Alcatel-Lucent is all set to launch its virtualized radio network controller in Etisalat Group ‘s access network in both UAE and Sri Lanka.
The deployment, apart from being the first of its kind in both countries will also enable Etisalat to benefit from the improved flexibility and efficiency in its radio access network (RAN) operations afforded by network functions virtualization, which in turn would result in the lowering of operational costs while meeting escalating demand for data from its subscribers.
Under the network modernization program carried out by Etisalat , Alcatel-Lucent will initially deploy the 9771 Wireless Cloud Element Radio Network Controller (WCE) in Etisalat’s network in the UAE, followed by Sri Lanka within the year. Etisalat became the first operator to deploy the WCE platform, in Mobily’s Saudi Arabia network earlier this year. Etisalat is one of the largest telecommunications operators in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, operating in 18 countries and this will set the stage for further cooperation between the organization and Alcatel-Lucent on NFV.
In addition to the virtual Radio Network Controller, Alcatel-Lucent has already announced virtualization of a wide range of network functions, including evolved packet core, IMS, service routing and Content Delivery Network. Its NFV leadership is underpinned by participation in over 65 customer virtualization projects and over five years of development of the CloudBand 2.0 NFV platform and its extensive Nuage Networks SDN capabilities, which further build on its strategy of delivering a complete range of networking solutions for a software-driven world.
Hatem Bamatraf, who is CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Etisalat Group said that they are focused on meeting the growing and diverse data demands of customers in a very innovative and efficient way. Following the successful deployment of the WCE in the Mobily network in Saudi Arabia and that their work will continuewith Alcatel-Lucent and leverage its cloud expertise to continue to deliver the high performance our customers expect even as their demands grow further.”
The WCE offers up to 25% OPEX savings compared to traditional RNCs. It uses virtualization technology to enable hardware and software independencies, allowing multiple applications to be hosted and shared by available hardware resources to offer unmatched scalability, flexibility and performance.
Alcatel-Lucent is the first and only vendor to commercially deploy a virtualized radio access network (vRAN) controller in a commercial mobile network.