In early February, Ericsson passed a significant milestone by signing its 100th Evolved Packet Core (EPC) contract – an industry-leading achievement – as operators continue to invest in LTE.

The EPC is the core network of an LTE radio system, relying entirely on Internet Protocol (IP) packet switching for both voice and data.

According to the GSA (the Global mobile Suppliers Association), Ericsson’s EPC is the core architecture for 58 (more than 40 percent) of the 144 LTE networks that have been launched worldwide. Consumers’ appetite for mobile data shows no sign of slowing down – in fact, quite the opposite. The GSA forecasts that 234 LTE networks will be commercially launched in 83 countries by the end of 2013. In light of the opportunity this represents, Ericsson will make every effort to consolidate its position as the leading EPC supplier.

"We launched the world’s first LTE/EPC network for TeliaSonera in Sweden in 2009, and we’ve maintained our leadership in this area by offering new high-capacity products. In addition, we can deliver a software-based migration path to EPC for our existing Packet Core customers," says Jan Häglund, Head of Product Area IP & Broadband at Ericsson. "We believe we have the strongest LTE/EPC portfolio on the market, and our success suggests this is the case."

Ericsson’s EPC offering is part of a complete, end-to-end portfolio that includes LTE radio access networks, voice-over-LTE services, IP and transport infrastructure, operation and maintenance support systems, policy and charging solutions, as well as professional services.

The company’s EPC supports multi-access technologies including Wi-Fi, thereby enabling network operators to meet users’ growing demands for seamless, fast connectivity and next-generation broadband services – no matter which access technology or devices they are using.

"The introduction of LTE has meant that many operators have reassessed their choices of Packet Core vendors which, in turn, could have been an entry point for our competitors," says EPC Product Manager Lars Frid. "Instead, our new high capacity multi-access and multi-application Ericsson SSR 8000 family of smart services routers and the Ericsson Blade System have strengthened our market position with existing and new customers."

Complementing the existing applications (Evolved Packet Gateway, Broadband Network Gateway and L2/L3 PE Router), two new SSR 8000 applications – Ericsson Service-Aware Support Node and Ericsson Wi-Fi Gateway – were announced on February 18, and were demonstrated at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Ericsson Service-Aware Support Node can be used to categorize different types of traffic to ensure optimal utilization of network resources and the best possible user experience. Ericsson Wi-Fi Gateway, meanwhile, supports dynamic traffic steering between Wi-Fi and licensed bands for a truly seamless mobile-broadband user experience.

Ericsson’s Evolved Packet Core portfolio – which includes the Evolved Packet Gateway (EPG), the Mobility Management Entity (SGSN-MME) and the Service-Aware Policy Controller (SAPC) – will continue to evolve based on the Ericsson SSR 8000 family and Ericsson Blade System platforms.

Through its commitment to innovation, Ericsson will provide its customers with core networks that are simple, smart and scalable – thereby delivering superior performance.