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Ericsson gets Virgin Media O2 5G SA core gig

Swedish kit vendor Ericsson’s relationship with O2 UK has been maintained after the latter’s merger with Virgin Media.

The enduring marriage yielded its latest progeny in the form of a deal for Ericsson to build VMO2’s standalone 5G core, which will be integrated with the 4G and non-standalone 5G ones to make what Ericsson calls a dual-mode 5G core. There is presumably all manner of cleverness that has to take place to make all these cores play nice with each other and, since the O2 legacy cores were also Ericsson jobs, it makes sense to stick with the same vendor.

“This is an exciting time for our award-winning network, as we prepare for 5G Standalone,” said Jorge Ribeiro, Director of Service Platform Strategy & Engineering at VMO2. “Our teams are already working hard to deliver this infrastructure with Ericsson, who have been a trusted 5G partner since we launched 5GNSA in 2019. The benefits of 5G Standalone are significant as we aim to supercharge the UK’s digital economy, and we look forward to rolling it out for our customers in the near future.”

“Ericsson’s leading 5G Core technology and strong partnership with Virgin Media O2 means we are ready to build the network of the future together in the UK,” said Katherine Ainley, CEO of Ericsson UK & Ireland. “Our dual-mode 5G Core will enable the full power of 5G Standalone within Virgin Media O2’s network, unleashing the full potential of 5G for consumers and enabling digital transformation in new industries. 5G Standalone takes the UK’s mobile infrastructure to the next level and will help to boost long-term investment in the country and drive forward our growing digital economy.”

Apparently the new, super-duper core will be hosted on Ericsson cloud infrastructure in VMO2’s data centres, which makes a refreshing change. The trend is for operators to hand over as much of their infrastructure to public cloud giants and it seems still VMO2 thinks it can handle some techy stuff all by itself. Assuming, that is, that those data centres aren’t just rebranded AWS services, or whatever.

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