Ericsson and Telstra achieve container-based commercial Evolved Packet Core milestone

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Australian communications service provider Telstra have successfully deployed the industry’s first live cloud-native container-based Evolved Packet Core for 4G and 5G services. The achievement is a significant milestone in network orchestration and automation.

The cloud-native container-based Evolved Packet Core has been deployed in Telstra’s production Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi), provided by Ericsson. It is fully integrated into Telstra’s mobile core network and is carrying live 4G and 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) traffic.

This achievement is a key step in Telstra’s goal to build a web-scale core network and deliver the full power of 5G to consumers and enterprise customers. The containerization of core network functions will move communication service providers such as Telstra towards greater orchestration and automation of their networks. This in turn will help them to create and deliver new services such as enhanced mobile broadband, network slicing, mobile edge computing, mission critical vertical industry support and advanced enterprise services.

Containerized technologies are also designed to improve network resilience and software upgrade techniques to increase overall network availability for Telstra’s customers and services.

Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, says: “Telstra and Ericsson are leading the mobile industry with this first container-based cloud-native Evolved Packet Core in Telstra’s production environment and carrying live traffic. This is an important step towards fundamentally changing the way both companies deploy and operate mobile core networks. Core networks will become much more flexible and agile, allowing operators such as Telstra to quickly create and deploy compelling new services for their customers. This in turn helps operators build new revenues.”

Shailin Sehgal, Product Enablement Technology Executive, Telstra, says: “Through the T22 initiative, Telstra’s business is being transformed to improve service delivery and provide customers with enhanced experiences.  To achieve this transformation, Telstra’s network needs to become more flexible and efficient, and cloud-native container-based applications such as Ericsson’s containerized Evolved Packet Core are a key element of this. This is key to cost effectively scaling and automating our network and speeding up the delivery of innovative new services that are essential in a 5G world. We are pleased to be working with Ericsson to deliver innovation into our network that will assist Telstra maintain its industry leadership.”

Technical details:

Telstra’s cloud-native Evolved Packet Core includes Ericsson Packet Core Controller and Ericsson Packet Core Gateway products. They support 4G and 5G Non-standalone (NSA) control and user plane functions in both a centralized configuration and edge-breakout configurations.

As part of this deployment, Ericsson’s Packet Core Controller is deployed as a cloud-native container-based Mobility Management Entity (MME) in an existing MME pool.

Both the Ericsson Packet Core Controller and Packet Core gateway are designed from the ground up to be fully cloud-native container-based solutions. They run on Ericsson’s Cloud Container Distribution (CCD) that is part of Ericsson’s NFVI solution or on other Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) aligned distributions.

Ericsson CCD provides container management and orchestration for the latest Ericsson cloud native applications. CCD can be run on bare metal or within a Virtual Machine in an OpenStack deployment.

Ericsson and Telstra have a long history of partnering in industry innovation. In May 2019 Telstra launched 5G commercial services using Ericsson solutions.  

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