Ericsson extends 5G alliance with two Korean operators

Ericsson has announced two 5G-related deals with Korean operators – it will support KT’s nationwide commercial roll-out over the coming year, and it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SK Telecom to work on cloud-native core network technology and architecture.

The three-year MoU aims to accelerate development of fully programmable and agile 5G platforms. Peo Lehto, head of solution line packet core at Ericsson, said: “A cloud-native microservices architecture gives simplified and more granular software lifecycle management, higher degrees of automation, and more robust operations based on common mechanisms like container-based lightweight virtualization and orchestration such as Kubernetes.”

He said the SKT project aims to “relieve requirements on the infrastructure by allowing better handling of multiple failures, better infrastructure utilization with more flexible and granular scaling, as well as increased rate of innovation with independent lifecycles and in-service software upgrade for each service”.

Jong-kwan Park, head of the MNO’s 5GX Labs, said the cooperation would play an important role in SK Telecom’s plan to migrate to 5G NR Standalone, having kicked off its 5G roll-out, like most operators, with a Non-Standalone (NSA) network (which uses the LTE core).

The deal with KT has more short term and guaranteed commercial returns. Ericsson will supply its 5G NR hardware and software for the operator’s 3.5 GHz NSA network, as it aims to deliver enhanced mobile broadband services from next month.