Telefónica to build virtual IMS network for LTE in Latin America

20 December 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Telefónica has ordered a virtualised network from Chinese vendor ZTE to provide 4G voice services in Latin America.

ZTE will build the network in seven countries – Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay – to provide voice over LTE (VoLTE) and voice over Wifi services for Telefónica customers.

Most LTE networks still carry voice as 3G services. VoLTE moves voice calls into IP, and allows high-definition audio quality.

The installation will be part of Telefónica’s Unica virtualisation project. “ZTE will gradually create a simpler, more flexible and more open network for operators,” said Ziyang Xu, president of ZTE’s telecom cloud and core network products.

The installation will be a virtualised IP multimedia subsystem (vIMS), which will deploy VoLTE and VoWiFi as a virtual network function (VNF).

“With the rapid development of Telefónica’s LTE services, deploying VoLTE and VoWiFi services has become an important for operation and development,” said ZTE, which did not put a price on the Telefónica order.

The vendor added: “ZTE’s vIMS solution possesses carrier-grade commercial capability for product performance and security and reliability. It enables seamless integration with Telefónica’s legacy networks.”

It is the first step within Telefónica Unica’s virtualisation programme, the company said, and aims for “a smooth migration” to Unica following extensive tests in Telefónica’s labs. “ZTE is already cooperating with Telefónica as a key NFV supplier.”