Telefónica picks Ericsson for launch of private virtualized networks

Spain's Telefónica is using network slicing and vEPC in its new enterprise private network offering. (Pixabay)

Telefónica is working with Ericsson to offer customers network slicing on private networks via the telco's UNICA cloud platform.

Telefónica said its new enterprise private network marked the first time that it has offered network slicing to its business customers and is geared toward helping its business customers digitize their internal processes. The carrier is hoping to use its move toward software and virtualization to aid that transition.

Through network slicing, Telefónica now offers business customers personalized capabilities on a single infrastructure. While network slicing is touted as one of the benefits of 5G networks, Telefónica said its network-slicing platform, which has been commercially launched, is a software-based network that is programmable, flexible, scalable and open. Telefónica said it will guarantee that the broadband bandwidth and low latency it is offering to its business customers through the slicing service are "suitable for their demand at all times."

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Telefónica also said that its virtual evolved packet core (vEPC), which is also key to 5G, is now available to its customers, but the operator didn't provide further details. Spain's Telefónica is in the process of virtualizing its own network ahead of its 5G rollouts over the coming years.

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Telefónica's enterprise private network service uses Ericsson's technology for edge computing, a move that helps put the telco's communication networks closer to end customers. Edge computing consists of the operator's UNICA-based network core reaching into customers' facilities. Telefónica said this approach increased bandwidth while also minimizing response times.

“The main characteristic of this new network architecture, focused on covering the digitalization needs of the industry, is the capability to adapt and redistribute capacities according to needs," said Juan Carlos García, Telefónica's global director of technology and architecture, in a prepared statement.

Telefónica's enterprise private network was one piece of news that came out of this week's Analyst and Customer Day. Other notable news included:

• Telefónica announced a five-year agreement with Colombian airline Avianca to help drive the airline's digital transformation across the 27 countries it serves. The agreement includes the provisioning of five categories of services; traditional voice and data connectivity, infrastructure support (LAN/WLAN/cabling center), and digital security and SDN solutions.

• Telefónica and mobile robotics engineering company ASTI Mobile Robotics said they would collaborate on the digitalization of industrial environment processes, including automation, through IoT. The agreement comprises two frameworks: The first includes the development of joint products in the field of LTE networks for companies. In the second one, Telefónica and ASTI plan to jointly develop business aimed at companies in sectors such as the automotive industry, ports, airports, the petrochemical industry, food companies, pharmaceutical companies, and e-commerce in the countries that the telco serves.