Telecommunications firm AT&T will move its 5G mobile network to Microsoft Azure for Operators. Migrating these workloads will enable AT&T to manage its mobile network traffic using the cloud, increase productivity and cost efficiency, and deliver large-scale network services that meet its customers’ evolving needs.
The companies will start with AT&T’s 5G core, which connects mobile users and internet of things devices with internet and other services.
As part of the partnership, Microsoft will gain access to AT&T’s intellectual property and technical expertise to grow its own telecom flagship offering, Azure for Operators, by bringing “real-world production 5G workloads” to the platform. Microsoft says that Azure for Operators will “help operators across the world deliver highly reliable, cost-effective and secure 5G services to consumer and enterprise customers”.
“AT&T has one of the world’s most powerful global backbone networks serving hundreds of millions of subscribers,” said Andre Fuetsch, chief technology officer at AT&T. “Our Network Cloud team has proved that running a network in the cloud drives speed, security, cost improvements and innovation. Microsoft’s decision to acquire these assets is a testament to AT&T’s leadership in network virtualisation, culture of innovation, and realisation 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.”
AT&T will continue to operate its network and retain its customer relationships. By using Microsoft’s hybrid and hyperscale infrastructure, the firm aims to reduce engineering and development costs, and gain the flexibility to launch new services and customer experiences enabled by 5G.
Microsoft will assume responsibility for 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.