Ericsson inks 5-year deal to virtualize Italian service provider's 5G core network

Ericsson sign (FW)
Ericsson will transform Italian service provider Wind Tre's core network across the course of a five-year contract. (Monica Alleven/FierceWireless)

Ericsson has chalked up a customer win with Italy-based Wind Tre to virtualize the service provider's core network en route to evolving to a 5G core.

Beginning this quarter, Ericsson will start installing its virtualized core network and orchestration elements in order to deliver increased reliability, greater flexibility and service customization for Wind Tre. The 5G upgrade will tap into cloud architecture and network slicing while also providing upgrades to the existing physical network to ensure interoperability with the new network.

The five-year contract includes the use of Ericsson's virtual EPC, virtual IMS and virtual UDC (User Data Consolidation) products on the vendor's NFVi system that is based on the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's (ETSI) open source NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO) architectures.

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Wind Tre will also use Ericsson's orchestrator, an Open-Stack-based virtual infrastructure manager, Ericsson Cloud SDN and software-defined infrastructure based on the Ericsson Hyperscale Datacenter System 8000. The Swedish equipment vendor will also be the primary system integrator for Wind Tre, as well as provide support services.

The Wind Tre contract is a much-needed win for Ericsson. During its first-quarter earnings report earlier this month, Ericsson reported its sixth straight operating loss. Thanks to job cuts and a revamped strategy, Ericsson reduced its losses in the first quarter to $35.6 million compared to $1.34 billion a year ago.  

Following the merger of VEON's Wind and CK Hutchison's 3 Italia, Wind Tre started offering its services in January of last year. According to its website, Wind Tre is Italy's largest mobile operator with more than 31 million mobile customers as well as 2.7 million fixed line customers.