Turkcell has integrated a virtual LTE RAN platform into its network in a trial in Istanbul, as it looks to push towards network slicing.
The operator has been working with the US start-up Netsia to effectively separate its LTE network into different parts that can deliver varying latencies, performances and radio resources. The trial used Netsia's ProgRAN platform.
Turkcell, which joined 3GPP last month to develop its 5G strategy, said the success of the trial showed how software defined network and network functions virtualisation technologies can be applied to its RAN.
Gediz Sezgin, Turkcell's Executive Vice President Network Technologies said: "The integration of Netsia’s Virtual LTE RAN Platform into a commercial LTE core in our Labs is an important step forward to demonstrate that an end-to-end network slicing for 5G networks is possible, from the core to the RAN, and how it can be applied to specific service environments, like that of a virtual Private LTE network.”
He added: “5G technology will be vital to every field. That's why I think that 5G technology offers Turkey one of the best opportunities to take a leap forward in the next 10 years."
Netsia has already been working with Telefónica on developing RAN slicing. Last November, the two companies developed a hospital scenario at Telefónica's labs in Madrid, where the radio network was optimised according to different use cases required by doctors, patients, visitors and objects.