Microsoft launches Azure for Operators to expand connectivity

The new Azure for Operators initiative from Microsoft aims at working with network operators to provide a core infrastructure that combines cloud, cellular and edge capabilities.

The strategy looks to enable communication service providers to create:

  • Advanced industry solutions built on low-latency connections to AI and machine intelligence;
  • Personalised customer experiences, using mixed reality content;
  • A developer ecosystem for rapid innovation with the aid of 5G.

Operators will now be able to cut infrastructure costs, leverage AI and ML for automation, and create service differentiation.

As operators look to evolve its infrastructure, Microsoft has vowed to support innovation at the enterprise edge, network edge or cloud, depending on where the operator is located.

Additionally, the strategy looks to give operators greater visibility and control over how they use connectivity capabilities.

The platforms to be made available to operators as part of the scheme. Source: Microsoft

Operators face challenges when it comes to rolling out 5G, including an increased need to scale, managing unprecedented amounts of data, and high capital expenditure (CapEx) investments.

The launch of Azure for Operators follows Microsoft’s recent acquisitions of Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks, as well as investments across Azure Edge Zones, and partnerships with operators, including AT&T and T-Mobile.

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“Today starts a new chapter in our close collaboration with the telecommunications industry to unlock the power of 5G and bring cloud and edge closer than ever,” said Jason Zander, executive vice-president at Microsoft Azure, in a blog post.

“We’re building a carrier-grade cloud and bringing more Microsoft technology to the operator’s edge. This, in combination with our developer ecosystem, will help operators to future proof their networks, drive down costs, and create new services and business models.”

Going forward, Microsoft has announced that it will leverage its participation in the 5G Innovation Lab to help create developer and commercial ecosystems for accelerating delivery of edge capabilities, such as pervasive IoT intelligence and mixed reality.

The full blog post from Microsoft announcing the launch of Azure for Operators can be found here.