Indian operator Idea Cellular is deploying Nokia’s cloud-native core technology throughout its network. The operator said Nokia’s cloud core will allow it to run both data and voice services on a common platform thus reducing operational costs. Idea is based in Mumbai and has about 220 million subscribers.
Idea Cellular also said that adding Nokia’s cloud platform is a stepping stone toward the company’s eventual migration to 5G. The cloud-native core will allow it to add more automation capabilities and deliver new services more quickly.
Idea is in the process of merging with Vodafone India. The deal is expected to close at the end of August. The combined Vodafone/Idea will have more than 400 million customers on the subcontinent. Bharti Airtel, a competitor, has about 280 million subscribers. And upstart Reliance Jio has said it hopes to have 400 million subs by the end of 2018.
Nokia first unveiled its cloud packet core technology in February 2017 shortly after it completed its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. At the time, the company said that its cloud-native core software will support both wireless and fixed access technologies, whether licensed or unlicensed, and that it can be used separately or combined to deliver services.
Idea Cellular isn’t the first to deploy the company’s cloud platform. Early this year Swedish operator Telia said it was deploying Nokia’s cloud packet core platform across its network in all six countries where it operates, including Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, and Lithuania.