In a strategic move in the race of cloud companies to partner with major clients, American telecommunications company AT&T has enlisted Microsoft Corporation to run core parts of its 5G wireless network on the latter’s cloud computing platform, Azure. Under this partnership, Microsoft will acquire AT&T’s Network Cloud Technology and staff to handle the entire 5G traffic of the wireless carrier.
Back in 2019, the two companies had collaborated for 5G network technology and this new partnership is a massive win for Microsoft’s Azure division as it is increasing its focus on cloud computing and related services. AT&T will benefit from the partnership as it will enable the telecom company to reduce overhead and operational costs. The carrier will now be running its network using Microsoft for 5G cloud operations. According to Andre Feutsch, CTO of AT&T, shifting to a public cloud company will enable AT&T to take advantage of a larger ecosystem of software developers who are leveraging 5G technology to create new services and products for users. Microsoft will be using the new technology to build a product the company has named Azure for Operators, which will enable it target core network business of telecommunications companies in the major regions where it operates. The multi-year deal will also allow Microsoft to acquire AT&T engineering and lifecycle management software. Besides reducing operational costs, Microsoft’s hybrid and hyperscale infrastructure will also offer AT&T added flexibility from the cloud, AI, and edge to develop and commercialize new services and features quickly.
With new capabilities are built within the cloud infrastructure, additional suppliers and vendors will be added. Microsoft will be responsible for software development and deployment of AT&T network cloud technology but shifting the carrier’s entire existing network to Azure will take time and will require multi-vendor services and components from other network providers.