Greenfield Cloud-Based 5G Networks Pave the Way for Alternative Vendor Selection

Subscribe To Download This Insight

By Dimitris Mavrakis | 3Q 2021 | IN-6209

Open networks and the cloud-based nature of 5G networks are paving the way for a much broader set of vendors in the telecom domain.

Registered users can unlock up to five pieces of premium content each month.

Log in or register to unlock this Insight.


DISH Wireless Selects Oracle for 5G Service-Based Architecture


DISH recently announced its choice of Oracle for its Service Based Architecture (SBA), an announcement that surprised many industry insiders. These types of contracts have been dominated by Tier-One Network Infrastructure Vendors (NEVs), namely Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and ZTE, who have been typically deploying end to end networks in both core and radio domains. In this contract, Oracle will deploy a series of 5G SBA network elements, including the Policy Control Function (PCF), Network Repository Function (NRF), Network Exposure Function (NEF), the Service Communication Proxy (SCP), Network Slice Selection Function (NSSF), Security Edge Protection Proxy (SEPP), and Binding Selection Function (BSF). These network elements are associated with the control plane as well as new service creation, both of which are vital for the new use case and service capabilities that the 5G core network will eventually enable.

The deployment of these elements has a strong application focus and the carrier claims that it aims to create thousands of network slices with a tailored user experiences that utilize network and subscriber-level service data.

Cloud Capabilities Will Start to Matter More Than Telecoms Expertise


Oracle has acquired and developed significant telecoms expertise through its Tekelec and Acme Packet acquisitions, namely in the control plane, signaling, Policy Control and Session Border Controller (SBC) areas. These acquisitions have allowed Oracle to combine its enterprise vertical expertise with carrier-grade capabilities to enable cloud-native functionality, something that will start to matter a lot more as 5G networks migrate to the cloud-native domain. In fact, the capability to deploy network functions in the cloud-native domain, and even in public and hybrid clouds, will start to matter more than telecoms capabilities as the underlying platforms become carrier-grade by default. All hyperscalers, including AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft’s Azure, are starting to address the telecoms space aggressively, aiming to become the platform of choice for 5G enterprise and even public networks. In a way, Oracle has a head start due to its hybrid cloud and enterprise vertical capabilities compared with other software vendors and this will start to matter more as 5G SBA networks continue to be deployed and reach a critical mass. These capabilities matter even more in the control plane, which is a critical part of the network, but still need to be as efficient as possible and deployed in hybrid cloud domains. For example, when network slicing matures, scaling the control plane will be vital to meet with network demands and ensuring that 5G networks remain healthy.

The First of Many Alternative Vendor Selections


The DISH and Oracle partnership is the first of many similar contracts to come in the 5G SBA domain, especially when cloud-native capabilities will now start to matter more than having a strong incumbency in telecom capabilities. This comes at a time when many Tier-One carriers are attempting to improve their vendor procurement models, namely their RFx processes that may typically take several months to complete. This causes natural delays in network deployments, a pain point that hyperscalers are also aiming to use to compete aggressively against incumbent vendors.

DISH—being a greenfield operator—can choose best of breed vendors rather than vendors that have end to end capabilities, similar to Rakuten and any other operators. These greenfield contracts will provide a tremendous experience boost in large scale deployments for Oracle and similar vendors, giving them a head start to deploy their capabilities with brownfield operators where most of the opportunity for 5G SBA deployments lies. One thing is for certain: open networks and the cloud-based nature of 5G networks are paving the way for a much broader set of vendors in the telecoms’ domain, and the DISH/Oracle case is merely the tip of the iceberg.