Vodafone Group has entered into a software licensing agreement with NYSE-listed VMware that will enable the former to access a range of the technology vendor's products.
Vodafone Group has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 49 more and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.
''Virtualised, cloud-native network functions are a critical element of our Group-wide program as we continue to transform how we build, operate and evolve our networks and services,'' said Fran Heeran, Vodafone Group's head of network virtualisation.
''Reducing the time and cost to deploy and operate services, utilising automation and convergence in standardised cloud environments for our network and IT businesses is a critical part of our technology and operational transformation strategy,'' he added.
As part of that agreement, VMware will be one of the vendors to support the operator's global roll out of Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) to accelerate its delivery of future products and services in a rapid, cost-efficient manner.
Software-defined virtualised platforms and services are an important part of the plans for service providers as they evolve their mobile networks towards the introduction of 5G in around 2020.
Vodafone will deploy VMware vCloud NFV as part of its group-wide transformation program utilizing NFV and software defined networking technologies across applications and networks. Vodafone will also receive Carrier-Grade Support, a new VMware offering to support the implementation of new software.
VMware vCloud NFV will provide Vodafone with an ETSI-compliant, modular, multi-tenant NFV platform that supports choice in virtual infrastructure managers (VMware and OpenStack).
The vCloud NFV platform combines a highly available, carrier-grade NFV infrastructure with Day 2 operations management and service assurance capabilities.
Customers such as Vodafone are able to roll out multiple applications on a common NFV infrastructure, rather than building new platforms for each innovative service.
The VMware-based virtualized infrastructure including VMware vSphere and VMware NSX will also provide a common architecture spanning network and IT operations, further improving operational efficiencies and overall economics.
Vodafone will have the flexibility to choose from a number of certified VMware Ready for NFV virtual network functions, providing confidence in pre-tested and pre-certified solutions that can reduce deployment risk.
''Our vCloud NFV platform is an agile and flexible virtualised infrastructure platform.
Combined with Carrier-Grade Support, this will provide Vodafone with an open platform for new service development today, with an architecture that will support 5G deployments in the future,'' said Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president and general manager, Telco Group at VMware.