Smarter 5G networks and services with VMware's modernization strategy

Smarter 5G networks and services with VMware’s modernization strategy

  • VMware’s focus is on four key themes for modernizing 5G networks and creating monetizable edge services across the distributed enterprise.
  • There is an evolving trend towards open ecosystems in the telecommunications landscape of the APAC/ASEAN region.

VMware’s strategy is focused on assisting service providers in modernizing their networks, including upgrading existing networks that were deployed 5 or 10 years ago using a siloed, traditional approach, to become more agile in deploying network services. These services, which include 5G, are delivered as network functions that power the network experience and accelerate business models with next-generation capabilities.

Service providers aim to monetize their network investments by driving new revenue streams, increasing average revenue per user, and offering value-added digital service provider capabilities beyond connectivity as a service.

VMware’s focus on 4 key theme to modernize 5G network services

VMware is focusing on four key themes, as seen from its recent announcements, including those made at MWC 2023 last week. The first theme is radio access network (RAN) transformation, which involves its technology layers and enables a software-defined RAN approach. The company is meeting its customers where they are, as many are moving away from the traditional siloed RAN approach towards a virtualized RAN, with some experimenting with open RAN to bring greater flexibility to their networks.

The next focus is on telco efficiency, which includes not only improvements to the underlying infrastructure stack, such as power efficiency, workload density, and energy consumption reduction opportunities, but also efficiencies in the technology and operational layers through the adoption of VMware’s cloud smart software delivered via its Telco Cloud Platform.

VMware is also enabling CSPs to build smarter networks with network programmability via its RAN intelligent controller, which can exist in the core, RAN, and edge. This technology improves service levels, quality availability, and enables future monetization strategies for the telco sector.

Lastly, VMware is exploring the edge with its service provider customers as they look for new business models. The edge isn’t just about the enterprise, but also enables telcos to create their own services and find new opportunities for monetization. However, the edge is a complex topic, requiring attention to applications, user experience, and ultimately the services that create value for end subscribers and enterprise customers.

“Our platform provides the necessary capabilities to deploy 5G at scale in the core and the RAN, which includes performance and scale to enable high-speed networking and seamless connectivity. This allows our customers to leverage the multi-cloud capabilities inherent in the platform,” said Stephen Spellicy, VP of Service Provider Marketing, Product Marketing & Business Development at VMware.

Leading CSPs in APJ transforming their networks with VMware

VMware partners with SoftBank to build their 5G standalone core network using the VMware Telco Cloud Platform. SoftBank can onboard network functions from different partners on this horizontal platform. VMware’s automation and orchestration layer will help Softbank onboard various network functions, and Softbank plans to use this platform for all essential 5G services. The partnership is a major announcement made by VMware at MWC 2023.

Smarter 5G networks and services with VMware's modernization strategy

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“We’ve also been working with Singtel and making significant progress for the last two years,” said Vinod Joseph, Technical Leader of APJ & China VMware Service Provider & Edge. “Singtel is a key partner in rolling out their 5G standalone network, which was one of the first to go live. We’re expanding our partnership with Singtel, building new sites, and onboarding new network functions. They’ve chosen our automation and Service Assurance Platforms for trials and have embedded our offerings into their network.”

VMware’s role in the evolving telecommunications landscape in APAC/ASEAN

When asked about the evolving telecommunications landscape in APAC/ASEAN, Joseph predicts that the telecommunications landscape in the region is evolving towards open ecosystems. Partners and customers are seeking to move away from the traditional vertical stack approach towards a cloud-like platform, which includes not only infrastructure but also operational processes. According to him, VMware’s solutions will play a crucial role in this evolution by enabling partners to build more flexible and dynamic networks.

“How agile is your lifecycle management, and how quickly can you onboard new services and applications? Can you seamlessly upgrade without disrupting operations? These are all essential principles of cloud or cloud-native infrastructure, where VMware plays a critical role,” said Joseph. “Our platform provides a multivendor fabric that is completely open and agile, and serves as a stepping stone towards adopting a multi-cloud infrastructure.”

VMware’s automation layer offers intelligent insights into anomalies, performance dashboards, and configuration management. This allows providers to automate their infrastructure fully, with the automation framework facilitating agile lifecycle management and seamless onboarding of new services and applications.

The trend towards desegregated horizontal models is growing, particularly in Singapore, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia. VMware anticipates a more widespread adoption of open and horizontal platforms across the APJ region.