Mavenir and NEC deploy Massive MIMO on Orange’s 5G SA network in France

Mavenir and NEC Corporation (NEC) have deployed massive MIMO (mMIMO) on Orange’s 5G standalone (SA) experimental network in France.

Mavenir’s cloud-native Open virtualized Radio Access Network (Open vRAN) software has been deployed on Orange’s cloud infrastructure with NEC’s 32T32R mMIMO active antenna unit (AAU) to deliver high capacity and enhanced coverage. Interoperability between radios and virtualized Distributed Units (vDUs) over the O-RAN Alliance Open Fronthaul Interface is key to Open RAN’s ability to simplify the deployment of multi-vendor networks and eliminate vendor lock-in.

The technologies have been deployed at the Orange Gardens campus in Chatillon near Paris, and are part of the extension of project Pikeo – Orange’s cloud-based and fully automated 5G SA experimental network, also called Pikeo at this site.

“Mavenir and NEC’s successful Open RAN deployment of mMIMO on Orange’s Innovation 5G SA experimental network is a major stepping stone on the road towards Open RAN deployments and illustrates Orange’s commitment to support the development of multi-vendor Open RAN solutions with innovative partners. Our Open RAN Integration Centre, open to our partners worldwide, contributes to the development of a strong Open RAN ecosystem in Europe,” said Arnaud Vamparys, SVP Radio Access Networks and Microwaves at Orange.

The deployment includes Mavenir’s cloud-native Open virtualized Radio Access Network (Open vRAN) software rolled out across Orange’s cloud infrastructure with NEC’s 32T32R mMIMO active antenna unit (AAU) to deliver high capacity and enhanced coverage.

“Deploying 5G SA mMIMO is a significant milestone in developing Open RAN and transitioning from virtualized to cloudified networks,” said Hubert de Pesquidoux, executive chairman of Mavenir.

“We are very proud of our continuing collaboration with Orange, NEC and other companies that are proving the potential of the multi-vendor, cloud-native, standards-based approach.”

The deployment forms part of the extension of project Pikeo – Orange’s cloud-based and fully automated 5G SA experimental network.

“The latest deployment of Open RAN mMIMO in Europe is another milestone for Open RAN and one that required close collaboration and tight integration between multiple vendors. This synergy is exactly what Open RAN needs to successfully deliver on its promise of a truly open multi-vendor ecosystem,” said Naohisa Matsuda, general manager of NEC’s 5G strategy and business.

“Forward-thinking mobile operators like Orange are showcasing the potential of Open RAN mMIMO. This is the right time for the mobile industry to follow the blueprint set by industry-leading operators to move to the new era of Open RAN-powered connectivity.”

About Mavenir:
Mavenir is building the future of networks and pioneering advanced technology, focusing on the vision of a single, software-based automated network that runs on any cloud. As the industry’s only end-to-end, cloud-native network software provider, Mavenir is focused on transforming the way the world connects, accelerating software network transformation for 250+ Communications Service Providers and Enterprises in over 120 countries, which serve more than 50% of the world’s subscribers.

About NEC Corporation:
NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC.




China Mobile Partners With ZTE for World’s First 5G Non Terrestrial Network Field Trial

ZTE is collaborating with China Mobile Research Institute, China Transport Telecom & Information Group, the Beijing Branch of China Mobile and other partners to showcase what it calls the world’s first 5G NTN (Non-Terrestrial Network) field trial at the 5G-Advanced Industry Development Summit in Beijing.
ZTE said in a press release that this brings achievement breakthroughs in two aspects, ultra-long distances as far as 36,000 km and direct connection between mobile phones, that are enabled by two innovations including dynamic compensation of big latency and RF data conversion between the satellite and terrestrial.The trial was end-to-end and demonstrated services such as short messages and voice services, both with satisfactory performances.
The trial included a comprehensive set of tests of the direct connection between the mobile phone and the satellite, which supports a network with ubiquitous connectivity, more use cases, highly integrated industry chains and low O&M costs.The trial was based on the 3GPP Release 17 and on a network architecture using high-orbit satellites for transparent forwarding to implement end-to-end link interconnection among terminals, satellites, terrestrial gateways, base stations, core networks and servers.The L-band satellite and terrestrial gateways, located between the NTN terminal and the base station, were responsible for air-interface message transmission. The terrestrial gateways were interconnected with the 5G NTN base station. The terminal was connected to the terrestrial core network and service platform through the satellite, gateways and NTN base station in turn to implement end-to-end service interconnection.
During this trial, communication cases such as synchronization, broadcasting, accessing and data transmission, and services such as short text messages and voice messages were successfully tested. The latency of 64-byte ping is about 4s.
The performance met the expectations, indicating the solution is very likely feasible. In the future, there will be emergency communication service pilot projects in Beijing, Yunnan and other provinces.
Together with the terrestrial network, the 5G non-terrestrial network (5G NTN) forms an integrated ubiquitous network with a variety of use cases, highly integrated industry chains and low O&M costs. It uses satellite communication for powerful coverage to meet people’s demands for better accessibility of the mobile internet around the world and provide emergency, marine, remote areas and IoT communication services, facilitating the comprehensive development of CHBN (Customer, Home, Business, New).The satellite telecommunication network can reuse the cellular network and significantly reduce terminal cost.
In addition, the number of cellular network base stations and centralized deployment can significantly reduce deployment and O&M costs.
In this new stage of 5G-Advanced, this end-to-end 5G NTN field trial’s success helps build a solid foundation for a direct phone-to-satellite communication business model. This service provides users with more reliable and consistent experiences and connects space, air, ground and sea, forming an integrated ubiquitous network.

Separately, ZTE says they’ve produced the industry’s smallest 5G Core network product, dubbed the Mini5GC.  The new Mini5GC features miniaturization, light weight, simple networking and ultra-high integration. The company states that it can well facilitate safe production, flexible adjustment of work sites, and efficient and accurate emergency rescue in mining areas.

This is part of its continued innovations in 5G core network products to boost the in-depth development of 5G private networks.  For Mini5GC, the number of general network functions is customized from more than 10 to just four, and the network communication and resource occupation are optimized. Thus, a lightweight 5GC can be deployed on one 1U server.Moreover, the size of the server is reduced to A3 paper, and its weight is reduced to less than 5kg.
With high integration, the 5GC product has 5Gbps forwarding capability and excellent performance for the same size in the industry.
With simple deployment, the Mini5GC can adapt to any rack, and its power consumption is about 100 watts. Also, through pre-installation of software and hardware upon delivery, on-site one-click modification, and plug-and-play the required services can be quickly launched in several hours.To date, ZTE’s Mini5GC has carried out pilot verification in five typical fields, including mining, transportation, manufacturing and government affairs. ZTE and SHAANXI ZHIN TECHNOLOGY CO., have jointly built a mine-use 5GC based on the Mini5GC to provide in-place data distribution for underground mining, so as to improve mining service efficiency and provide a high-availability network to ensure safe production in the mining area.Moving forward, ZTE says it will work with more industry partners to integrate product innovation and business model innovation to help operators explore intelligent digital development and boost the prosperity of the 5G industries.


Spark New Zealand completes 5G SA core network trials with AWS and Mavenir software


Telecommunication companies in New Zealand are currently implementing ‘non-standalone’ 5G – while networks have been updated to 5G, data centres and network cores are still running on legacy, non-5G systems, which are dependent on 4G infrastructure.

To achieve standalone 5G, data centres and core mobile networks need to be upgraded and deployed on a cloud-native platform. Existing mobile networks run out of a centralised data centre have relatively static use-cases and are complex to customize.

A 5G standalone network is ‘cloud native’, meaning that it is fully virtualized, can run on any cloud service, is designed with a microservices approach and architected to address evolving customer needs in a scalable way, while also offering inherent resilience.  This creates flexibility in an end-to-end 5G solution and allows users of the network to realise the full range of benefits of a standalone 5G network – including low latency, and advanced capabilities such as 5G network slicing, 5G security, 5G private networks, and multi access edge computing (MEC).

Spark’s 5G SA PoC Trials:

Spark New Zealand this week shared details of two 5G SA proof-of-concepts (PoCs) it carried out, and Amazon Web Services (AWS)  was heavily involved in both of them.   Spark deployed a 5G SA cloud-native core solution on AWS Snowball Edge, Amazon’s rugged, briefcase-sized edge cloud. It enabled the incumbent to create a portable storage and compute solution that can be deployed right at the edge of its 5G network, offering high throughput and low latency when and where it is needed.

The PoC also marked the first deployment of Mavenir’s 5G  SA core network solution on Snowball Edge. Using this set-up, Spark tested a video analytics tool, recording a 70 percent reduction in latency compared to its 5G non-standalone network.

Spark’s other PoC used the same Mavenir 5G SA core software on AWS Outposts, a managed service that extends AWS infrastructure, APIs and tools to customer premises. It means a customer can work within the same development environment as the AWS public cloud, but use local storage a compute resources, resulting in lower latency. Spark said it wanted to see how this architecture might improve the performance of its 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) service. By deploying cloud-native core network software on AWS Outposts, the telco said it achieved faster download speeds and reduced latency compared to non-standalone FWA.

“These proof-of-concepts create line of sight for us to deliver the enhanced benefits of standalone 5G – both to New Zealand businesses looking to innovate using 5G connectivity and multi access edge compute (MEC), and to New Zealanders accessing a network that supports applications such as instant video streaming, cloud hosted gaming and the reaction times required for driverless vehicles,” said Josh Bahlman, Spark’s lead for telco cloud, in a statement.

“The 5G standalone network opens the door on capacity and low latency to help accelerate IoT trends, such as connected cars, smart cities and IoT in the home and office,” he added.

Amazon’s heavy involvement with these PoCs suggests Spark might be seriously considering a public cloud deployment for its 5G SA network. AT&T is doing exactly that with Microsoft Azure while Dish Network is using AWS public cloud.  However, that 5G SA core network has yet to be deployed.

However, the overwhelming majority of telcos that have either deployed or committed to deploying 5G SA have also committed to rolling it out on their own telco cloudDell’Oro research director Dave Bolan recently wrote, “We found that 27 5G SA networks have been commercially deployed and only one MNO is running its 5G workloads in the public cloud. The balance chose to run their own telco clouds.”

Spark didn’t categorically state that its commercial 5G SA network will use AWS architecture, it might still go for an in-house option. At this stage, it doesn’t appear to have ruled anything in or out.

“The solutions offered by AWS and Mavenir provide an opportunity to test and learn by leveraging cloud-native solutions and multi access edge compute services optimised for 5G. Testing the technology in this way allows us to identify the optimal combination of vendors and solutions to deliver the benefits we want to achieve,” Bahlman said. “We have further proof-of-concepts underway as we work to bring relevant use cases specific to New Zealand’s local requirements.”

This is Mavenir’s first global edge deployment on Snowball Edge, and using such a device “allowed Spark to create a highly portable edge solution that could literally fit into a suitcase – to process and store data close to where it’s generated, enabling low latency and real time responsiveness”, said Spark.

The company said: “This is the first New Zealand mobile network deployment on AWS Outposts. Testing a wireless broadband service on this proof of concept showed faster download speeds and reduced latency when compared to pre-deployment results, providing a better experience for Spark’s wireless broadband customers.”

Mavenir’s president of core networks, Ashok Khuntia, said: “Our cloud-based network solution offers flexibility and advanced capabilities such as network slicing to enable efficiencies in overall service design and deployment times to accelerate trials and service rollouts.”


Spark calls upon AWS and Mavenir for 5G SA trial



Ericsson and Nokia demonstrate 5G Network Slicing on Google Pixel 6 Pro phones running Android 13 mobile OS

In separate announcements today, Ericsson and Nokia stated they had completed 5G Network Slicing trials with Google on Pixel 6 Pro smart phones running the Android 13 mobile OS [1.].

Network Slicing is perhaps the most highly touted benefits of 5G, but its commercial realization is taking much longer than most of the 5G cheerleaders expected.  That is because Network Slicing, like all 5G features, can only be realized on a 5G standalone (SA) network, very few of which have been deployed by wireless network operators.  Network slicing software must be resident in the 5G SA Core network and the 5G endpoint device, in this case the Google Pixel 6 Pro smartphone.

Note 1.  On August 15, 2022, Google released Android 13 -the latest version of its mobile OS. It comes with a number of new features and improvements, as well as offers better security and performance fixes.  However, it’s implementation on smartphones will be fragmented and slow according to this blog post.

For devices running Android 12 or higher, Android provides support for 5G Network Slicing, the use of network virtualization to divide single network connections into multiple distinct virtual connections that provide different amounts of resources to different types of traffic. 5G network slicing allows network operators to dedicate a portion of the network to providing specific features for a particular segment of customers. Android 12 introduces the following 5G enterprise network slicing capabilities, which network operators can provide to their enterprise clients.

Android 12 introduces support for 5G network slicing through additions to the telephony codebase in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and the Tethering module to incorporate existing connectivity APIs that are required for network slicing.

Here’s a functional block diagram depicting 5G network slicing architecture in AOSP:

5G network slicing architecture in AOSP

Image Credit: Android Open Source Project

1.  Ericsson and Google demonstrated support on Ericsson network infrastructure for multiple slices on a single device running Android 13, supporting both enterprise (work profile) and consumer applications. In addition, for the first time, a slice for carrier branded services will allow communications service providers (CSP) to provide extra flexibility for customized offerings and capabilities. A single device can make use of multiple slices, which are used according to the on-device user profiles and network policies defined at the CSP level.

The results were achieved in an Interoperability Device Testing (IODT) environment on Google Pixel 6 (Pro) devices using Android 13. The new release sees an expansion of the capabilities for enterprises assigning network slicing to applications through User Equipment Route Selection Policy (URSP ) rules, which is the feature that enables one device using Android to connect to multiple network slices simultaneously.  

Two different types of slices were made available on a device’s consumer profile, apart from the default mobile broadband (MBB) slice. App developers can now request what connectivity category (latency or bandwidth) their app will need and then an appropriate slice, whose characteristics are defined by the mobile network, will be selected. In this way either latency or bandwidth can be prioritized, according to the app’s requirements. For example, the app could use a low-latency slice that has been pre-defined by the mobile network for online gaming, or a pre-defined high-bandwidth slice to stream or take part in high-definition video calling. 

In an expansion of the network slicing support offered by Android 12, Android 13 will also allow for up to five enterprise-defined slices to be used by the device’s work profile. In situations where no USRP rules are available, carriers can configure their network so traffic from work profile apps can revert to a pre-configured enterprise APN (Access Point Name) connection – meaning the device will always keep a separate mobile data connection for enterprise- related traffic even if the network does not support URSP delivery. 

Monica Zethzon, Head of Solution Area Packet Core at Ericsson said: “As carriers and enterprises seek a return on their investment in 5G networks, the ability to provide for a wide and varied selection of use cases is of crucial importance. Communications Service Providers and enterprises who can offer customers the flexibility to take advantage of tailored network slices for both work and personal profiles on a single Android device are opening up a vast reserve of different uses of those devices. By confirming that the new network slicing capabilities offered by Android 13 will work fully with Ericsson network technology, we are marking a significant step forward in helping the full mobile ecosystem realize the true value of 5G.”  

Ericsson and partners have delivered multiple pioneering network slicing projects using the Android 12 device ecosystem. In July, Telefonica and Ericsson announced a breakthrough in end-to-end, automated network slicing in 5G Standalone mode.  

2.  Nokia and Google announced that they have successfully trialed innovative network slice selection functionality on 4G/5G networks using UE Route Selection Policy (URSP) [2.] technology and Google Pixel 6 (Pro) phones running Android 13. Once deployed, the solution will enable operators to provide new 5G network slicing services and enhance the customer application experience of devices with Android 13. Specifically, URSP capabilities enable a smartphone to connect to multiple network slices simultaneously via different enterprise and consumer applications depending on a subscriber’s specific requirements.  The trial, which took place at Nokia’s network slicing development center in Tampere, Finland, also included LTE-5G New Radio slice interworking functionality. This will enable operators to maximally utilize existing network assets such as spectrum and coverage.

Note 2. User Equipment Route Selection (URSP) is the feature that enables one device using Android to connect to multiple network slices simultaneously.  It’s a feature that both Nokia and Google are supporting.

URSP capabilities extend network slicing to new types of applications and use cases, allowing network slices to be tailored based on network performance, traffic routing, latency, and security. For example, an enterprise customer could send business-sensitive information using a secure and high-performing network slice while participating in a video call using another slice at the same time. Additionally, consumers could receive personalized network slicing services for example for cloud gaming or high-quality video streaming. The URSP-based network slicing solution is also compatible with Nokia’s new 5G radio resource allocation mechanisms as well as slice continuity capabilities over 4G and 5G networks.

The trial was conducted using Nokia’s end-to-end 4G/5G network slicing product portfolio across RAN-transport-core as well as related control and management systems. The trial included 5G network slice selection and connectivity based on enterprise and consumer application categories as well as 5G NR-LTE slice interworking functionalities.

Nokia is the industry leader in 4G/5G network slicing and was the first to demonstrate 4G/5G network slicing across RAN-Transport-Core with management and assurance. Nokia’s network slicing solution supports all LTE, 5G NSA, and 5G SA devices, enabling mobile operators to utilize a huge device ecosystem and provide slice continuity over 4G and 5G.

Nokia has carried out several live network deployments and trials with Nokia’s global customer base including deployments of new slicing capabilities such as Edge Slicing in Virtual Private Networks, LTE-NSA-SA end-to-end network slicing, Fixed Wireless Access slicing, Sliced Private Wireless as well as Slice Management Automation and Orchestration.

Ari Kynäslahti, Head of Strategy and Technology at Nokia Mobile Networks, said: “New application-based URSP slicing solutions widen operator’s 5G network business opportunities. We are excited to develop and test new standards-based URSP technologies with Android that will ensure that our customers can provide leading-edge enterprise and consumer services using Android devices and Nokia’s 4G/5G networks.”


Nokia AirScale

Automated network slicing

5G Edge Slicing | Nokia

Network slicing explained



  • Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, which run on Android 12, are the first two devices certified on Rogers 5G SA network in Canada, which was deployed in October 2021.  However, 5G network slicing hasn’t been announced yet.
  • Telia deployed a commercial 5G standalone network in Finland using gear from Nokia and the operator highlighted its ability to introduce network slicing now that it has a 5G SA core.
  • OPPO, a Chinese consumer electronics and mobile communications company headquartered in Dongguan, Guangdong, recently demonstrated the pre-commercial 5G enterprise network slicing product at its 5G Communications Lab in collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm.  OPPO has been conducting research and development in 5G network slicing together with network operators and other partners for a number of years now.
  • Earlier this month, Nokia and Safaricom completed Africa’s first Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) 5G network slicing trial.


Network Slicing and 5G: Why it’s important, ITU-T SG 13 work, related IEEE ComSoc paper abstracts/overviews

Nokia and Safaricom complete Africa’s first Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) 5G network slicing trial

Casa Systems and Google Cloud strengthen partnership to progress cloud-native 5G SA core, MEC, and mobile private networks

Andover, MA based Casa Systems [1.] today announced a strategic technology and distribution partnership with Google Cloud to further advance and differentiate Casa Systems and Google Cloud’s integrated cloud native software and service offerings. The partnership  provides for formalized and coordinated global sales, marketing, and support engagement, whereby Casa Systems and Google Cloud will offer Communication Service Providers (CSPs) and major enterprises integrated Google Cloud-Casa Systems solutions for cloud-native 5G core, 5G SA multi-access edge computing (MEC), and enterprise mobile private network use cases.  It’s yet another partnership between a telecom company and a cloud service provider (e.g. AWS, Azure are the other two) to produce cloud native services and software.

This new partnership enables Google Cloud and Casa Systems’ technical teams to engage deeply with one another to enable the seamless integration of Casa Systems’ cloud-native software solutions and network functions with Google Cloud, for best-in-class solution offerings with optimized ease-of-use and support for telecom and enterprise customers. Furthermore, Casa Systems and Google Cloud will also collaborate on the development of unique, new features and capabilities to provide competitive differentiation for the combined Google Cloud – Casa Systems solution offering. Additionally, this partnership provides the companies with a foundation on which to build more tightly coordinated and integrated sales efforts between Casa Systems and Google Cloud sales teams globally.

“We are delighted to formalize our partnership with Google Cloud and more quickly drive the adoption of our cloud-native 5G Core and 5G SA MEC solutions, as well as our other software solutions,” said Jerry Guo, Chief Executive Officer at Casa Systems. “This partnership provides the foundation for Casa Systems and Google Cloud’s continued collaboration, ensuring we remain at the cutting edge with our cloud-native, differentiated software solutions, and that the products and services we offer our customers are best-in-class and can be efficiently brought to market globally. We look forward to working with Google Cloud to develop and deliver the solutions customers need to succeed in the cloud, and to a long and mutually beneficial partnership.”

“We are pleased to formalize our relationship with Casa Systems with the announcement of this multifaceted strategic partnership,” said Amol Phadke, managing director and general manager, Global Telecom Industry, Google Cloud. “We have been working with Casa Systems for over two years and believe that they have a great cloud-native 5G software technology platform and team, and that they are a new leader in the cloud-native 5G market segment. The partnership will enable a much wider availability of premium solutions and services for our mutual telecommunications and enterprise customers and prospects.”

Casa also partnered with Google Cloud last year to integrate its 5G SA core with a hyperscaler public cloud, in order to deliver ultra-low latency applications.

Note 1. Casa Systems, Inc. delivers the core-to-customer building blocks to speed 5G transformation with future-proof solutions and cutting-edge bandwidth for all access types. In today’s increasingly personalized world, Casa Systems creates disruptive architectures built specifically to meet the needs of service provider networks. Our suite of open, cloud-native network solutions unlocks new ways for service providers to build networks without boundaries and maximizes revenue-generating capabilities. Commercially deployed in more than 70 countries, Casa Systems serves over 475 Tier 1 and regional service providers worldwide. For more information, please visit

Image Courtesy of Casa Systems



Global Data: Wireless telcos don’t know how to market 5G SA

A study by leading data and analytics company GlobalData reveals that network operators don’t seem to know how to market this new phase of the technology to their customers.  The study by GlobalData Technology was a July 2022 audit of around 30  standalone 5G (5G SA)  commercial deployments worldwide.

The conclusion was that  although operators are keen to promote the adoption of  5G SA in general marketing messages—largely focusing on the improved network quality and capabilities for enterprises—the number of 5G SA references within consumer 5G service portfolios are few and far between.  GlobalData found “many operators marketed  5G SA very similarly to how operators have been marketing non-standard 5G for years,” which itself has yet to be a financial success for wireless telcos.

Emma Mohr-McClune, Service Director at GlobalData, comments: “The lack of effective standalone 5G promotion is a real problem for the future of 5G monetization. Standalone 5G will be a vital requirement for a lot of the more exciting 5G use cases, from autonomous devices to commercial augmented and virtual reality.”

The research found that there were a few exceptional cases of standalone 5G marketing and branding, but many operators marketed standalone 5G very similarly to how operators have been marketing non-standard 5G for years.

Mohr-McClune continues: “The few exceptional cases—in Singapore, but also in Germany and elsewhere—make for fascinating study. In the future, we could see more operators position standalone 5G as greener, safer and more reliable than future generations of wireless technology, but the current industry is still waiting for signature use cases to give the upgrade meaning to consumers. In the meantime, we believe that most operators will focus on marketing the technology to the business sector, where there are more immediate and distinctive use cases emerging.

“In the Enterprise sector, it’s an entirely different story. Standalone 5G enables enterprises to set up their own, closed Private 5G networks, to better manage the connectivity in ultra-connected working set-ups, such as ports and mines – or even ‘slice’ the network for prioritized levels of service for mission-critical operations. The benefits, use cases and ROI are far clearer. But in selling Standalone 5G to consumers, operators are going to have to make sure they don’t repeat the same promises they spun out for non-standalone 5G, or risk appearing to contradict themselves.

The GlobalData report echoed one recently put forth by LightCounting, which tied the tepid deployment pace of 5G SA networks to the industry’s inability to produce compelling use and business cases.

The firm noted that ongoing “headwinds” have limited the deployment of 5G SA networks to just 20 at the end of last year. This was just 10% of the 200 5G non-standalone (NSA) commercial networks deployed worldwide.

Those headwinds are led by “the lack of 5G business cases beyond enhanced mobile broadband combined with some network architecture issues” that continue “to inhibit 5GC SBA [5G core service-based architecture] rollouts.”

Communications service providers are just sweating their EPC/vEPC [evolved packet core/virtualized evolved packet core] assets, in such conditions, there is no rush to move to 5GC SBA,” the firm explained.

Here’s a simplified block diagram of 5G non-standalone vs 5G standalone networks:



Bouygues Telecom picks Ericsson for cloud native 5G SA core network

France’s Bouygues Telecom is setting the stage for the next phase of its 5G rollout by announcing that Ericsson will be supplying its 5G standalone (5G SA) core network.  The strategic partnership between the companies will see the deployment of the cloud-native Ericsson Dual Mode 5G Core.

The French network operator indicated that it will launch 5G SA services in 2023, including solutions supported by 5G network slicing which requires a 5G SA network.  Network slicing is a process whereby the amount of network connectivity needed for a task will be secured via a guaranteed ‘slice’ of the network – to help facilitate the broad range of expected use cases as the digitalization of France.

Sectors likely to benefit from the Ericsson-Bouygues Telecom Strategic Partnership include industry, logistics, smart transport, events and healthcare.

When fully operational, the end-to-end (spanning both Bouygues Telecom’s core and RAN networks) 5G SA network will facilitate use cases across Bouygues Telecom’s entire customer base: from individual consumer subscribers to enterprise and industry customers, and other use cases where secure high-end public, hybrid or dedicated 5G networks are needed.

Bouygues Telecom’s 5G Standalone connectivity will also use network slicing – a process whereby the amount of network connectivity needed for a task will be secured via a guaranteed ‘slice’ of the network – to help facilitate the broad range of expected use cases as the digitalization of France, and the move to the fourth industrial revolution (4IE), accelerates.

Standalone 5G will also be central to use cases involving artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and automation. Sectors likely to benefit from the Ericsson-Bouygues Telecom Strategic Partnership include industry, logistics, smart transport, events and healthcare.  Services resulting from the end-to-end 5G network strategic partnership are expected to be available from early 2023.

Network automation:  5G Core networks must be automated. Automation is required to handle the magnitude of tailor-made services and network slices that will be introduced with 5G. To manually or semi-automate all parts of the network is not feasible if SLAs are to be sustained. To keep up with latest software releases, it’s imperative to have a CI/CD mindset. The faster the latest network capabilities can be introduced, the faster new differentiating services can be rolled out and monetized.



Ericsson already provides radio access network (RAN) equipment to Bouygues Telecom. The operator had previously worked with Huawei, but was forced to explore alternative options after the nation’s government effectively banned Huawei from participating in 5G networks after 2028.

Rival operator Orange has already chosen its 5G standalone suppliers in Europe, plumping for Ericsson’s core network in Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg and Poland, and Nokia’s equivalent offering in France and Slovakia.

Iliad’s Free has selected Nokia for its 5G networks in France and Italy. (See Ericsson, Nokia at front of queue for Orange 5G contracts.)

France has not explicitly banned the use of equipment from China-based vendors such as Huawei in 5G networks.

ANSSI, France’s cybersecurity agency, set a very high bar for license authorizations in 5G and previously indicated it will not renew Huawei’s equipment licenses once they run their course.

This decision has posed a logistical and financial challenge to both Bouygues Telecom and rival SFR (Altice France), which have been heavily reliant on Huawei equipment in the past. Indeed, the operators were using Huawei equipment across about half their mobile footprint, according to data provided in 2020 by Strand Consult, a wireless telecom consulting group headed up by colleague John Strand.

In 2021, Bouygues Telecom and SFR began stripping out Huawei equipment from their networks, after unsuccessful legal efforts to challenge France’s stricter security policy for future 5G networks.  Bouygues Telecom has said it would have to remove 3,000 Huawei antennas by 2028 in areas with very high population density and that it was prohibited from using Huawei antennas for 5G in Strasbourg, Brest, Toulouse and Rennes.

In a rather curious twist, French newspaper L’Express reported last year that Free filed a case at the Paris Administrative Court against permits given to Bouygues Telecom and SFR to use Huawei 5G antennas.  Free claimed that its own request to ANSSI for clearance to use Huawei products was rejected, but Bouygues Telecom and SFR were given the greenlight, which it argued gave its two rivals an unfair advantage.

It seems that it’s not entirely clear the extent to which France’s operators might continue to use Huawei equipment in less sensitive parts of the networks in the coming years.

Meanwhile, Free is leading the charge when it comes to the deployment of 5G-enabled base stations in France. According to the latest update from Arcep, Free has over 14,400 sites compared to Bouygues Telecom’s 7,132; SFR’s 5,721; and Orange’s 3,491. Free’s sites are all in the 700Mhz/800MHz bands.


T-Mobile Launches Voice Over 5G NR using 5G SA Core Network

T-Mobile has deployed commercial Voice over 5G (VoNR, or Voice Over (5G) New Radio) service in limited areas of Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah. The Un-carrier plans to expand VoNR to many more areas this year.  Now that Standalone 5G (5G SA) is beginning to carry voice traffic with the launch of VoNR, other real 5G services, such as network slicing and security are likely to be deployed.  T-Mobile customers with Samsung Galaxy S21 5G smartphones  can take advantage of VoNR today in select areas.

“We don’t just have the leading 5G network in the country. T-Mobile is setting the pace for providers around the globe as we push the industry forward – now starting to roll out another critical service over 5G,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. “5G is already driving new levels of engagement, transforming how our customers use their smartphones and bringing unprecedented connectivity to areas that desperately need it. And it’s just going to get better thanks to the incredible T-Mobile team and our partners who are tirelessly innovating and advancing the capabilities of 5G every day.”

Standalone 5G removes the need for an underlying 4G LTE network and 4G core, so 5G can reach its true potential. In other words, it’s “pure 5G”, and T-Mobile was the first in the world to deliver it nationwide nearly two years ago.

The addition of VoNR takes T-Mobile’s standalone 5G network to the next level by enabling it to carry voice calls, keeping customers seamlessly connected to 5G. In the near-term, customers connected to VoNR will notice slightly faster call set-up times, meaning less delay between the time they dial a number and when the phone starts ringing. But VoNR is not just about a better calling experience. Most importantly, VoNR brings T-Mobile one step closer to truly unleashing its standalone 5G network because it enables advanced capabilities like network slicing that rely on a continuous connection to a 5G core.

“VoNR represents the next step in the 5G maturity journey-an application that exists and operates in a complete end-to-end 5G environment,” says Jason Leigh, research manager, 5G & Mobility at IDC. “Migrating to VoNR will be a key factor in developing new immersive app experiences that need to tap into the full bandwidth, latency and density benefits offered by a 5G standalone network.”

“The commercial launch of the VoNR service is another important step in T-Mobile’s successful 5G deployment,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson. “It demonstrates how we as partners can introduce 5G voice based on the Ericsson solution.”

“We are proud of our partnership with T-Mobile to bring the full capabilities of 5G to customers in the United States,” said Tommi Uitto, President, Nokia Mobile Networks. “Nokia’s radio and core solutions power T-Mobile’s 5G standalone network – and this VoNR deployment is a critical step forward for the new 5G voice ecosystem.”

“At Samsung, we want to give our users the best possible 5G experience on every device – and today’s announcement represents a big step forward,” said Jude Buckley, Executive Vice President, Mobile eXperience at Samsung Electronics America. “By supporting extensive integration and testing, and working alongside an industry leader like T-Mobile, we’re bringing to life all the benefits of 5G technology with the help of our Samsung Galaxy devices.”

VoNR is available for customers in parts of Portland, Ore. and Salt Lake City with the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and is expected to expand to more areas and more 5G smartphones this year including the Galaxy S22.

T-Mobile is the U.S. leader in 5G with the country’s largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network. The Un-carrier’s Extended Range 5G covers nearly everyone in the country – 315 million people across 1.8 million square miles. 225 million people nationwide are covered with super-fast Ultra Capacity 5G, and T-Mobile expects to cover 260 million in 2022 and 300 million next year.


Voice Over NR Network Architecture:

Voice Over NR network Architecture is consist of 5G RAN, 5G Core and IMS network. A high level architecture is shown below. (Only major network functions are included). This network architecture supports Service based interface using HTPP protocol.


VoNR Key Pointers:

  • VoNR rely upon IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) to manage the setup, maintenance and release or voice call connections.
  • UE PDCP should support RTP and RTCP, RoHC compression and MAC layer should support DRX
  • SIP is used for signaling procedures between the UE and IMS.
  • VoNR uses a QoS Flow with 5QI= 5  for SIP signaling messages and QoS Flow with 5QI= 1
    • QoS Flows with 5QI= 5 is non-GBR but should be treated with high priority to ensure that SIP signaling procedures are completed with minimal latency and high reliability.
    •  QoS Flow with 5QI= 1 is GBR. This QoS Flow is used to transfer the speech packets after connection establishment
  • gNB uses RLC-AM mode DRB for SIP signaling and RLC-UM mode for Voice Traffic (RTP) DRBs
  • 3GPP has recommended  ‘Enhanced Voice Services’ (EVS) codecs  for 5G
    • EVS codec supports a range of sampling frequencies to capture a range of audio bandwidths.
    • These sampling frequencies are categorized as Narrowband, Wideband, Super Wideband and Full band.
  • VoNR UE provides capability information during the NAS: Registration procedure with IE ‘ UE’s Usage Setting’ indicates that the higher layers of the UE support the IMS Voice service.
  • The AMF can use the UE Capability Request to get UE’s support for IMS Voice services. gNB can get UE Capability with RRC: UE Capability Enquiry and UE Capability response to the UE.  The UE indicates its support for IMS voice service with following IEs
      • ims-VoiceOverNR-FR1-r15: This field indicates whether the UE supports IMS voice over NR FR1
      • ims-VoiceOverNR-FR2-r15: This field indicates whether the UE supports IMS voice over NR FR2
      • within feature set support IE ims-Parameters: ims-ParametersFRX-Diff voiceOverNR : supported


GSM: VoNR progresses, but requires 5G SA core network

Samsung’s Voice over 5G NR (VoNR) Now Available on M1’s 5G SA Network



STC launches first 5G standalone (SA) core network in Bahrain via Huawei

STC Bahrain [1.] has announced the launch of the first 5G standalone (SA) core network in the kingdom using Huawei network equipment.  This 5G SA network will enable new communication services for consumers and enterprises.  Examples include high-resolution video, VR, AR, multimedia and online data communication.

The 5G standalone network will support the three ITU-R 5G Use Cases — enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) and Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) services.  It will enable services in the public security, transportation, banking, consumer services, manufacturing, petroleum, port, healthcare and education sectors, among others.

5G SA supports multi-access edge computing (MEC) and uplink-centric broadband connectivity for both B2B and B2C services, STC said.

The digital advancements are considered a significant stepping stone for stc Bahrain, ensuring new economic opportunities and efficiencies for communication services in the Kingdom.
Commenting on the deployment, STC CEO Nezar Banabeela said: “stc Bahrain has consistently been at the forefront of pushing latest technologies beyond just mere enhancements to approaching capabilities closer to full fledge 5G.”
“Through this achievement, we are laying the foundation for further milestones, service availability and inclusivity of the fundamental capabilities that is included in stc Bahrain network to cover all the forecasted 5G network use cases,” he stated.
Huawei Bahrain CEO Ethan Sunxiaofei said: “We are dedicated to providing our strategic partner stc Bahrain with the latest innovative 5G networks technology.”
“As it will form the future networks that relies on a combination of mainstream and alternative technologies across efficient spectrum use together with AI and Cloud,” he added.

 STC and Zain have deployed commercial 5G SA networks in Saudi Arabia, while STC has also launched 5G SA in Kuwait.

Note 1.  STC Bahrain is a telecommunications service provider based in Bahrain. It is owned by the Saudi Telecom Company and started its commercial service in March 2010. The company is headquartered in Manama, Bahrain.


Viavi’s State of 5G report finds 1,947 5G cities (635 new) -mostly NSA- at end of 2021

As of end-December, the number of cities worldwide with 5G networks was 1,947 , with 635 new cities added in 2021, according to the latest Viavi Solutions report ‘The State of 5G.’

By the end of January 2022, 72 countries had 5G networks, with Argentina, Bhutan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Malta and Mauritius coming online in the second half of 2021.

Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) passed Asia Pacific including Greater China (APAC), to become the region with the most 5G cities, at 839. APAC has 689 5G cities and the Americas has 419.

China has the most 5G cities (356), ahead of the US (296) and the Philippines (98).  However, more than half of China’s so called 5G subscribers are on 4G networks.  Robert Clark of Light Reading wrote: “China has tried to kick-start 5G with low prices, with the result that it has a huge population of 5G subscribers on 4G networks. Less than half of China Mobile’s 467 million 5G subs are actually using 5G – a ratio that has remained constant for the past year.”

Most 5G networks deployed are Non-Standalone (NSA) networks.  There are only 24 5G Standalone (SA) networks.  It is widely considered that many of the next-generation use cases and monetization models associated with 5G, beyond enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) will only be possible when Standalone 5G networks built on new 5G core networks are in place.

The State of 5G also highlights the growing Open RAN ecosystem, combining mobile operators as well as software and infrastructure vendors, seeking to develop an open, virtualized Radio Access Network (RAN) with embedded Artificial Intelligence (AI) control. As of March 2022, 64 operators have publicly announced their participation in the development of Open RAN networks. This breaks down to 23 live deployments of Open RAN networks, 34 in the trial phase with a further seven operators that have publicly announced they are in the pre-trial phase.

As of March 2022, 64 operators publicly announced their participation in the development of Open RAN networks, of which 23 were live deployments, 34 in the trial phase and another 7 operators in the pre-trial phase.

“5G continued to expand, despite the headwinds of a global pandemic,” said Sameh Yamany, CTO, VIAVI Solutions. “What comes next in 5G is the reinforcement of networks. This will take a couple of forms. Firstly, we expect to see more Standalone 5G networks, which will deliver on much of the promise of 5G, both for the operator and for the wider ecosystem of users. And secondly, we expect to see Open RAN continue its rapid development and start to become a de facto standard. VIAVI will continue to play a central role in testing those new networks as they are built and expanded.”