Home5GTelefónica Germany builds 5G core network on AWS to capture Industry 4.0 market

Telefónica Germany builds 5G core network on AWS to capture Industry 4.0 market

Telefónica in Germany has started the process to build its 5G core network and functions in the cloud in order to develop and deploy new IoT and AI solutions for industrial customers, as well as enterprises at large. It is using Amazon Web Services for the public cloud infrastructure and Ericsson for the core and orchestration components.

The move is a key milestone for national network operators in Germany, the home of Industrie 4.0, as it seeks to establish itself as the go-to provider for industrial 5G, as a springboard for digital change. Last week, Enterprise IoT Insights reported in the jeopardy for the operator set as enterprises increasingly look to take advantage of new licensing laws to own and operate their own cellular infrastructure. So far, 67 licences have been granted in Germany for localised industrial 5G operations.

Telefónica Germany, trading as O2, said it is investing upwards of 10 million (“a double-digit million-euro amount”) in the virtualization of its network. The trio will start with an Industry 4.0 proof-of-concept this month, to enable “selected partners” in the industrial sector in Germany to spin-up 5G-based IoT projects using cloud-based software, alongside standard 5G radio hardware.

Telefónica is the first Germany-based network operator to build its 5G core network and functions for new industry solutions in the cloud, it said. It will make software based core 5G functions available for the “entire” German industrial market next year (2021), it added.

AWS said all data will remain on its servers in Germany, specifically at its Frankfurt data centre operations. Telefónica said this “guarantees… the highest level of reliability and security.” A press statement noted “one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers” is relying on the same public cloud setup from AWS to network 100-odd production facilities worldwide. The cloud infrastructure from AWS has already proven itself,” said Telefónica.

The current Industry 4.0 proof, which Telefónica is working on with AWS and Ericsson, is designed to check and certify compliance with “all applicable data protection guidelines”. Telefónica said the rapid-fire development and provisioning of software based industrial 5G, along with lower operating costs, will bring savings of 20 percent to enterprises, compared with “time-consuming” hardware-based deployments.

Compute and storage functions can be integrated into hardware-based radio deployments at the edge, to lower latencies further for certain time-critical industrial functions. Telefónica stated: “If companies use 5G network functions based on the cloud-based 5G core network… they will no longer need a physical core network infrastructure at their logistics and production sites, for example – only a 5G radio network (RAN) with corresponding antennas.”

It added: “Telefónica Germany can offer companies such as car and machine manufacturers, logistics companies or medium-sized businesses state-of-the-art standardized solutions for logistics and manufacturing processes in cooperation with their software developers and integrate them… Developers can use tools they are already familiar with, eliminating the need for them to build these solutions independently. The cloud solution can be deployed in close proximity to companies to ensure extremely low latencies when using the network.”

Markus Haas, chief executive at Telefónica Germany, commented: “We are laying the foundation for the digital transformation of the German economy. This collaboration with AWS is an important part of our strategy for building industrial 5G networks.”

Mallik Rao, chief technology and information officer of Telefónica Germany, said: “This turns hardware-centric technology into an extensive software solution. Based on Ericsson’s modern cloud-native software architecture as a link to the AWS cloud solution, we can easily, quickly and flexibly integrate new 5G industry applications into our network and offer them to our customers with our 5G cloud.”

Jan Karlsson, head of business-area digital services at Ericsson, said: “With this initiative, we together demonstrate the 5G benefits for enterprises. By providing a cloud native 5G core network with open APIs, along with the capability to orchestrate enterprise applications in multi-cloud environments, we enable Telefónica’s industry customers to accelerate their digitalization.”

Dave Brown, vice president of ‘elastic compute cloud’ (EC2) at AWS, said: “This is a big moment for Telefónica Germany in its digital transformation journey… [Its] 5G core will leverage AWS cloud technology in the Frankfurt region and on-premise data centers…. Telefónica Germany is opening the door to cloud native infrastructure, delivering full automation and elasticity at scale, with the ability to dynamically scale and allocate 5G capacity to the needs of business customers.”

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