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More than 100 reasons to celebrate Ericsson’s 5G Cloud Core

(see original release here)

We have surpassed the milestone – 100 customers have chosen Ericsson’s 5G Cloud Core solutions. This is about one-third of our total customer base for packet core and it’s a clear proof-point of our market leadership in building 5G Core Networks. But how are we looking ahead to the future?

Jun 09, 2021

Following this milestone, we aren’t ‘resting on our laurels’ – quite the opposite. This achievement is more than just numbers, it represents how Ericsson is building an invaluable portfolio of products and expertise designed to help our partners and customers succeed with 5G. Today we are in a unique leadership position in the 5G core market, as recognized by the leading 5G communication service providers (CSPs) who’ve chosen us.

The telecommunications industry is also in the middle of the biggest transformation period we’ve ever witnessed. The 5G paradigm is not just about the adoption of a new mobile access generation, it also represents a new inflection point. This will result in a technological and business transformation of a type and significance not previously seen with the earlier mobile generations.

But what are some of the inflection points of this technology and what benefits will it bring to the industry? In the video below, Monica Zethzon, Vice President and Head of Solution Area Packet Core,‎ Ericsson, shares her perspective with Kevin Jackson, a top 5G thought leader specialized in cloud computing.

video interview with Monica Zethzon and Kevin Jackson

Core networks provide the foundation for networks of the future. With our cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core, a solution that combines EPC and 5GC network functions into a common cloud native platform for efficient TCO and smooth migration to 5G, we are offering CSPs a strong starting point.

The multiple paths to a cloud native 5G Core

There is not just one path a CSP can take on their journey to 5G Core, instead they should choose the route that best suits their business needs. However, for more than a hundred of our packet core customers, this journey has already begun with a seamless software upgrade on their existing Ericsson Evolved Packet Core (EPC). This allows them to add support for 5G non-standalone (NSA) – a step that upgrades the core to ‘5G EPC’ which is proven as the best way to bring 5G services faster to the market, while paving the way for 5G standalone (SA)

Other customers have chosen a more direct path to 5G Core (standalone), by deploying a parallel 5GC system alongside their EPC networks. Some customers are doing both the upgrade to 5G EPC (non-standalone) and deploying a parallel 5GC solution (standalone), whereas others are building a completely new dual-mode 5G Core (a single cloud native SW platform that supports both 4G, 5G NSA and 5G SA) from start.

From a cloud infrastructure perspective, we also see a split between CSPs adopting an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution for the initial deployment of cloud-native applications, while others are looking into BareMetal solution (Cloud as a Service). The first one is the most common approach chosen by CSPs who have already started their virtualization journey deploying virtual EPC (vEPC) and, therefore, already have a Network Function Virtualization infrastructure (NFVi) solution in place.

Whichever evolution strategy is chosen, the Ericsson 5G Cloud Core and Ericsson Cloud Infrastructure portfolios will support all alternatives.

Continuous portfolio improvements are the key to maintaining our leadership

This extensive growth in 5G Cloud Core customers also brings greater demands and expectations on network equipment vendors. There is still quite a journey ahead before the telecommunications industry can deliver on its 5G promise. And for Ericsson to maintain and grow its leadership position means that we need to continue heavily investing in our solutions.

While some customers may go for the best-of-breed solutions (selecting pieces from different vendors to form the end solution) investing in an end-to-end (e2e) solution with a single vendor provides many benefits. These benefits are felt by both the CSPs as well as the vendors. As a result, Ericsson is continuously investing in enhancing our e2e solutions including radio, transport, core, infrastructure, orchestration, OSS/BSS, etc.

We are also investing in enhancing our dual-mode 5G Core solution. Examples of this include the embedded capabilities we have launched in the previous few months, such as the Integrated Packet Core Firewall that can be used to strengthen network security while reducing TCO and the 5G Core Policy Studio which adds  more programmability and flexibility  to help differentiate services in network slicing scenarios. These services are discussed in more detail in the video above featuring Monica Zethzon.

A view into the future

Looking into the immediate future, the rest of 2021 and early 2022, I believe that in the more mature 5G markets around the world there will be a lot of new launches of 5G standalone (SA) networks. We have already started to see this with  Vodafone Germany launching Europe’s largest 5G SA network , which runs on our dual-mode 5G Core. Other CSPs have already started to offer 5G SA services in Europe, Asia and Pacific and North America.

The second half of the year also looks very promising as we will have several of our customers commercially launching their SA networks – a trend that will continue throughout 2022.  

Getting the 5G Core for SA in place is fundamental. From there, we will start to see a multitude of new use cases popping up in different markets empowered by the new capabilities that the new core networks provide. Network slicing, network exposure, advanced service orchestration and service automation, CI/CD pipelines for continuous software delivery, etc. – all of this will follow the adoption of 5G Core.

Do you want to learn more about our dual-mode 5G Core solution and what do you need to have in mind when preparing your core network for cloud-native adoption? Visit the page Guide to cloud native 5G Core

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