Eurobites: Telefónica turns to IBM et al for 5G core network platform

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT taps Oracle for policy management; BICS conducts 5G roaming trials with Proximus; Altice fine upheld by EU.

  • Telefónica has signed a multi-year deal to use the collected networking know-how of IBM, Red Hat and Juniper to help implement Unica Next, the Spanish operator's cloud-native 5G core network platform. The platform is intended to be based on "open" technologies and will be deployed across multiple central, regional and distributed data centers offering low latency and high bandwidth. IBM's Cloud Pak for Network Automation, Red Hat's OpenShift, and Juniper Networks' Apstra and QFX technology will all feature. Unica Next data centers are planned to be deployed from October 2021. (See Telefónica Plots Unica Expansion.)

  • BT is to use Oracle's Cloud Native Converged Policy Management software to help its engineers design, test and switch on new services across both 4G and 5G networks. The hope is that Oracle's wizardry will help BT implement new 5G services, such as live streaming and augmented reality.

  • BICS says it has completed one of the first 5G standalone (SA) roaming trials in the world, with its parent company, Belgium's Proximus. The trial, conducted within the BICS 5G Lab, enabled a 5G data session for outbound roamers and demonstrated roaming interoperability between two 5G network providers. It also established connectivity between the visited and home network via secured gateways hosted on BICS' IPX network.

  • The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) 5th Generation Fixed Network group (F5G ISG) has just released its first specification, ETSI GS F5G 003, entitled "F5G Technology Landscape." In the specification, the ISG studies the technical requirements, existing standards and gaps for ten different new use cases.

  • Europe's second-highest court has upheld a €125 million (US$146.4 million) antitrust fine against France-based Altice, although it did reduce the fine by €6.22 million ($7.28 million). As Reuters reports (paywall may apply), the European Commission said in 2018 that Altice had breached EU merger rules by "exercising decisive influence and veto rights" over takeover target PT Portugal before securing regulatory clearance for the acquisition deal.

  • Vodafone's UK CEO, Ahmed Essam, has used a speech at this week's Connected Britain conference to call for regulatory reform to encourage investment in network infrastructure. "I think what the UK needs is a pro-investment environment," he said, adding that he thought communications regulator Ofcom should set the tone. He also conceded that further consolidation in the highly competitive UK mobile market was a clear possibility.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has launched an online sign-language service for its deaf customers who need technical assistance. By entering his or her phone number into the TIM website, the customer is given the opportunity to communicate with a video interpreter and a TIM technician. The service is the product of a collaboration with Veasyt, a company specializing in video interpretation of sign language.

  • UK altnet Hyperoptic has been named Broadband Provider of the Year at the Connected Britain awards. The gong was given for a winning combination of customer service, innovative products and imaginative partnerships with the likes of developers and housing associations.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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