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Vodafone taps Oracle for its cloud-native standalone 5G network

The deal comes as Virgin Media O2 reportedly cancels its five-year MVNO partnership with the operator

Vodafone has announced that it has selected Oracle to provide cloud-native network policy management that will help it progress towards standalone (SA) 5G

The solution is comprised of Oracle’s 5G Core Policy Control Function (PCF) and Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), which allows the deployment of complex network policies, including wireless, fixed, and cable, as well as Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) networks. 

In Vodafone’s case, the solution will provide data on the basis of which Vodafone’s customers will be able to choose the best network offering for their needs. This will allow Vodafone to automate and scale to meet the expected growth in 5G subscribers and connected devices, allowing a seamless experience across 4G and 5G networks while also delivering a smooth integration of new 5G services – such as VR/AR, live-streaming, or IoT.

Oracle’s senior vice president and general manager of Networks, Andrew Morawski, said that intelligent policy management is the “entryway” to any new opportunities provided by 5G connectivity:

“Our 5G and cloud capabilities are helping Vodafone to build a future-proof network that is automated, easier to scale, simpler to operate, and more cost-effective,” he added.

Commenting on the news, Vodafone UK chief network officer Andrea Dona said that “moving to ‘cloud native’ is a culture shift as much as it is a technology shift for a techcomms company like Vodafone”. 

“Our partners must demonstrate flexibility and agility, as well as aligning to our vision of how technology will augment and support tomorrow’s digital society,” she added.

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The news comes days after reports emerged of Virgin Media O2 calling off its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement with Vodafone.

Signed in 2019 and implemented only last year, the deal saw Vodafone replace BT in supplying wholesale mobile network services, including both voice and data, to Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media Business. It also provided Virgin Media with full access to Vodafone’s current services and future technologies, including its 5G network, and was set to last until 2026. However, the newly-merged Virgin Media O2 has reportedly informed its bondholders late last week that it has now cancelled the deal.

A spokesperson for Virgin Media O2 declined to comment on the reports.

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