EE in software-defined mobile network plan

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Expansion of remote Scottish mobile network will use open-source software-defined technology

BT’s mobile operation EE is to use software-defined mobile network technology to expand its service into a remote area of Scotland.

The company, which became part of BT in early 2016, will use the open-source technology to install the network, working with the University of Highlands and Islands, based in Inverness.

EE is using technology from UK company Lime Micro, which itself is using a software-based implementation of a complete mobile core network from Quortus.

Ebrahim Bushehri, CEO of Lime Micro, said: “Operators are today looking for routes to innovate in their networks and this system shows the way. By providing the hardware and standards-compliant software, alongside an easy-to-use and accessible configuration platform, we create an environment that anyone can program: and this unleashes the creativity that mobile networks need.”

The technology will also allow developers to create new applications and services. It “will allow application developers to drive value and innovation into the mobile networks of tomorrow”, said Andy Odgers, CEO of Quortus.

Mansoor Hanif, director of radio networks at EE, said: “Apps and smartphones revolutionised the mobile experience and this could have the same impact on the network – we’re allowing anyone to build an app that can introduce a new service or a new capability to a mobile network. That could be to connect a rural area of the UK for the first time, or to be part of designing how 5G works. This type of innovation is vital to evolving wireless networks, and we’re making sure that the UK is at the forefront of that.”