Spark New ZealandRemember when voice was the original mobile network use-case? It was a much simpler time, with more network control, greater profit, and fewer competitors. Fast forward to today and like the rest of the Service Provider industry, mobile voice communications are changing, and changing very rapidly. Mobile networks must provide a cost-effective, rich user experience.

According to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), by the close of 2014 there were 360 mobile operators that had commercially launched LTE networks and service in 124 countries. Of those mobile operators only 14 had a commercially launched voice over LTE (VoLTE) service. Voice continues to be the most popular mobile service, but LTE systems are all-IP and do not have any circuit-switched capabilities. This change implies a significant complexity and skilled staff “gap” for operators.

Spark New Zealand Voice Goals

For Spark New Zealand, voice is a major source of revenue subject to the same industry pressures, including the challenge from over-the-top (OTT) services, such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Facetime. Spark also seeks to add higher value services such as conferencing and desktop integration to meet the increasing requirements from business users. Convergence of Fixed and Mobile Voice Services to achieve their digitization plan was critical to the future Spark Voice Network Vision.

The Cisco Solution: Telco Cloud Designed and Delivered by Cisco Services

Spark needed an architecture that could dynamically change its purpose as different applications and functions are demanded. They needed Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and the ability to dynamically orchestrate functions as demanded by the network.

We were able to help solidify Spark’s Future Voice vision by jointly developing a strategy, roadmap, and scalable design. The project was delivered using Agile methodology to achieve the flexibility and service velocity key to the future operating model for Spark. For future scaling of the network this architecture would be cloud based.

Cisco delivers a unique architectural offering for a Service Provider’s Telco Cloud that combines the reliability, scalability, and availability of the Cloud and the flexibility to expand on-demand multidimensional services such as Voice, Video, Packet Core, Policy, GiLAN etc on the same operational model. It accelerates the time to market for new services offerings and the adoption of new technologies, reduces the operational expenses, improves convergence of VoLTE, Voice over IP (VoIP), video, and data into a single telco infrastructure.

The Cisco Telco Cloud Solution Included:

  • Cisco Virtualized Network Infrastructure, Application Management, and Orchestration
  • Cisco Virtualized Packet Core (VPC) and Cisco Policy Suite for mobile packet core functions
  • Virtualized IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS) from Metaswitch takes core network functions and moves them into the cloud.
  • Virtualized Application Server functions from OpenCloud.
  • Cisco Services for VoLTE Assessment, Design and System Integration Services

The Result: HD Voice & VoLTE with Reduced Time-To-Market

The result was an end-to-end architecture of multi-vendor Network Function Virtualization (NFV) in the core orchestrated from the Telco Cloud. Successfully integrated HD Voice and VoLTE services to Spark New Zealand implemented with the systems integration capabilities of Cisco Advanced Services.

For Spark New Zealand the result was the ability to successfully test high-definition voice and video calling over a 4G mobile network. This marks the start of a fully digital future network for converged fixed and mobile services.

With the help of the Cisco’s Advanced Services Team, Spark New Zealand was able to convert their VoLTE project from a concept on paper to a complete virtualized VoLTE and NFV Infrastructure demonstration in less than 14 weeks. At Cisco we are not letting up on the pace of innovation and change to deliver value to our customers.

David Havercroft, Spark New Zealand Chief Operating Officer

“Mobile technology is continually changing and our network needs to handle, not just what is possible today, but what our customers will demand in the future. VoLTE is another big step on that journey. Our future digital network will unleash the potential of people’s devices like never before”.

Cedrik Neike, Senior Vice President, Global Service Provider Service Delivery

“This project with Spark demonstrates how Cisco co-innovates with our customers. The deployment highlights our Services capabilities in system integration for virtualization and orchestration. We are delivering an end-to-end Telco Cloud solution for our service provider customers, while accelerating innovation and validating it with Spark. We look forward to continuing to help Spark achieve their desired business outcomes.”


About Spark New Zealand

Spark New Zealand is a New Zealand-wide communications service provider, providing fixed line telephone services, mobile and Internet services, and is a major ICT provider to NZ businesses. Spark New Zealand.

Spark issued Press Release is available here:

About Cisco

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Jim O'Leary

Sr. Manager Mobile Solutions Marketing