Vodafone UK and Oracle Collaborate to Bring Obi-Wan Style Holographic Calls to 5G

In this vignette from The 5G Factor, a production of Futurum Research and part of the Futurum Tech Webcast, analysts Ron Westfall and Shelly Kramer explored the collaboration between Vodafone UK and Oracle to accelerate new 5G offerings into the hands of customers, including holographic calls (e.g., Star Wars-style emergency calls to Obi-Wan Kenobi) and uninterrupted game streaming.

Their conversation underscored:

  • Vodafone UK selected Oracle’s cloud native network policy management solution as part of its 5G core to make more intelligent policy decisions and swiftly test and deploy new services.
  • Oracle’s solution uses converged policy management to combine 5G Core Policy Control Function (PCF) and the 4G-originated Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) with the goal of prioritizing low-latency applications across edge data networks, while continuously optimizing network policies based on data analytics.
  • Of note, aligned with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Oracle’s cloud native 5G core control plane features network functions, including the policy control, that helps Vodafone UK automate and scale to meet 5G device and subscriber expansion.

Ron and Shelly believe the deal confirms major 5G operators such as Vodafone UK are making progress in adopting cloud native technology to prepare their 5G network core for 5G SA standalone readiness, key to moving on from the limitations of non-standalone (NSA) networks that require 4G interworking. Also, since the Vodafone UK network uses Ericsson’s cloud-native 5G core, the selection of the Oracle policy management solution indicates that operators are gaining more confidence in using multi-vendor implementations to advance their 5G SA builds, gaining more bargaining leverage and selecting the most preferred solution for key parts of the 5G network.

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Shelly Kramer: Well, with that, we are going to move into the final topic for our 5G Factor show today. We mentioned Vodafone earlier. We’re going to talk about Vodafone deploying Oracle technology to help support 5G standalone network core. So Ron, finish this up with, tell us about what that is.

Ron Westfall: Yeah, I think it’s fitting that we’re finishing up on the European side of the market, with Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona. And specifically, yeah, this is Vodafone UK working with Oracle. That is, selecting Oracle. Specifically, it’s a cloud-native policy management solution. And I think this is, again, enabling these use cases that I think are going to make a difference, in terms of being able to monetize an offering. One example of Vodafone UK is inciting with this deal is the idea of holographic calls, IE… like an emergency called Obi-Wan Kenobi type of capability. Finally, it will become something that will be mainstream and not relegated to the Star Wars sphere, and I think that would be most welcome by a lot of consumers. You don’t have to be a Star Wars-phile to appreciate a holographic call, but I think it can definitely help with things like digital twin demonstrations and just a host of collaboration possibilities there, and that, I think, is going to be a more compelling use case that will pick up steam.

And likewise, as we talked about enabling more of the Industry 4.0 capabilities, more of the game streaming capabilities, again, the multi-game AR type of game streaming. And what I think is important here is that this is demonstrating that the operators are really becoming adept using at cloud-native technologies. In this case, Oracle made sure to align their policy management solution with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation guidelines. And so, this is, again, an example of how standards and so forth can help with these types of implementations.

It’s also harking back to what we’re talking about with the 5G core. Again, on the policy management side, we have purpose-built 5G core policy control function, or PCF, working with pre-5G PCRF capabilities in order to ease this programmability, and also having policy enforcement across these 5G offerings. And lo and behold, kind of full circle, yes, Vodafone UK, just like Vodafone Germany, is using Ericsson’s cloud-native 5G core implementation. And so, this is, I think, a great example of where inner working interoperability between multiple vendors is making these new 5G capabilities a market reality, and certainly, at least, we’re having major operators adopting it and touting it and looking to advance them during 2022, which will, obviously, be a pivotal year for all of 5G.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. And bottom line, this is all about better serving customers and helping make more intelligent policy decisions, deploy and test new services for the standalone 5G network, and to also get new 5G offerings in the hands of customers more quickly. I mean, that’s beneficial across the board. It’s a terrific partnership, very smart. And again, when your end goal is all about better serving your customers, I think you’re well positioned for success, so I thought this was excited news, for sure.

Ron Westfall: Oh, I agree, and I think this is what we envisioned, that this is an ecosystem play. This is where partnerships are going to be more vital than ever before, as we get more toward an open 5G model and more of an open source approach versus some of the proprietary implementations of the past that had that vendor lock-in trade-off that we touched on, and so forth, heavier costs on the CapEx side, and so on, and yeah, we’re transitioning away from that.

Shelly Kramer: And that’s a good thing. That’s a very good thing.

Ron Westfall: Yeah, right on.

Author Information

Ron is an experienced, customer-focused research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets, working with businesses to drive consistent revenue and sales growth.

He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including a wide range of topics across software and services, infrastructure, 5G communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Ron worked with GlobalData Technology creating syndicated and custom research across a wide variety of technical fields. His work with Current Analysis focused on the broadband and service provider infrastructure markets.

Ron holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of Nevada — Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in political science/government from William and Mary.


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