This new virtual core is a crucial phase in Three’s £2 billion 5G infrastructure investment programme and offers greater security and flexibility, and is cheaper to run.
According to the press statement, “It’s also a critical building block for Three to deliver the UK’s fastest 5G network, set to launch from August this year” and will enable Three to scale “more quickly and efficiently”.
The network will be capable of speeds up to 2.15Gbps, although the end devices that run on it won’t be for the foreseeable future.
Three is hoping its unique network and operational model will allow it to disrupt the UK market through:
• Faster time to market as it will be easy to introduce new products on the more flexible infrastructure
• Greater capacity at less cost
• More security because the infrastructure has to all the latest security standards embedded.
Data centres provide the edge
The core network will be managed from Three’s 20 new data centres which are distributed across the UK to bring the 5G network’s edge closer to customers to deliver “the lowest possible latency”.
Three has tested the core network with 3,500 Three employees and started to migrate 4G customers’ traffic on to the new core.
The migration will continue throughout 2019, connecting new and existing customers to the cloud core.
When migration is complete, the core network will have massive scalability so, the companies say, it will easily support the potential for increased capacity created by a mixture of Three’s spectrum assets and 5G tech.
Nokia and partners
Three UK’s vision for what it says is the world’s first ever, cloud core network has involved complex integration of products and services from across the Nokia portfolio.
Nokia will provide essential systems integration, security, and managed services capabilities, alongside its routing, software and mobile radio technology. Although Nokia is at the centre of the new core, partners are providing applications which run on or manage the core.
Affirmed Networks and Mavenir are providing applications for traffic management and messaging.
EXFO, MYCOM OSI and BMC supply Operational Support Systems to manage the Nokia cloud core, the radio access network and IT systems.
Insatiable appetite for data
Dave Dyson, CEO at Three UK stated, “Our new core network is part of a series of connected investments, totalling £2 billion, that will provide a significant step change in our customers’ experience.
“UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data as well as an expectation of high reliability.
“We are well positioned to deliver both as we prepare for the launch of the UK’s fastest 5G network.”
Bhaskar Gorti, President of Nokia Software added, “This project delivers a joint vision that has been forged from the catalyst of Three’s strategy for complete business transformation.
“The project will deliver a flexible 5G core network, enabling the next generation of mobile services and cementing Three UK as a true leader of 5G in the UK.”