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Affirmed Helps Softbank Deliver IoT Services and Mobile Connectivity to Major Japanese Enterprises

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments
Affirmed’s Mobile Content Cloud Provides a Cost-Effective, Scalable, Flexible IoT Services Solution

One of our most exciting announcements at MWC 2018 in Barcelona involved our work with Japanese telecommunications service provider Softbank – one of the world’s largest and most innovative service providers. Softbank chose Affirmed Networks’ Mobile Content Cloud to deliver Internet of Things (IoT) services and mobile connectivity to their enterprise customers, which include some of Japan’s most respected enterprise brands.

As the connected world continues to expand, the ability of service providers to grow effectively can be limited by inflexible, legacy networks. Softbank selected Affirmed Networks due to our inherent flexibility and our inherent support for 5G. In addition to enabling the transition to 5G, Affirmed’s ability to deliver integrated analytics, network slicing and service automation for the creation and delivery of value added service were also key factors in their decision.

Softbank provides Japan’s largest enterprises with mobile communication, fixed-line communication and Internet connection services. To meet the burgeoning needs of its customers, the company plans to soon deliver new services such as connected car and smart meter applications that will allow them to better serve their customers and will open lucrative new revenue streams.

In announcing Softbank’s selection, Sadahiro Sato, senior vice president at SoftBank, cited “the proliferation of connected devices and the industry’s shift to virtualized networks” as creating a real opportunity for Softbank to deliver IoT and M2M services to its enterprise customers. “With Affirmed Networks’ proven platform,” Sato said, “we have the flexibility to deliver services tailored to the needs of each enterprise quickly and easily over a common network infrastructure.”

Affirmed Brings NFV to Three UK to Transform the Mobile Customer Experience

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments
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.

Learn more about how Three UK is leveraging Affirmed Networks’ NFV to provide superior customer experience.

“Can-du:” Affirmed Provides Virtualized Mobile Core Network to Innovative UAE Telecom Service Provider

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

At MWC 2018 in Barcelona, Affirmed Networks was proud to announce our selection by du, a UAE-based telecommunications service provider from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC).  du has us to provide an industry-leading 3GPP core network based on our Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) mobile core, enabling a wide range of smart city use cases.

As Mohammed Shanableh, co-founder of Affirmed, puts it, “It’s not just a tactical point solution. Du wanted a software-based model for the end-to-end service, not just the core. They didn’t think only about an IOT vertical. The model applies to different traffic types, so they are building for the future. Smart cities is the trigger point to start the activity, but they’ve thought about the intelligence in software, subscriber management, all the things around the sensors and devices, and all verticals.”

Selecting Affirmed for “Softwarization”
“Can-du:” Affirmed Provides Virtualized Mobile Core Network to Innovative UAE Telecom Service Provider

Saleem AlBlooshi, Chief Infrastructure Officer, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company/du, and Mohammed Shanableh, Affirmed Networks’ Vice President, Global Operations, formalize a partnership between the two companies at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona.

du’s Chief Infrastructure Officer, Salim Al Balooshi, shared his sentiments regarding their selection of Affirmed during a recent interview in Barcelona. “We selected Affirmed for the ‘softwarization’ of the infrastructure because they align with our goals of efficiency and time-to-market. 5G is about ultra-high speed, ultra-low latency and connected devices and IOT. It is use-case based. Smart Cities is an important pillar in making Dubai customers’ lives easier and helping them interact with the government in the simplest way.”

du is the platform provider for Smart Dubai and has many UAE firsts to its credit, including introduction of Pay by the Second® billing system, IPTV and self-service portal. The award-winning telecommunications service provider serves 9 million individual customers and over 100,000 UAE businesses with mobile, fixed line, broadband internet, and Home services over its 4G LTE network.

The operator will use Affirmed Networks’ NB-IoT solution on its fully virtualized native cloud open-stack environment and Affirmed’s Virtualized Mobile Core and virtualized WiFi Gateway to deliver VoWiFi and fixed wireless services as part of a innovative deployment strategy that allows them to leverage capabilities such as network slicing as part of a fully virtualized, software defined native cloud core network that prepares them to elegantly move to 5G.

Helping Carriers Move to 5G

Affirmed’s Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a software-based platform running on standard multi-core hardware, allowing telecom operators to move towards 5G.

According to Al Balooshi:”Adopting Affirmed Networks ensures we have a 5G-ready core network with slicing to serve enterprise as well as consumer use cases. The cooperation in 5G and IoT development is essential to realize UAE leaders’ vision to build the smartest city and to be on top of the technological evolution.”

By embracing new technologies such as NB-IoT, VoWiFi and Fixed LTE, du is now able to add new revenue generating services while achieving better network utilization and improving customer quality of experience.  The Affirmed team looks forward to continuing our work with du as they transform their network toward 5G.

Affirmed Networks currently has more than 78 customers around the world, who, like du see software based networks as being critical to efficiently delivering a host of new services as the industry moves to 5G.

View the Fierce Wireless interview: Affirmed Networks and Du discuss 5G, Smart Cities.

Mobile World Congress 2018: It’s All About 5G

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

If you attended Mobile World Congress 2018 you saw it first-hand – it’s all about 5G. You could not go anywhere without being exposed to demos, use cases, and proof of concepts all centered around the pending arrival of the next-generation of mobile (and fixed) networks. As the leader in virtualized networks, Affirmed Networks was naturally front and center in the middle of the action.

Just prior to Mobile World Congress, we introduced the industry’s first ever 5G mobile core – a solution already in trials with some of the world’s top operators in North America and the Middle East. (Read some of the reactions to our 5G mobile core by some of the top influencers in the market).

We also shared our views on the industry’s direction as it evolves to 5G through conversations with the media and as part of industry debates on which part of the network would be more critical in a 5G world.

And of course, we spent a great deal of time with our customers, helping them understand the immense opportunity presented by 5G and mapping ways to help them get there as efficiently as possible.  Also, on the customer front, we announced several new deployments highlighting the ongoing evolution to virtualized networks globally.  In case you missed them, you can read all about how customers like Softbank, Turkcell, du and 3UK have selected Affirmed Networks to help them with their network transformation efforts.

We were also very active with our partners, conducting meetings, demos, and presentations with a growing ecosystem of partners –such as Intel, VMware, and Juniper, among others – that is focused on ensuring operators have the highest levels of performance and the most efficient deployment of virtualized networks in both a 4G and 5G world.

So, even if you weren’t able to get to Barcelona this year, you now know that this was the year that “5G got real” as the industry now shifts from Proof of Concepts to actual, working solutions such as our 5G mobile core.  The next phase is going to be all about use cases, deployments, and compelling new, tailored service offerings.  Hold on, it’s going to be a fun ride.

Affirmed Networks Joins the Debate – Core vs. Edge in a 5G World?

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

As always, MWC 2018 was a whirlwind of customer meetings, demos, and meeting with industry influencers. In addition to all this activity, Affirmed Networks’ Chief Architect, Ron Parker, participated in a lively session about which part of the network would be most critical in a 5G world.

Affirmed’s Ron Parker advocates the importance of the Network Core in a 5G world during a session at MWC 2018 in Barcelona.

The session, led by Dr. Bi Qi President of China Telecom Technology Innovation Center, which was titled “Debate: Do 5G Business Cases Depend More on Core or Edge Upgrades,” featured an impressive group of representatives from across the global telecom industry, who were split into teams to advocate one side over another. During the session, much of the debate centered on highlighting the unique business cases that are being built around 5G technologies, and how those are influencing the business and technology roadmaps of operators globally.

A proud member of “Team Core,” Parker’s views focused on the importance of a 5G core in terms of its ability to deliver, tailored “slices” of the network to enterprise customers, offering significant growth prospects for network operators offering connected services such as IoT and M2M.

Affirmed Networks Joins the Debate - Core vs. Edge in a 5G World?

Affirmed’s Ron Parker participates in a panel of thought-leaders from companies such as China Telecom, ECI, Qualcomm, ZTE, and others.

As expected, both sides presented articulate views and informed insights to support their respective sides, offering the audience a unique opportunity to hear perspectives directly from some of the leaders responsible for helping the industry move to 5G. Following the impassioned debate, fortunately, both sides parted amicably — mutually agreeing on the significant growth opportunity that 5G will provide across the ecosystem.

One of the panel’s more vocal participants, Parker offered several perspectives, including a closing remark highlighting the importance of 5G:

“The future of mobile networks is here today. Cloud-native and virtualized, the 5G-ready core networks being deployed by today’s innovative operators are enabling a new breed of customized slices, services and revenue streams over the years ahead.”

“The future of mobile networks is here today. Cloud-native and virtualized, the 5G-ready core networks being deployed by today’s innovative operators are enabling new breed of customized slices, services and revenue streams over the years ahead.” -Ron Parker, Chief Architect, Affirmed Networks