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BT investing in cloud and virtualization as 5G rolls out

BT taps Juniper for for telco cloud, Canonical for open source core

With its mobile unit EE in the early days of offering up 5G, parent company BT has recently made strategic investments that underpin the operator’s plans for a cloud-native, converged network that uses open source tools to manage mobile, fixed and Wi-Fi services.

EE in May officially launched commercial 5G services in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester with plans to expand coverage to busy port areas later this year. According to BT, it will begin offering 5G in the “autumn” in “the busiest parts of 16 U.K. cities by the end of the year.”

Back in June, Juniper announced it was selected by BT to provide network cloud infrastructure, which will support the operator’s converged services with cloud-based virtual network functions. Juniper said its products will cover “voice, mobile core and radio/access, global services, ISP, TV and iT services, as well as a host of internal applications.”

BT’s Chief Architect Neil McRae said growing demand for high-speed broadband and 5G created “the perfect opportunity to combine several discrete networks into a unified, automated infrastructure. This move to a single cloud-driven network infrastructure will enable BT to offer a wider range of services, faster and more efficiently.” He said the work with Juniper is part of “our roadmap to an automated and programmable network.”

Following on the deal with Juniper, BT on July 24 announced a deal with Canonical to use the company’s Charmed OpenStack-based virtual infrastructure manager as it transitions to a cloud core network. Continuing on the theme of converged services, BT said a cloud-based approach will help it meet customer demand for 5G and fiber-to-the-premises.

McRae called Canonical’s tools a “foundation” of BT’s cloud-native strategy for “a smart and fully converged network. Utilizing open source and best-of-breed technologies will ensure we can deliver on our convergence vision, and enable a world-leading 5G and FTTp experience for our customers.”



Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Editor-in-Chief Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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