Telefónica taps IBM to deploy its first-ever 5G core network

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Telefónica has forged a strategic, multi-year alliance with IBM to deploy its UNICA Next 5G core network.

UNICA Next is Telefónica’s first cloud-native 5G core network platform. Built on IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation, Red Hat OpenShift, and Juniper Networks Apstra, the platform offers open, secure, and automated network capabilities to boost enterprises’ 5G and edge applications.

Integrating IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation with UNICA Next simplifies the management of a wide range of cloud network elements and functions through intent-based orchestration. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation allows zero-touch provisioning.

Together with Telefónica's Network Cloud Lab in Madrid, IBM's Global Telco Solutions Lab in Coppell, will facilitate the creation of new integrated CI/CD releases for UNICA Next.

“Pairing it with the power of Red Hat Open Shift and Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, the combination will present Telefónica with an environment designed for increased observability and control for managing the UNICA Next Kubernetes environment and drive 5G and edge innovation more quickly and with less complexity,” added Telefónica.

Along with IBM Global Business Services, Telefónica has partnered with Red Hat and Juniper Networks to implement its ETSI-compliant, low-latency 5G core network. Per reports, Telefónica’s UNICA Next will be deployed across multiple central, regional, and distributed data centers starting October 2021.


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"Building out the UNICA Next platform with its next-generation network architecture shows how important it is to build the infrastructure now to support the deployment of 5G. 5G has the potential to support thousands of use cases and applications for consumers and enterprises in all industries,” said Javier Gutierrez, director of strategy, network, and IT development for Telefónica.

Gutierrez added, “Our collaboration will not only help us to harness the potential of 5G, but also prepare for the future through a hybrid cloud led technology and business transformation. With IBM, Telefónica is combining the latency and bandwidth advancements of 5G with the customization and intelligence of the cloud: we anticipate the results will be transformative in Europe and beyond.”