First 5G core network in the cloud for an existing operator:O2 Telefónica sets new impulses in the core network together with Nokia and AWS

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Telecommunications provider O2 Telefónica launches the 5G Cloud Core, a new 5G core network built entirely in the cloud, using technologies from European network equipment provider Nokia and from Amazon Web Services (AWS). Selected customers of O2 Telefónica will benefit from the advantages of the cloud, including a better network experience when surfing on the provider's 5G standalone network ("5G Plus"), underlying resource availability, service resilience, and faster software updates. The AWS infrastructure is architected to be the most secure cloud computing environment available. The launch marks a technical achievement: with O2 Telefónica the first telecoms operator with an existing network runs its 5G core on AWS. The 5G Cloud Core will be designed for a capacity of up to 1 million customers in the first phase.
Mallik Rao
Mallik Rao, Chief Technology & Information Officer (CTIO) of O2 Telefónica, explains: “We are building our network of the future. With the launch of the new, cloud-based 5G core network, we are doing pioneering work and are taking a major step in our transformation process. With the new 5G Cloud Core, we are moving away from traditional architectures and instead focusing on modern, high-performance, and efficient network technologies. In doing so, we are relying on the quality and global expertise of Nokia and AWS. We offer our customers an excellent 5G experience and new digital applications.”
Raghav Sahgal
“We are delighted to support O2 Telefónica Germany’s move onto AWS,” said Raghav Sahgal, President of Cloud and Network Services, at Nokia. “This deployment, the first of its kind for an existing communication service provider, enables greater network agility and service offerings, and provides O2 Telefónica with all the tools it needs to efficiently manage and extract greater value from its network assets. The deployment underscores Nokia’s ability to migrate communication service providers to the cloud, making it practical for them to deploy applications and services on the infrastructure of their choice; and, with more flexible scaling, reliability, and near zero-touch automation.“
Fabio Cerone
“We’re thrilled to be selected for the 5G Cloud Core network deployment of O2 Telefónica and to realize their vision of the network of the future,” says Fabio Cerone, General Manager Telecom EMEA at AWS. “By building their 5G Cloud Core network on AWS, O2 Telefónica is redefining its operating model through full automation and elasticity at scale. It will bring O2 Telefónica the ability to dynamically scale and allocate 5G network capabilities to meet customer needs, as well as the needs of the new applications that will run on top of the new core.”

Pioneers in cloud-based network technology

Telecommunications providers’ core networks typically consist of several high-performance servers in data centers
Telecommunications providers’ core networks typically consist of several high-performance servers in data centers. Until now, companies have only used the cloud to build completely new network infrastructure (“greenfield”). O2 Telefónica is now taking the next step and building its core network on AWS with Nokia. O2 Telefónica is one of the first established telecommunications providers to implement this new architecture for its existing mobile network, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2023.

New cloud architecture improves network quality and customer experience

New features will be installed in the cloud at the click of a mouse. The cloud-based 5G core from Nokia on AWS will help improve the customer experience and accelerate innovation cycles by enabling O2 Telefónica to implement updates, new network functions and products for its customers faster than before. The network is designed for high availability with the cloud. For example, if individual servers fail, traffic will be automatically routed to other servers to achieve service resilience. By operating in the cloud, manual repairs can be done without service disruption, improving network availability, which is particularly important for modern 5G applications. The network can also be scaled more efficiently with the cloud. If customer usage changes, O2 Telefónica can scale cloud resources up or down based on demand at any time. This improves the company’s cost management, as it does not have to purchase and utilize its own servers. At the same time, energy efficiency is improved because only the resources that are needed are utilized and therefore the company can operate its core network more sustainably.

Highest security standards thanks to Cloud Security Framework

The core network is the central part of a mobile network. This is where all applications and data converge. O2 Telefónica developed a comprehensive Cloud Security Framework that sets highest standards for security, quality, and data protection. O2 Telefónica uses Confidential Computing and additional comprehensive encryption mechanisms when data is stored. All data is stored either on O2 Telefónica premises or AWS infrastructure within Europe. Leveraging the cloud-based 5G core network, O2 Telefónica will work with Nokia and AWS to bring more digital 5G applications to the market and therefore, drive forward the digital future of mobile communications.