SoftBank deploys Ericsson virtual MME and Ericsson Cloud Platform

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The FINANCIAL — Ericsson has successfully executed a large-scale cloud transformation project with SoftBank, one of Japan’s leading mobile operators.

The two companies have deployed Ericsson’s virtual Mobility Management Entity (MME), along with Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment (CEE) – based on OpenStack – and Ericsson Cloud Manager for Orchestration (ECM) in SoftBank’s commercial network.

The deployment represents a complete Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) solution, including Virtual Network Functions (VNF), NFV Infrastructure (NFVI), VNF Manager (VNFM) and VNF Orchestration (VNFO). The Ericsson virtual MME operates on commercial off-the-shelf hardware and coexists with native Ericsson MME to extend the pool, according to Ericsson.

SoftBank is the first Tier 1 operator to complete such a wide-scale deployment of virtual MME in a native MME pool. 

By adding a virtualized environment to its native network, SoftBank can scale its network capability, flexibility and manageability. With the Ericsson virtual MME, the operator’s network can be adjusted according to capacity needs. A flexible and manageable network means that software upgrade and expansions can be rolled out quickly. This enables SoftBank to launch new services faster and more efficiently, with shorter lead times and lower capex and opex.

In addition, Ericsson’s Cloud Platform can support SoftBank in the deployment of future applications, and meets the requirements of the Internet of Things and 5G.

Yoichi Funabiki, Director Mobile Network Planning Division, Core Network Department, SoftBank, says: “I am proud that we are successfully operating Ericsson virtual MME in our existing native MME pool. The deployment of vMME was completed much faster than with native MME.

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“It is a huge benefit to operate NFV to deploy new services quicker while maintaining superior network quality. This is a very important first step toward launching our virtualized core network. I look forward to further expanding this virtualization by working with Ericsson.” 

Mikael Eriksson, Head of Ericsson Japan, says: “As a long-term partner to SoftBank, we are very pleased to extend our partnership and collaboration to virtualization and cloud. This successful commercial deployment in such a wide-scale network is not only a global first, but it also demonstrates our commitment to bringing technology and thought leadership to support SoftBank’s continuous success.”


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