SoftBank Mobile - one of Japan’s top three mobile network operators - is set to continue its relationship with Ericsson by delivering cloud native 5G Core for SoftBank's 5G standalone network.
The contract is another big win for the Swedish multinational, which now has 99 commercial 5G agreements or contracts in place, and boasts an ongoing relationship with SoftBank Mobile, which it has supplied with radio access network equipment for both its 4G and 5G networks.
"Japan is a leading 5G telecom market and together with Ericsson we are building a new platform of innovation for the country,” Keiichi Makizono, Senior Vice President, CIO of SoftBank. “Under our new agreement, we will extend our long-term partnership and provide a high quality and future-proof platform enabling a new wave of innovation for Japanese society."
Developing new business models
Since SoftBank purchased Vodafone Japan for $15 billion in 2006, SoftBank Mobile has continued to grow its subscriber base, which now sits at over 22 million smartphone subscribers in Japan. And the 5G Core solution, which includes Ericsson Cloud Packet Core, will provide “zero-touch operation”, says Ericsson, including continuous delivery and integration processes (CI/CD), made possible through container-based microservice architecture and its automation capabilities.
"Ericsson's cloud native dual-mode 5G Core provides the cutting-edge container-based microservice architecture that will help SoftBank to both develop new business models towards consumers, enterprise and industry partners as well as to move onto the next level of network operational efficiency,” said Luca Orsini, Head of Ericsson Japan.
SoftBank Mobile also has a close relationship with Apple (SoftBank was an exclusive iPhone partner in Japan for three years), and it will be essential for the operator to have optimized its 5G provision by the time the 5G iPhone launches, either later this year, or at the start of 2021.