Gavilán, the planning and technology director in the global CTO’s department at Telefónica.
The two companies will be building a large-scale virtual evolved packed core (vEPC), which is an industry-approved framework for providing converged voice and data on 4G networks. Telefónica will be using Huawei’s version of vEPC, called CloudEPC, that will allow the operator “to build agile networks that quickly scale to match the performance demands of new services”, said the companies.
Virtualisation will also “reduce production costs, support faster service rollout, and dynamically allocate virtual resources while providing carrier-grade availability, security and reliability and enabling seamless integration with Telefónica’s legacy networks”, they added in a statement.
The project is the next step in Telefónica’s global virtualisation programme, which is calls Unica. “A smooth migration to Unica’s infra cloud capabilities will be reached following extensive test in [the] Telefónica lab,” said Gavilán. “These results provide the confidence needed to continue with the adoption and deployment of virtualised solutions and to enable the transformation to software-driven networking.”
Using the system Telefónica will be able to build internet of things and machine-to-machine services, and will be able to create mobile virtual networks, private LTE systems and deliver mobile edge computing.
Michael Ma, the president of cloud core network at Huawei, said: “This CloudEPC network build-out represents a significant step forward in Telefónica’s cloud transformation roadmap and reinforces our long standing partnership as main EPC provider to Telefónica.”
The vEPC network will cover eleven countries in Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, México, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala; and two in Europe: Germany and Spain.
In December 2016 Telefónica announced that rival Chinese vendor ZTE is building voice over LTE services in Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay, as part of the Unica project. Earlier this year Telefónica Business Solutions said it had installed Nokia’s virtualised router technology in a live network, to enable Telefónica to faster deploy future virtual private network services and accelerate the introduction of new points of presence.