Ericsson flagged a three-year deal with Liberty Latin America (LLA) that will see the vendor provide virtualized and cloud-based mobile core network solutions throughout the operator's footprint in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Deployment is expected to start in the second half of 2020, with a specific focus on Puerto Rico, Panama and the Caribbean islands. LLA's core networks will be completely virtualized at the end of the three-year project, Ericsson claimed.
The new contract is the latest in a steady stream of mobile network deals that Ericsson has been picking in recent months, as opposition grows to the use of equipment from one of its biggest rivals, Huawei.
Although the contract with LLA does not mention 5G, the mobile network core has become a political hot potato whatever generation it's in. Ericsson noted that it will deploy its cloud packet core, cloud unified data management and policy, cloud voice over LTE (VoLTE), network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVI) and network manager technologies.
LLA owns Cable & Wireless Communications, which operates under the consumer brands Flow, UTS, Más Móvil, and BTC in the Caribbean, Panama and Bahamas, respectively; VTR GlobalCom in Chile; Cabletica in Costa Rica; and Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico. The group spun off from parent Liberty Global two years ago, and it is in the process of acquiring AT&T's wireline and wireless operations in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. That nearly $2 billion deal is expected to close by June 30.
LLA has already revealed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations, both in terms of financial costs and a surge in traffic over both its wireline and wireless networks. It also previously indicated that it remains on track to upgrade or expand its footprint to 500,000 homes throughout the region this year.
For more on this topic, see:
- Liberty Latin America preps for COVID-19 storm
- Goodbye Huawei, hello Ericsson: Swap-out gathers pace
- Eurobites: Ericsson tells UK it can fill void left by Huawei ban
- Ericsson ups 5G forecast
- Ericsson bags more 5G RAN work with O2 UK
- Ericsson plays the long game with Chinese 5G contracts
— Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading