Vodafone Egypt picks Ericsson for VNF deployment

Vodafone Egypt has partnered with Ericsson to launch what it claims is the first commercial virtual network function (VNF) in the Middle East.

The operator partnered with Swedish vendor Ericsson in October and has since launched a virtual Support Node - Mobility Management Entity (SGSN-MME) on its network.

Ericsson’s SGSN-MME supports multi-access technologies like GSM, WCDMA and LTE, serving and managing commercial mobile broadband traffic that runs on Vodafone’s Egyptian network.

Rafiah Ibrahim, head of region Middle East and East Africa at Ericsson, said: "Utilizing the virtual SGSN technology will be the first step in Vodafone Egypt's journey towards virtualization and cloud transformation. 

“Operators are looking for ways to increase capacity and achieve efficiencies; today's agreement will enable Vodafone Egypt to achieve these goals."

Virtualisation is a hot topic for carriers, with a number, including AT&T and Telefonica, announcing Network Function Virtualisation and Software Defined Networks projects already this year.

The technology aims to make networks more agile, whilst also making it easier to employ VNFs and services, whilst also offering more flexible deployment of bandwidth.

Vodafone has already picked Ericsson to virtualise its core network for Australian JV Vodafone Hutchison Australia, while it has employed a virtual voice over LTE network in the Netherlands.

Osama Said, Vodafone Egypt technology director, added: "We are happy to be working with Ericsson to take forward steps towards our Network Function Virtualization. The virtualization technology will enhance the speed and efficiency of services we provide to our customers. which will in turn support our main goal to reach customer satisfaction. 

“We are excited to continue working on this core network technology evolution with the support of Ericsson."