Affirmed Dramatically Accelerates Three’s Network Transformation
At MWC 2018 in Barcelona, we were thrilled to announce that Three UK – one of the most disruptive players in the telecom industry – has selected Affirmed’s cloud-based Service Awareness, GiLAN services, and virtual probe and analytics as part of a network transformation to dramatically accelerate creation and delivery of new services and experiences.
Three UK has operations in 11 countries, more than 4,400 employees, and 324 retail stores. “Three” burst onto the scene with one of the industry’s first “all you can eat” data plans and has been a disruptive force ever since, now covering 99% of the UK’s population and carrying more than 32% of the country’s mobile data traffic.
Three UK chose Affirmed to supply subscriber-centric service and control capabilities complemented by its vProbe real time intelligence and service assurance. The company is now able to more quickly deliver new service experiences more using Affirmed’s application-based charging, proxy services, TCP optimization, video optimization, security services, and more. Three expects to cut its network complexity substantially by combining multiple network functions on a single platform.
Giving customers more freedom—and handling the data explosion that comes with it
Bryn Jones, CTO of Three UK, describes his company’s mission as “giving our customers the freedom to use the mobile internet anytime anywhere” by emphasizing all-you-can-eat services and free roaming. Jones expects data traffic to grow 30% per year, and Three has decided NFV is the right approach to a new architecture.
“With data growing so fast, operators can no longer take nine months to put hardware in to provide additional capacity,” says Jones. “NFV allows us to grow and scale up faster. A distributed NFV solution and distributed network prepares us to manage the data explosion that is coming with 5G. We can think about how to distribute our network to handle all that new data without creating pinch points.”
Breaking down old paradigms and providing new architectural models
“To provide great experience you have to know the experience [customers] are getting, including service level, speeds, and more. Controlling and understanding the user plane data crossing the network helps us know how to use the network in the right way to provide users with the best experience.”
“Very few people can provide all the services you need to control your network in the NFV space,” Jones points out. “You need to understand orchestration, what happens when you spin up a new service, and how your probes and monitoring systems must adapt to the new service. Affirmed’s deep expertise is valuable for us. Affirmed analytics in the network will be crucial in getting the data we require and acting on policies we want to put back into the network.”
Affirmed’s Network Function Virtualization (NFV)
Affirmed’s Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is the foundation for achieving efficient carrier-grade solutions. A software-based platform running on standard multi-core hardware, NFV is a key technology allowing telecom operators to move towards 5G with core and edge cloud computing and network slicing, and offers an agile, fast and more efficient model that best serves the operators’ subscribers.