Ericsson and O2 Telefonica Germany Extend Core Network Partnership

Ericsson and O2 Telefonica Germany have signed an extension to their core network partnership, reinforcing their commitment to delivering advanced mobile connectivity solutions. Currently, Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core and cloud infrastructure support O2 Telefonica’s 45 million 5G Standalone (SA), 5G non-Standalone (NSA), 4G, and 2G subscribers.
Telefonica O2 in GermanyThe renewed agreement highlights O2 Telefonica’s plans to enhance the capabilities provided by its recent cloud-native transformation with Ericsson. This modernization of the packet core network, running on Ericsson cloud infrastructure, has facilitated the rollout of 5G SA and future-proofed its infrastructure, positioning it for large-scale innovation in the coming years.

O2 Telefonica is now prepared to commercialize differentiated connectivity by launching advanced 5G SA network slicing services. These services will ensure assured quality of service rather than a “best effort” connection and will offer network programmability through the exposure of Network APIs.

In a significant achievement in May, Ericsson and O2 Telefonica completed a world-first In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) of network functions in the core network’s user plane within O2 Telefonica’s production network. This upgrade was executed under load, at scale, and without service disruption.

A hallmark of cloud-native architecture, ISSU allows high-performance mobile networks to upgrade software without any service downtime, ensuring customers benefit from an always-updated network with the latest mobile solutions and security features.

ISSU enhances network automation and significantly reduces the need for manual interventions. Implemented through a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline, this process improves flexibility, reduces time to market for new services, and boosts operational efficiency.

The collaboration encompasses Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core, Cloud Native Infrastructure (bare metal Containers-as-a-Service infrastructure), and NFVI solutions, along with a range of capabilities for advanced 5G Core automation and orchestration. This empowers O2 Telefonica to leverage the full benefits of its cloud-native ecosystem for unparalleled innovation and performance.

Mallik Rao, Chief Technology & Information Officer (CTIO) of O2 Telefonica, stated, “For the first time, we have jointly implemented in-service software upgrades in the containerized user plane at scale. This allows us to roll out new features faster and without temporary maintenance breaks—an important step towards the network of the future.”

Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core powers nearly 50 percent of the world’s live 5G SA networks. By the end of 2023, Ericsson celebrated over 40 live cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core networks in commercial operation with communication service providers globally.