Virgin Media O2 boosts 5G network with VMware

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Virgin Media O2 is using VMware’s telecoms platforms to deploy its 5G infrastructure, saying the partnership has provided a foundation for a successful network deployment over the past year and a half.

While 5G networks use more efficient and advanced radio technologies to deliver faster speeds and greater capacity, they also require more flexible, scalable, and cloud-based core layers to power the most revolutionary use cases – especially those that rely on ultra-low latency.

Virgin Media O2 is using VMware’s Telco Cloud Infrastructure technology to rapidly design, build and implement virtualised network functions that will enable the agility and speed required to introduce upgrades that maintain network quality and enable new services for customers.

Virgin Media O2-VMware partnership

The operator will also use VMware’s Tanzu for Telco Kubernetes cluster to enable Containers-as-a-Service (CaaS). Specifically, this will allow Virgin Media O2 to support the next generation of containerised functions and improve its ability to support technologies from multiple vendors.

“As the rollout of 5G networks comes close to completion, service providers need to be able to modernise their network infrastructure quickly, simply, and economically. The best way to do this is through a single platform that can automate and streamline delivery of multi-vendor network functions,” said Sanjay Uppal, SVP & GM, Service Provider & Edge, VMware.

“Through its work with VMware, Virgin Media O2 is able to deploy a network infrastructure that enables the successful roll out of its 5G services without limitations, by harnessing the agility, flexibility, and consistency of a common platform.”

The partnership is the latest in a series between the telecoms and IT industries during the 5G era.

Virgin Media rolled out 5G to 5,000 sites last year and its network is now available in more than 300 towns and cities according to its definition of a 5G location.

“Virtualising and modernising our network is essential if we are to cement our position as the leading telco provider across UK and EU and we are delighted to partner with VMware to achieve this,” explained Chris Buggie, Director of Infrastructure & Cloud Engineering & Delivery, Virgin Media O2.

“By utilising a consistent, NFV- and cloud-native platform for onboarding and managing our workloads and network functions, we are able reinvest into the network and our customers with a service we can be proud of.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.