Virgin Media O2 selects Ericsson 5G core to power standalone network deployment

Katherine Ainley of Ericsson

Ericsson has been selected by Virgin Media O2 to deploy cloud native, container-based dual-mode 5G Standalone Core on cloud infrastructure in the UK, paving the way for Virgin Media O2 to deliver ultra-fast connectivity to consumers and develop advanced enterprise use cases.

The new agreement, which is already being put into practice, will see Virgin Media O2 bring its 4G, 5G Non-standalone and 5G Standalone services into a single fully integrated Ericsson dual-mode 5G Core hosted on Ericsson cloud infrastructure in Virgin Media O2’s data centres.

The solution is incorporating Ericsson network orchestration, automation, enhanced fault and performance management, as well as the Ericsson Traffic Monitoring and Analysis (TMA) solution for real-time troubleshooting and analytics.

The transition to 5G Standalone is an important milestone in the continuing expansion of Virgin Media O2’s 5G infrastructure. 5G Standalone will enable the network of the future for Virgin Media O2 with gigabit connectivity, ultra-low latency, network slicing and huge data-handling ability.

New innovative applications and services such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and other immersive media experiences will all be supported through Ericsson’s 5G Standalone Core. Virgin Media O2 will also be able to harness the full power of Ericsson’s 5G technology and container-based microservices architecture to accelerate the digital transformation of its enterprise customers.

Working together the two companies first launched 5G commercial services in 2019 and an extended 5G rollout and network modernisation began in 2020, which included an innovation cluster to develop the network migration to 5G Standalone architecture. The 5G Core agreement strengthens the close working relationship between the two companies even further and makes Ericsson a key end-to-end partner for Virgin Media O2 in the UK.

Jorge Ribeiro, director of service platform strategy & engineering at Virgin Media O2, says, “This is an exciting time for our award winning network, as we prepare for 5G Standalone. 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.”

Katherine Ainley, CEO, Ericsson UK & Ireland, adds, “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. 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.”

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