Telefónica, KT Corp., China Unicom unveil MEC technology for 4G and 5G roaming, interconnect

  • Telefónica, KT and China Unicom have been collaborating in Multi-Operator Multi-access Edge Computing Experience since March 2020.

  • 5G MEC Roaming and interconnection allow mobile users to experience the best 5G service abroad and developers to deploy their applications across multiple domains and technologies.

  • The consortium will contribute to GSMA Operator Platform Group (OPG) with the findings from verification of MEC roaming and interconnection of edge platforms.

Madrid - Telefónica, KT Corporation and China Unicom announced the successful verification of its 5G Multi-access edge computing (MEC) technology for global roaming infrastructure and federation among different edge platform. Since March 2020, the group has initially been focusing on basic functionalities and interfaces for application requirements on smart edge discovery and federation of multiple operator’s MEC platforms. The platforms used have been based on Altran technology and China Unicom in house technology.

MEC roaming mechanism allows mobile users visiting abroad to leverage nearby MEC infrastructure for optimal MEC experience beyond their home networks. Without this mechanism, mobile users abroad will have to resort to MEC infrastructure located back in home country, significantly undermining the low-latency feature at the expense of user experience. This scenario has been successfully tested between KT and Telefonica.

“We are proud to be part of the team that has achieved the first edge roaming and federation experience that opens many options when it comes to commercializing future edge computing services. It is undoubtedly a game changing step that allow operators to show the value and exploits the full potential of telco-based edge infrastructures,” said Juan Carlos García, Senior Vice-President of Technology and Ecosystems at Telefonica.

Telefónica also completed experiments on federation between heterogeneous MEC platforms to cope with fragmentation of the current MEC environment to expand its market outreach of MEC service. This will lay groundwork for enterprises and private developers to be able to make inroads into domestic and global markets with a single service development that satisfies common standards.

“With global MEC roaming and interoperability among different MECs firmly addressed in our MOM experience, we’ve come inches closer to realizing commercialization of global MEC market,” said Jongsik Lee, SVP & Head of Infra R&D at KT. “While there remain few more progress yet to be made for MEC to fully hit the market, this milestone certainly has set its course in the positive direction ahead.”

The group of companies will share the findings and developments of this project with the GSMA Operator Platform group to help fulfilling the requirements of the Telco Edge Cloud reference architecture with regards to mobility, roaming and federation. This contribution is extremely relevant to allow Telco Edge Cloud meet its requirement of offering a global reach, providing edge platform interconnection and edge service availability to roamers. This in return will allow operators to create a competent universal Edge Cloud service and customers to develop, deploy and manage edge applications seamlessly over a global footprint provided by a federation of Operator platforms.

“We are very pleased to explore the enhancement of MEC global service with partners like KT and Telefonica. We have been working together to realize the standardization of open network capability and generalized MEC application development and operation life cycle process. A virtuous circle of global MEC business models is emerging,” said Qiang Fu, Chief Technology Officer of China Unicom Network Communications Group Co., Ltd.

“It has been great to collaborate and find solutions to the key challenges in multi-access edge compute technologies like multi-operator federation, mobility, and roaming. The multi-operator MEC experience powered by Altran ENSCONCE edge platform is a key initiative enabling telecom operators to further develop business opportunities by extending their service offerings to the developer community,” said Shamik Mishra, Vice President Research and Innovation and Global Industry Chief Architect at Altran, part of Capgemini Group.

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