Microsoft and telecommunications giant AT&T are extending their partnership on 5G technology. Both companies entered a strategic alliance in July centered around cloud technology. Among the functions of the partnership is to drive 5G adoption and edge computing.
Now, the two tech juggernauts are now allowing select previews for Network Edge Compute (NEC) technology. This is an integration of Microsoft Azure in AT&T network edge locations. With the combination, Azure services will be more readily available to customers.
AT&T Network Cloud (a virtual software driven 5G core) can now offer Azure services. NEC is only available so far in Dallas, and even there only for select users. Microsoft says the technology will make its way to select customers in Atlanta and Los Angeles in 2020.
In a blog post announcing the deal, AT&T waxed lyrical about the evolution of mobile connectivity.
“The first smartphones on 3G networks introduced the idea of mobile apps over a decade ago. A few years later, 4G LTE made it feasible to connect those devices faster to cloud applications to stream videos, hail rides, and broadcast content to the world,” said Mo Katibeh, EVP and chief marketing officer, AT&T Business.
“With our 5G and edge computing, AT&T is collaborating uniquely with Microsoft to marry their cloud capabilities with our network to create lower latency between the device and the cloud that will unlock new, future scenarios for consumers and businesses. We've said all year developers and businesses will be the early 5G adopters, and this puts both at the forefront of this revolution.”
Azure Driven Cloud
As for Microsoft, corporate vice president of Microsoft Solutions Corey Sanders offered insight into the partnership.
Sanders says Microsoft is providing Azure as a cloud underpinning for AT&T's range of solutions.
“The collaboration reaches across AT&T, bringing the hyperscale of Microsoft Azure together with AT&T's network to innovate with 5G and edge computing across every industry.”