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Telenor turns to Google Cloud for digitalization

Partnership to yield 5G, IoT, edge computing efforts

Norwegian telco Telenor announced Monday a strategic digitalization partnership with Google Cloud that ranges from network function virtualization efforts to new 5G revenue opportunities. Telenor serves more than 180 million customers in markets in Scandinavia and Asia. The businesses will use the new platform to offer new emerging 5G products and services, like edge computing and IoT, according to a joint statement.

The state-owned telco is leaning on Google Cloud to help with its network modernization efforts as Telenor transitions to a cloud-native 5G core. Telenor said Google Cloud is helping disaggregation efforts by developing Virtual Network Functions.

Telenor is taking a multi-vendor approach with the development of its next-generation core network. This past May, it announced a partnership with Enea for 5G data management technology. Enea’s Unified Data Manager (UDM), User Data Repository (UDR) and Authentication Server Function (AUSF) are being used in Telenor’s Standalone (SA) 5G core. Enea’s solution also delivers automated end-to-end encrypted communications from the core to the edge. The system is already being trialled by the Norwegian armed forces and is “a pioneering use case of network slicing in action.”

“As the network is increasingly software-based, Telenor is exploring how to leverage Google Cloud’s expertise in data management, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI/ML), as well as the company’s infrastructure, to bring together the complimentary technologies to Telenor’s customers and society overall,” said Telenor in a statement.

Telenor plans 5G services pivot

Like many operators worldwide, Telenor is pivoting to maximize the infrastructure investment it must make in the transition to 5G. Sigve Brekke, Telenor’s CEO and president, said this helps modernize Telenor as the company pivots to offer full-stack services.

“Telenor wants to work with leaders in the tech industry and stay committed to being at the forefront of modernisation and digitalisation. As connectivity is the foundation for building trust, we believe that together we can go beyond connectivity to enhance our offering to our customers with new and innovative solutions, whilst improving the overall experience of our current portfolio,” said Brekke.

Telenor Sweden lit up Non Standalone (NSA) 5G in 2020 in Central Stockholm, a few months after Telia did the same. The company expects to build out 99% coverage by 2023. The two businesses also run a joint partnership called TT-Network. TT-Network launched 5G in Denmark in September 2020 and also participated in a 5G spectrum auction earlier this year, securing frequencies in the 1.5 GHz MHz, 2.1 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands. 

The Danish Energy Authority said it would net DKK 2.076 billion ($336 million) in the auction, with guarantees from participants that they will cover 60% of the population by the end of 2023 and 75% by the end of 2025, using the 3.5 GHz frequency band.

ABOUT AUTHOR

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 iMore.com and has contributed to many other tech publications. He and his family live in Massachusetts.

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