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O2 Telefónica and Ericsson renew core network partnership

  • The companies have agreed a multi-year contract extension to realize O2 Telefónica’s network of the future vision.
  • The partnership, which started in 2020, includes Ericsson's cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core and cloud-based infrastructure solutions which now serve O2 Telefónica’s 45 million mobile subscribers in Germany.
  • Extension comes as companies celebrate success with world-first In-Service Software Upgrade execution to automate containerized user plane software upgrades at scale.
Press release
Jun 10, 2024
O2 Telefónica and Ericsson renew core network partnership

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and O2 Telefónica in Germany have signed an extension to their successful core network partnership that will launch the next evolutionary stage in the operator’s drive to capture 5G value in the country. Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core and cloud infrastructure solutions already support mobile connectivity for O2 Telefónica’s 45 million 5G Standalone (SA), 5G non-Standalone (NSA), 4G and 2G subscribers. The companies will continue innovating and building functionality in the core network to further future-proof the network. This ambition is seen most clearly with the implementation of the world’s first In-Service software upgrade in the containerized dual-mode 5G Core user plane

The new deal underscores O2 Telefónica’s plans to build on the capabilities delivered through its recent cloud-native transformation with Ericsson which modernized its packet core network to be running on Ericsson cloud infrastructure, facilitated the successful rollout of 5G SA, and future-proofed its infrastructure so it may innovate at scale in the years to come. It now stands ready for the next step in commercializing differentiated connectivity to launch advanced 5G SA network slicing services relying on assured quality of service, rather than a “best effort” connection, and offer network programmability through exposure of Network APIs.

Already the partners have proven their expertise with automation using Ericsson’s full-stack core network (including applications, infrastructure and automation tools). In May they completed a world-first In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) of network functions in the core network’s user plane in O2 Telefónica’s production network under load, at scale and without service disruption. A feature of cloud-native architecture, ISSU gives high-performance mobile networks the ability to upgrade software without any service downtime. Mobile customers benefit from an improved network that is always provided with the latest updates in terms of mobile solutions and security.

ISSU increases the automation level of the network and greatly reduces the need for manual interventions. Delivered through a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline, this improves flexibility and time to market for new services introduction and enhances operational efficiency.

The collaboration covers Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core, Cloud Native Infrastructure (bare metal Containers-as-a-Service infrastructure) and NFVI solutions, and a range of associated capabilities to deliver advanced 5G Core automation and orchestration which empowers O2 Telefónica to fully take advantage of the benefits its cloud-native ecosystem brings for world-beating innovation and performance.

Mallik Rao, Chief Technology & Information Officer (CTIO) of O2 Telefonica says: “We always want to offer our customers an outstanding network experience by delivering the full value of cloud-native and 5G Standalone to them. The core network is the heartbeat for this. With Ericsson, we have embarked on a cloud-native transformation journey and are now going to develop it further by expanding our portfolio and capabilities towards network slicing, automation, and API access. This allows us to roll out new features faster and without temporary maintenance breaks - an important step towards the network of the future.”

Daniel Leimbach, Head of Customer Unit Western Europe at Ericsson says: “Our deep partnership with O2 Telefónica in Germany has been a significantly rewarding one from the start. Meeting its challenge to deliver a cloud-native core network for its 45 million subscribers while ensuring it was flexible enough to evolve in line with its strategy meant breaking new ground across a range of disciplines. We are proud of our joint achievements and that we are reconfirmed as O2 Telefónica’s partner for core network for the years to come.”

Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core powers close to 50 percent of the world's live 5G SA networks. At the end of 2023, Ericsson celebrated over 40 live cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core networks in commercial operation with communication service providers worldwide.