US communications group AT&T has sold its Network Cloud technology to Microsoft and move its 5G stuff onto Azure. With this deal, Microsoft will eventually be able to handle all the wireless carrier’s 5G traffic, starting with the core software that connects customers to the internet.
- The deal: The deal builds on a 5G partnership formed by the two companies in 2019 and is a big win for Microsoft’s Azure division as it tries to sell more cloud services worldwide. For Dallas-based AT&T, the third-largest wireless provider, the move helps reduce operating costs. The carrier will continue to run its network using Microsoft for the 5G cloud operations.
- A rightful decision: “Our Network Cloud team has proven that running a network in the cloud drives speed, security, cost improvements, and innovation,” said AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch. “Microsoft’s decision to acquire these assets is a testament to AT&T’s leadership in network virtualization, culture of innovation, and realization of a Telco-grade cloud stack. The next step is making this capability accessible to operators around the world and ensuring it has the resources behind it to continue to evolve and improve. And do it securely. Microsoft’s cloud expertise and global reach make them the perfect fit for this next phase.”
- Bridging The gaps: The companies will start with AT&T’s 5G core, the software at the heart of the 5G network that connects mobile users and IoT devices with the internet and other services. Bringing existing and future network workloads to Azure for Operators will enable AT&T to increase productivity and cost-efficiency while focusing on the delivery of large-scale network services that meet its customers’ evolving needs.
- Deployment: Microsoft will assume responsibility for both software development and deployment of AT&T’s Network Cloud immediately and bring AT&T’s existing network cloud to Azure over the next three years. The increasing demand for highly reliable mobile services at competitive prices requires operators to redefine their service models, streamline operations and unlock industry-specific 5G opportunities from connected factories and digital retail to autonomous transportation and entertainment-from-anywhere.
- Flexible model: “With Azure, operators can provide a more flexible and scalable service model, save infrastructure costs, and use AI to automate operations and differentiate customer offerings,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president Azure, Microsoft. “Through our collaboration with AT&T, Microsoft will expand its telecom portfolio to support operators with a carrier-grade cloud that provides seamless experiences across Microsoft’s cloud and the operator’s network.”