NTT Docomo selects NEC for supplying 5G mobile core network

NEC Corporation announced its selection by NTT Docomo as a vendor for supplying 5G mobile core network (5GC) compatible with Standalone (SA) 5G that NTT Docomo plans to launch in 2021.
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NEC will also provide a user data processor — the UPF mini — as part of driving development of NTT Docomo’s SA 5G, and meeting the network needs of the 5G era, including support for 5G features such as enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC), and Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC).

This SA 5G mobile core network features flexible operations, enabled  by the adoption of container technology, in addition to the virtualization adopted by virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC).

The SA 5GC enables the provision of sliced networks that are ideal for the various services that take advantage of 5G features, while also improving scalability.

NEC said the UPF mini data processor is smaller and saves more power than conventional models, which increases flexibility in terms of where the unit can be installed.

Telecom engineers know that it is necessary to reduce the latency of the entire network configuration, including the wired section and the wireless section between the base station and the user terminal.

Engineers can place the UPF mini in wired sections and shorten the physical distance to the application server to enable Multi Access Edge Computing (MEC), which reduces the overall processing time, thereby contributing to the expansion of the ultra-low latency service area, NEC said.

NEC already provides NTT DOCOMO with core networking vEPC for LTE. The 5G service launched by NTT DOCOMO in March 2020, uses an extension of this vEPC and operates as a Non-standalone (NSA) core network.

NEC also provides base stations and 5G radio base stations for LTE. Together with this core network, NEC will provide total support for NTT DOCOMO’s 5G services and will contribute to the expansion of next-generation network services.

“This 5GC allows us to build a 5G core network that can accommodate a wide variety of needs and use cases,” said Naoki Tani, executive general manager, R&D Innovation Division, NTT Docomo, said.