Three’s virtual cloud core is built on Nokia’s technology and will serve as a sturdy launch pad for the company’s 5G offering


Three UK has launched its fully integrated cloud core network in collaboration with Nokia, as the UK telco looks to kick start its preparations for 5G rollout.

The first-of-its-kind cloud core network is 5G ready and will offer increased security, flexibility and cost saving synergies. The virtual cloud core is a key step on the road to Three’s £2bn 5G launch, scheduled for August 2019.

Three has the biggest 5G spectrum holding of any UK operator, with 100 contiguous megahertz of spectrum, meaning that it is perfectly placed to offer the fastest and most reliable 5G connections.

"This industry needs to be disrupted. We believe that it is far too dormant at the moment," Three UK’s director for business transformation, Tim Boyd, said at a press conference in London today.

"We need to focus on our commitment to "free the fun" – which means that we want people to experience life thorough our products and we want people to have more enjoyment in their lives as a result of the products we offer.

Powered by its new virtual cloud core, Three’s 5G network will be capable of delivering speeds of around 2.15Gbps, however, this is likely to be shackled by the limitations of available smartphone handsets in the short to medium term.

The new cloud core will be managed from 20 data centres spread out across the UK. The data centres have been strategically placed to be as close to high concentrations of customers as possible, therefore offering ultra-low latency levels.  

Three maintains that its new virtual core will give it vastly superior resilience compared with its exiting 4G physical core.

"In terms of reliability, we effectively go from a single point of failure at multiple points. If you look at a physical 4G core, they are very resilient, but ultimately they rely on themselves. If you have a failure in two data centres, you will lose your EPC. The new setup allows us to move workloads around quite flexibly. We can deprioritise the less important aspects of the network in order to keep services up and running. For example, you could drop SMS but you could keep your data services up, in the event of an outage," said Boyd.    


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