YOU ARE AT:5GTelefonica taps IBM for 5G core network build

Telefonica taps IBM for 5G core network build

Spanish telco recruits IBM Global Business Services for new 5G core built on opens standards 

IBM announced Thursday that Telefonica has awarded it a multi-year contract to develop the Spanish telco’s new cloud-based 5G core network platform, dubbed UNICA Next. The new 5G core will be built using IBM Cloud Pak for network automation, Red Hat OpenShift, and Juniper Networks Apstra and QFX technology. 

“Building out the UNICA Next platform with its next-generation network architecture shows how important it is to build the infrastructure now to support the deployment of 5G. 5G has the potential to support thousands of use cases and applications for consumers and enterprises in all industries,” said Telefonica’s director of strategy, network and IT development, Javier Gutierrez.

The collaboration for the development of Telefonica’s new 5G core network will occur an ocean apart. IBM’s Global Telco Solutions lab in Coppell, Texas will work with Telefonica’s Network Cloud Lab in Madrid. The companies will manage ongoing lifecycle upgrades and refinements to the UNICA Next platform.

“We are energized by the opportunity to enable Telefonica and all our clients to modernize their networks and enable new revenue-generating services that deliver tremendous value to consumer and enterprise customers,” said Steve Canepa, managing director, IBM Global Communications Sector.

Telefonica’s 5G buildout plans continue marching forward in Spain. Telefonica announced in July that it awarded Nokia and Ericsson contracts to build out its 5G standalone (SA) radio networks across Spain. It’s a significant win for IBM’s Cloud for Communications hybrid cloud architecture, which the company first announced in 2020. The company gathered 35 ecosystem partners to create the platform to help telcos accelerate the transition to 5G. 

Telefonica continues to support open networking standards. Earlier this month Telefonica announced an agreement with NEC to build Open RAN trials in Spain, Germany, the U.K and Brazil, using NEC’s 5G massive MIMO Radio Units (RUs). IBM and Telefonica are also frequent collaborators. In Argentina IBM and Telefonica brand Moviestar have an OpenRAN proof of concept running in Puerto Madryn. IBM is working with Telefonica on a new blockchain platform  to optimize supply chains and traceability.


Peter Cohen
Peter is a Technology Editor for RCR Wireless News whose coverage areas include hyperscalers, telco cloud, edge computing, and data centers. Before joining RCR, Peter was a freelance writer with a background in tech journalism. He worked as a senior editor for Macworld magazine, editor at and has contributed to many other tech publications. He and his family live in Massachusetts.

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