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Telefónica, KT, China Unicom and Telstra collaborate to Enable MEC Experience

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Telefónica has reached an agreement with the operators KT, China Unicom and Telstra to collaborate on the Muti-Operator Multiaccess Edge Computing (MEC) Experience.

This agreement is part of the GSMA Operator Platform initiative, that aims at designing a solution for operators to expose and monetize its network capabilities, being focused initially on Edge Computing and covering services like IPComms and Network Slicing at a later stage.

This joint collaboration is focused on testing Edge Computing functionality and interconnection capability and verifying the ease and simplicity of a MEC platform for application developers to leverage.

The objective is to obtain feedback from both Operators and developer communities to identify gaps and needs, share them with the GSMA Operator Platform and contribute to Standard Organizations and open source communities responsible for developing the different MEC components.

This initiative consists of four phases:

  • The first one is focused in the development of basic Edge Computing capabilities such as interconnection of MEC platforms, smart edge discovery and smart resource allocation, to optimize the provisioning and delivery of edge services over a global footprint;
  • The second phase is enabling mobility features, evaluating a use case in which end customers move from one geographical point to another;
  • The third phase is focused in the service availability to roamers, to enable the use of edge when customers moves from their home network and visit a different network; and
  • The fourth phase is focused on federation capabilities.

All this will facilitate edge application developers to deploy its solutions in this global footprint through a single and simple interface, without the need to develop custom integrations for each and every market. This will allow Operators to create a competitive global Edge Cloud, enabling Service Providers to develop, deploy and manage edge applications seamlessly over a global Edge Cloud footprint provided by Operators.

This joint work is based on the Operator Platform paradigm described in a document that has been recently published by the GSMA: Operator Platform Concept Phase I: Edge Cloud Computing.

In collaboration with the GSMA Operator Platform initiative, Telefónica, KT, China Unicom and Telstra have in this phase worked with Altran, to demonstrate a federation between various operator’s edge computing platforms so that they can enable its customers to deploy applications and workloads across each operator network and provide access to a global footprint.

The global MEC platform is used to show key features like:

  • Select, deploy, and monitor applications across a federation of interconnected operators.
  • Onboard new operators to the federated platform.
  • Request edge node selection from the end user application to connect to the optimum serving edge node.

Edge Computing value proposition

Users and enterprises’ growing demand for privacy, security and enhanced performance for their digital applications drive the design of Edge. It is a platform that delivers computing, storage and connectivity capabilities to Enterprises and Software developers willing to place their solutions and applications in data centers within a telco network, close to the customer devices.

These data centers can vary in size, location and capacity and can be deployed within mobile, fixed and/or enterprise networks. Deploying applications in those locations enables real time processing, guaranteed bandwidth, and increased privacy and security.

This reduces latency, diminishes devices’ computational needs, and lower ineffective use of communication capacity. It plays an important part in delivering some of the promises of ultra-low latency and ultra-high reliability in 5G standards. MEC combines the benefits of both, cloud solutions’ affordability and scalability, and on-premise solutions’ performance and convenience.

“It is a great experience to collaborate with KT, China Unicom and Telstra on this relevant topic. Together with these Tier1 operators, we are making available to the industry the means to build and deliver a global telco-based Edge Cloud service, providing the necessary mechanisms that complement current MEC standards to enable the federation of operator’s edge computing platforms. With this, telcos will be able to deliver a universal Edge Computing service that will facilitate application developers and Enterprises the deployment of their services globally through a simple and single interface” said Juan Carlos García, SVP Technology and Ecosystem at Telefónica.

“Telstra is a strong believer in a Multi Operator Edge environment that makes applications globally accessible and portable, offering the scale needed for a faster and wider adoption of a telco-based Edge Cloud Service. This initiative, building on the MEC standard, is an important step in supporting this development and future Operator services. We’re proud of working with some of our global peers on this exciting new initiative which will help advance edge computing,” said Hakan Eriksson, Group CTO and Technology Executive, Telstra.

“We are pleased to work with international operators like Telefonica, KT, Telstra, we have developed a unified edge application interface standard to achieve the application of “One point innovation, global replication”. Starting from the value chain needs, our cooperation will create a virtuous circle for international MEC business model, which will better improve the expansion of the international Edge Cloud market space in the future. Our co-delivered MEC services have open platform capabilities, enabling operators to provide multinational enterprises with a plug-and-play, on-demand deployment of edge service scenarios to enhance the business experience and achieve a win-win cooperation by clustering edge applications into a variety of industries.” said Yunyong Zhang, President of China Unicom Ltd Research Institute.

“Through our partnership with Telefonica, Telstra and China Unicom, all from different regions across the world, we set out to explore the most effective way to build a globally federated edge platform and tap into the full potential of telco-based Edge Computing. Leveraging MEC standards and key technologies, we aim to provide a reference model the industry can build on and developers and enterprises can take advantage of,” said Jongsik Lee, SVP & Head of Infra R&D at KT.

“It is essential for Enterprises to reach their customers at the edge of all networks, based on the GSMA Operator Platform specifications, MOM will provide the interoperable scale to increase the value of Operator’s local assets.” said Henry Calvert, Head of Future Networks at GSMA.