Azure for Operators

Microsoft has a dedicated telecommunications business unit that delivers their Azure for Operators solution set, which is being adopted by carriers like AT&T.

The portfolio is made up of a number of core Azure compute services that are combined with 5G connectivity, combined with telco-specific components that have been ingested through acquisition, such as Affirmed and Metaswitch, who bring telephony and wireless capabilities among others.

Recently they announced a number of enhancements to the portfolio, expanding it with a hybrid Cloud service, Azure Operator Distributed Services, which combines technologies from Microsoft’s acquisition of the AT&T Network Cloud with Azure services, and Azure Operator 5G Core, an option for mobile networks that need to scale to “hundreds of millions of subscribers and devices.”

Yousef Khalidi, Corporate VP for Azure Networking, describes the vision for Azure for Operators and provides an overview of the services ecosystem:

Embracing the Cloud Native Future

in this webinar interview with Martin Lund, previously CEO at Metaswitch and now a Microsoft VP following the acquisition, explains more of the detail about the AT&T deal and how it is accelerating their expansion of a hybrid Cloud model, and Microsofts key differentiation from the other hyper-scalers, notably the large telco-experienced workforce they now boast.

Martin thinks that key services and use cases will include Private 5G, that will be very localized where data residency or latency will be mission critical issues, or nationwide for sectors like automotive.

In general he sees much more integration of telco services with the Cloud stack, to leverage the scaling and digital service innovation pioneered by the Cloud providers, citing examples like Teams and Zoom that operate at a massive global scale, that will lead on to new services in key areas like Augmented Reality.

The Road to the Cloud Native Telco

Speaking with the TMF Shawn Hakl, Microsoft’s VP of 5G Strategy, also explains more about the AT&T partnership, describing that it frees up AT&T from managing lower level infrastructure to focus more on higher level, value add digital service innovation.

He is seeing a rapid acceleration of Cloud Native adoption by telcos, with many formalizing procurement programs to begin it’s aggressive implementation, with a big focus on the transformation required to shift to this new paradigm.

It’s highlighted that Microsoft’s considerable expertise in helping enterprise organizations undertake this same journey will be a great asset to support telco’s doing the same, with them developing considerable best practice frameworks and new services innovation that will be built atop 5G.


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