Three launches 5G-ready core network; Vodafone expands its 5G footprint
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:
Image credit: Three

Yesterday (16 July) Three UK and Nokia announced that they have launched what they claim is the world’s first 5G-ready fully integrated cloud core network, in preparation for Three’s 5G rollout.

According to two companies, the new core network provides increased security, flexibility and cost settings, while allowing Three to scale more quickly and efficiently. It will underpin the launch of Three’s 5G network which will launch in August. The core network will be managed from 20 new data centres which have been geographically located based on Three’s customer base to reduce the latency that they will experience.

The core network has already been tested with the aid of 3,500 Three employees and the company has started to migrate 4G customer traffic onto it. This will continue throughout 2019.

The delivery of the cloud core network involved a complex integration of products and services from across the Nokia portfolio and is part of Three’s £2bn 5G infrastructure investment programme. Nokia will also provide essential systems integration, security, and managed services capabilities, alongside its routing, software and mobile radio technology.

Affirmed Networks and Mavenir’s applications for traffic management and messaging respectively are running on the Nokia cloud core and Three is also working with Exfo, Mycom and BMC for operational Support system solutions which are used to manage the Nokia cloud core and the RAN (radio access network) and IT systems.

Three UK's CEO Dave Dyson said: “Our new core network is part of a series of connected investments, totalling £2 billion, that will provide a significant step change in our customers’ experience. UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data as well as an expectation of high reliability. We are well positioned to deliver both as we prepare for the launch of the UK’s fastest 5G network.”

Bhaskar Gorti, president of Nokia Software said: “This is an exciting time for both Nokia and Three UK, as together we work towards the future of telecommunications networks. This project delivers a joint vision that has been forged from the catalyst of Three’s strategy for complete business transformation. The project will deliver a flexible 5G core network, enabling the next generation of mobile services and cementing Three UK as a true leader of 5G in the UK.”

In related news, Vodafone announced today (17 July) that it has expanded its 5G network to include Birkenhead, Bolton, Gatwick, Lancaster, Newbury, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton. This takes the number of cities and towns covered to 15, with more to follow.

The company has also added 20 towns and cities across Germany to the 35 places already on its 5G European roaming network, which will go live soon. This will allow both consumers and business customers to roam over 5G in some of the most popular tourist and business locations in Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, at no additional cost. Vodafone also has introduced unlimited data plans with 5G roaming and this service is also available on 4G in 77 destinations worldwide.

Vodafone UK’s CEO Nick Jeffery said: “Vodafone’s global presence means we can provide our consumer and business customers with 5G in more destinations than any other UK provider. Combined with our new unlimited data plans, we are offering customers the best roaming experience ever. They won’t have to hunt for Wi-Fi or rely on often expensive and slow hotel connections; they can use their 5G smartphones to enjoy faster roaming.”

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