What you need to know
- AT&T will move its 5G mobile network to the Microsoft cloud.
- This is a path for Microsoft Azure to manage all of AT&T's 5G traffic.
- Microsoft will acquire AT&T's Network Cloud technology as well as its engineering team.
Microsoft announced that AT&T will run its mobility network on Microsoft's Azure for Operators cloud. Starting with the 5G core, AT&T will bring its current and future workloads to the Azure cloud.
The 5G core is responsible for linking connected devices to the internet and other services on the network. The press release claims that AT&T will be able to increase productivity and cost-efficiency so it can focus on delivering new services to meet the evolving needs of its customers.
Andre Fuetsch, executive vice president and chief technology officer at AT&T, said:
AT&T has one of the world's most powerful global backbone networks serving hundreds of millions of subscribers. 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 virtualization, culture of innovation, and realization of a telco-grade cloud stack.
Microsoft is acquiring AT&T Network Cloud platform technology, which is used for the current 5G core, and will immediately take over the software development and deployment of AT&T's Network Cloud. Microsoft is also bringing over the engineering team from Network Cloud. This, paired with its 2020 acquisitions of Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks, will enable operators to run a secure telecom network in the cloud.
Microsoft will bring AT&T's existing network cloud to the Azure platform over the next three years.
All of this should allow AT&T to focus on customer relations and building out its network. With 5G coverage proving to be a challenge with the available spectrum, moving its platform to Microsoft's cloud can help AT&T offer more services beyond what is offered in even the current best cell phone plans.
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