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Ericsson wins BT deal for cloud-based 5G core

Howard Watson BT CTIO.jpg

BT has decided to source its 5G core network from Ericsson, the companies announced today.

Ericsson will deploy a cloud native, container-based, mobile packet core for BT to provide both 4G and 5G services.

Howard Watson (pictured), BT chief technology and information officer, said: “An agile, cloud-native core infrastructure is at the heart of our ambition to enable the next generation of exciting 5G services for our customers and give the UK the world-class digital infrastructure it needs to win in the future global economy.”

The decision will please campaigners who want to make sure BT does not use Huawei kit in its 5G core. But, according to the Financial Times this morning, BT will not meet UK government deadlines on reducing Huawei content from the network. In January the UK told all operators to remove Huawei, as a so-called “high-risk company”, from the core and to cut the overall Huawei content to 35%.

“It is logistically unnecessary. To push ahead at that pace would not make a lot of sense,” Watson told the FT.

The paper said that Watson had declined to tell it what the new date would be for the “full extraction of Huawei’s equipment from the core beyond saying it would be before the government’s deadline of 2023”.

BT told Capacity: “By January 2023, in line with proposed government legislation, 100% of core mobile traffic will be carried over our new Ericsson converged 4G/5G core. We will also reduce usage of Huawei in the 5G access network to no more than 35%, again in line with proposed legislation. In order to hit these ambitious targets within the timescales laid down by government, and to align with their focus on 5G networks, it is now our intention to prioritise migrating our 5G customers to the new Ericsson core, followed by our 4G customers.”

Watson said about the BT contract with Ericsson that, “having evaluated different 5G core vendors, we have selected Ericsson as the best option on the basis of both lab performance and future roadmap. We are looking forward to working together as we build out our converged 4G and 5G core network across the UK.”

Marielle Lindgren, head of Ericsson UK and Ireland, said: “Ericsson and BT have a long history of working together and we are delighted to continue that relationship with this new dual-mode 5G core deal.”

The solution, delivered on BT’s network cloud, will form a key component in BT’s move to a single converged IP network. It will incorporate network orchestration and automation, including continuous delivery and integration processes (CI/CD), and be integrated into BT’s existing customer experience management platforms using Ericsson Expert Analytics together with Ericsson’s built-in software probes.

Lindgren added: “We, at Ericsson, have been in the UK for over a century and delivering the next generation of connectivity here is yet another proud part of our story.”

 

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