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VimpelCom Hires ZTE to Establish Virtual Mobile Network in Asia

By Casey Houser February 29, 2016

VimpelCom, an international telecommunications company, is aiming high for 2016. The company’s most recent announcement outlines its goal of establishing a virtual network infrastructure in five Asian countries by the end of the year.

It will begin this month in Kyrgyzstan and Laos and plans to release similar networks in Armenia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in later months. VimpelCom has signed an arrangement with ZTE Corporation to build the virtual infrastructure necessary to handle user connections. All told, the networks will support 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile service for a number of customers in each country listed above.

The use of virtualized network functions (NFV) here is expected to make deployment of the networks and subsequent users’ services cheaper and easier than ever before. Yogesh Malik, the group chief technology officer at VimpelCom, called this “instant innovation” and said that the use of NFV will help transform the company’s networks to become more agile and future-proof.

“We are convinced that virtualization represents the new way forward for the industry,” Malik said about his company’s vision. “The reinvention of the current network to one that is software-driven and asset-light plays an important part in our digital transformation and is a leap forward in bringing the digital world to each and every customer as they navigate their digital lives.”

ZTE is expected to deploy its virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) as the new network environment in this multi-country project. The virtualization of EPC – the core network of the mobile LTE system – runs everything in software. This allows operators to quickly build a mobile infrastructure, such as what VimpelCom is doing, and furthermore gives them the opportunity to build and launch new user services at a quick pace. Users can sign up for services online and allow the operator’s underlying software to automatically make changes to their accounts. Intervention to configure hardware for any changes is not necessary because the software is completely capable.

ZTE has shown that its own packet core has seen a number of breakthroughs in new countries and has captured the loyalty of many telecoms. It has passed third-party evaluation tests that measure its effectiveness and has passed those tests to the satisfaction of ZTE and its clients. This past record of success may have spurred VimpelCom to take that vEPC into Asia for the construction of new networks. The evolution of VimpelCom’s existing mobile services, which now rely on legacy architecture, should benefit its success as a telecom and its customers who show an increasing need for high-speed data and voice.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

Contributing Writer

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