Microsoft has secured a significant cloud deal as a result of an acquisition. The company will acquire AT&T 5G Network Cloud technology and intellectual property, in addition to offering job opportunities to several hundred AT&T engineers.
AT&T will transfer its 5G mobile network to Azure in exchange. The companies will begin with AT&T’s 5G core and work their way out.
The collaboration builds on a previous $2 billion deal in which AT&T moved its back-end operations to Microsoft Azure. The technology company has been designated as AT&T’s preferred cloud provider for “non-network applications,” the majority of which will be migrated to Azure.
The two companies also collaborated to offer mutual customers 5G-enabled and Edge applications, but the project was limited in scope.
Simultaneously, AT&T maintained an open mind. It formed a “multi-year strategic partnership” with IBM to migrate a number of AT&T Business workloads to the IBM cloud. The deal, which appears to be based on IBM Red Hat software, also appeared to place IBM in charge of managing its multicloud strategy.
Additionally, AT&T and Amazon Web Services collaborated in 2016 on IoT, cybersecurity, and cloud technology. In 2017, it reaffirmed the partnership.
Google has also been involved. When Anthos announced its Anthos for Telecom product, it stated that it would collaborate with AT&T to test a portfolio of 5G Edge computing solutions for retail, manufacturing, and transportation.
AT&T appears to be moving the majority of its IT and 5G operations to Microsoft Azure – through the division it is selling to Microsoft.
“AT&T operates one of the most robust global backbone networks in the world, serving hundreds of millions of subscribers “Andre Fuetsch, the telco’s chief technology officer, stated.
“Our Network Cloud team has demonstrated that operating a network in the cloud results in increased speed, security, cost savings, and innovation. Microsoft’s acquisition of these assets demonstrates AT&T’s leadership in network virtualization, innovation culture, and development of a telco-grade cloud stack.”
Microsoft intends to incorporate the team and IP into its larger Azure for Operators division and to make the technology available to other telecommunications companies.
“With Azure, operators can offer a more flexible and scalable service model, reduce infrastructure costs, and leverage artificial intelligence to automate operations and differentiate customer offerings,” said Jason Zander, Microsoft’s Azure EVP.
“Microsoft will expand its telecom portfolio through its collaboration with AT&T by providing operators with a carrier-grade cloud that enables seamless experiences across Microsoft’s cloud and the operator’s network.”