Alcatel-Lucent has signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korean telecommunications provider, KT, under which the companies will collaborate to test technologies for the eventual introduction of 5G mobile networks and infrastructure capable of meeting the huge connectivity demands expected in the future.
The collaboration will initially focus on Alcatel-Lucent’s virtualised Radio Access Network (vRAN) technology. At Mobile World Congress this year, Alcatel-Lucent demonstrated how its vRAN capability could help operators dynamically meet changing customer, market and environmental demands while enhancing network performance and lowering costs.
Amid the exploding demand today for data caused by smartphones and other mobile devices, and increasingly via technologies such as ‘the Internet of Things’ and machine-to-machine networks, 5G technology promises greater speeds, capacity and flexibility, enabling mobile operators to meet the data demand in a highly personalised way.
It will also deliver a completely ‘untethered’ experience, enabling people and connected devices to access any information from anywhere and in any way they choose.
South Korea has a strong appetite for data: according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning at the end of February 2015 72% of mobile subscribers were smartphone users.
KT wants to leverage the flexibilities and efficiencies promised by 5G to offer subscribers a high-quality seamless mobile broadband experience, with new differentiated and personalised revenue-generating services.
The scope of the agreement includes the development and testing of mobile ultra-broadband access, network functions virtualisation (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN) technologies for 5G network architectures and interfaces as well as the driving of interworking and 3GPP standardization activities.
Alcatel-Lucent has proven experience in both wireless networks and virtualisation and has already announced virtualisation of a wide range of network functions, including the evolved packet core (vEPC), and IMS (vIMS), Content Delivery Network (vCDN) and service routing (VSR).
The company demonstrated its vRAN solution at Mobile World Congress 2015. Its NFV leadership is underpinned by the participation of the CloudBand NFV platform in over 30 customer projects, an NFV ecosystem of over 60 members and extensive Nuage Networks SDN capabilities - including the launch of the Virtualised Networks Services (VNS) in 2014 - which further builds on Alcatel-Lucent’s strategy of delivering a complete range of cloud networking solutions for a software-driven world.
DongMyun Lee, CTO and senior vice president of KT, said: “KT recognizes Alcatel-Lucent as a global leader in vRAN and SDN. We are eager to use their vRAN and SDN technology to help us implement the 5G architecture that we have defined in our GiGatopia Vision.”
Chi Il Yoo, Head of Alcatel-Lucent Korea, said: “Alcatel-Lucent has a long-history of innovating to solve the world’s biggest communications challenges. We are fully aligned with KT’s vision and committed to help KT in its strategic network evolution. We see NFV technologies, such as vRAN as a vital step in this evolution and by working with KT we are further underlining our leadership in this area.”