Verizon and Korea Telecom are testing the compatibility of their network orchestrators in anticipation of rolling out 5G networks in late 2017 and 2018. According to the Korea Herald, the two operators conducted the first live international hologram call this week and tested the interconnection of their orchestrators.
The demonstrations were part of an effort by the two companies to share 5G trial information and identify early 5G use cases. According to the Herald, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam met with KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu to talk about expanding that partnership. The article also said the two companies plan to jointly propose a specification for the orchestrators to become part of an international standard. However, details on that specification are scarce. For more information, see this article.
The two companies announced last July that they were collaborating closely on software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). Verizon also said it was working with KT on GiGA technologies. KT was the first GiGA LTE operator, which means that it has achieved a maximum download speed of 1.17 Gb/s by combining its LTE network with localized WiFi networks.
Korea Telecom and Verizon’s 5G plans are somewhat similar in that both are in the midst of building pre-standard 5G networks and both have aggressive timelines for deployment. Verizon has said its fixed 5G network could be commercial in 2018 if all goes well. KT has said it wants its network to be ready by September in order to provide service for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
In an interview earlier this week with Radhika Venkatraman, senior vice president and CIO of network and technology at Verizon, Venkatraman said that Verizon believes its framework can support multiple resource orchestrators to handle virtual network functions (VNFs). The company has selected Ericsson for its hosted enterprise services and has picked HPE’s NFV Director for infrastructure services. It is also working closely with a startup for automation and resource orchestrating some VNFs.
Update: This article was updated with a link to more details on the orchestration process.