Telefónica Germany / O2 is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Ericsson to virtualise its 5G core network, leveraging AWS for cloud infrastructure and relying on Ericsson for 5G core and orchestration components. The operator is starting to implement 5G network functions for selected industry partners this month, with the aim of wider commercial use of the cloud-based 5G core network in 2021.
Other operators are also embracing the digitisation journey and striking partnerships with ecosystem players in the process, particularly for industrial/enterprise use cases. Verizon, for example, launched and expanded its 5G mobile edge compute initiative with AWS and recently completed the first end-to-end, fully virtualised, 5G data session in the US.
Virtualising the network allows for easier and more efficient deployments, bringing benefits in terms of flexibility, cost-saving and faster integration of 5G applications to operators. It also changes the collaborative/competitive dynamics in the mobile ecosystem, as webscalers become increasingly active in the landscape.