UK-based Vodafone wants to offer a superior streaming experience to customers in Europe and Africa.

Nick Wood

July 12, 2023

3 Min Read
the Vodafone UK store in Birmingham's Bullring_high-res

UK-based Vodafone wants to offer a superior streaming experience to customers in Europe and Africa.

To that end, it has partnered with Cisco and Qwilt, which will supply their edge-based content delivery network (CDN) solution. This will enable Voda to cache video content and applications closer to end users, making for faster, more responsive services. This benefits content owners and app developers too, because they gain higher-quality access to millions of fixed and mobile broadband customers.

The solution combines Qwilt’s Open Edge platform with Cisco’s edge infrastructure. It is delivered as a service, so the upgrade won’t move the needle on Voda’s capex, which might help to keep the bean-counters happier. It is based on the Streaming Video Technology Alliance (SVTA)’s Open Caching standard, which is designed to unify multiple content caches into one large, easy-to-manage CDN.

Qwilt and Cisco have been working together on edge-based content delivery for years. Qwilt was founded by ex-Cisco and Juniper employees, and Cisco Investments holds a stake in the company.

Vodafone has successfully trialled their joint solution in Italy, and will now roll it out in seven countries across Europe and Africa. The deployment is expected to ramp up as Qwilt and Cisco continue to partner with other operators, helping them to build what they hope will one day be the world’s largest federated CDN.

“By harnessing the power of Open Caching, Vodafone is using its capabilities and position as a significant network operator to take an active role in effective content delivery, and to expand opportunities to monetise this value chain while enabling the next generation of content experiences across its markets,” said Qwilt CEO Alon Maor, in a statement on Tuesday.

“This deployment significantly expands our global, all-edge delivery network, bringing us one step closer to our goal of reaching all consumers around the globe with the high-quality digital experiences they need and expect,” he added.

CDNs have been around for years, but with video’s share of IP traffic continuing to grow, they remain unquestionably relevant.

According to network management specialist Sandvine’s most recent Global Internet Phenomena report, online video usage grew by 24% last year, and now accounts for 65% of all Internet traffic.

It found that four of the top five biggest generators of downstream data traffic are video apps: Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ and TikTok.

Sandvine argues that video can no longer even be considered as a standalone category, since it has become an integral part of virtually every online application, including social networking, gaming, collaboration, and conferencing.

As such, network operators are under pressure to offer the best possible video experience to their customers, which is where CDNs come in.

“We have built one of the largest Internet networks worldwide. It connects all Vodafone markets, strategic partners and many millions of our customers to an integrated globally scaled platform,” said Nadia Benabdallah, network strategy and engineering director, Vodafone Technology.

“We continue to evolve our strategy, setting ever higher industry standards for our customers and remaining one of the strongest players in the market,” she continued. “We are now excited to start a new phase of this strategy. One that will strengthen the quality of the service delivered to our customers, further decrease the cost of gigabits carried and open new opportunities for business growth.”

 

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About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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