Mavenir powers Deutsche Telekom's 5G standalone core

Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Mavenir on Tuesday announced the successful delivery and deployment of Mavenir’s cloud-native 5G core for Deutsche Telekom in Germany.

Specifically, Deutsche Telekom selected Mavenir as the supplier for software applications to run on its defined hardware and the existing Kubernetes-based platform of its German business, ensuring an open architecture approach.

The move is not exactly coming out of the blue when considering Mavenir’s past experience with DT.

Mavenir has been at the forefront of the open Radio Access Network (RAN) movement, as has DT. But this marks the first deployment completed in Germany since Mavenir was selected as one of the preferred Converged Packet Core vendors for Deutsche Telekom Group. The German operator also uses Mavenir’s IMS solution in its network. 

As part of the deployment process, the Converged Packet Core was integrated with Deutsch Telekom’s existing multi-vendor access network and other system components.

DT is dealing with a new 5G SA core and an existing 4G/5G core; both will converge in the future, explained Stephan Broszio of DT’s Corporate Communications department.

For the time being, Ericsson is DT’s main partner in the 4G/5G core network. In 2019, DT decided to phase out Chinese vendors, namely Huawei. For the new 5G SA core, Mavenir comes in and as DT is pursuing a multi-vendor strategy, this means the new 5G SA core is built together with other U.S. and European partners as well, Broszio said.

DT isn’t saying exactly when it’s going to commercially launch its 5G SA network, but it’s already doing friendly user trials. For example, on Tuesday, for the first time in Germany, DT and RTL Deutschland broadcast live TV content via the 5G SA network.

The spokesman reiterated that DT will launch 5G SA as soon as there’s broad customer benefit and enough devices that support 5G SA.

Cloud-native advantages

The cloud-native infrastructure is a new direction for the telecom industry, one that has been implemented in the IT world for a long time.

The benefits of a cloud-native solution for operators include reduced total operating costs and flexibility in introducing new services, according to Ashok Khuntia, president of Core Networks at Mavenir.

The savings come from opex and capex reductions, he said. For example, if an operator wants to shut down 80% of its servers during night-time hours when nothing much is happening on the network, it could do that to save on power consumption. Or, the operator could keep it running and use the servers for other functions.

Every vendor, including Mavenir, makes claims about being cloud-native, but it’s not black or white, he said. “It’s kind of a gray area,” and operators need to have or develop the expertise to identify what’s really cloud-native to determine who’s offering the best products.

“The first challenge for the operators is to understand what is real and what is not, which vendor is truly cloud-native,” he said.

Besides providing the 5G core network functions, Mavenir is also involved in the end-to-end testing and integration with DT, he said. That requires working with the gNode Bs deployed by other vendors and devices from the big handset suppliers.

“We have been working very closely” with DT nationwide in the planning, deployment and management of the SA network, he said.