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AT&T integrating 5G capability with Microsoft cloud

AT&T announces plans to provide availability for Network Edge Compute (NEC) technology, bringing Microsoft Azure cloud services into its network edge locations closer to customers

Accelerating the telco’s plans to become a public cloud first and ramping up its previously announced relationship with the IT giant, Microsoft and AT&T are opening select preview availability for Network Edge Compute (NEC) technology, bringing Microsoft Azure cloud services into AT&T network edge locations.

The partnership began with the aim of enabling new 5G, cloud and edge computing systems within global enterprises, and Microsoft acting as the preferred cloud provider for AT&T’s non-network applications as part of a broader public cloud first strategy.

This has evolved to the point where AT&T’s software-defined and virtualised 5G core – what the company calls the Network Cloud – will now be capable of delivering Azure services. These will initially be available for a limited set of select customers in Dallas with Los Angeles and Atlanta are targeted for select customer availability in 2020

AT&T serves parts of 21 US cities with its 5G network using millimetre wave spectrum (5G+) and plans to offer nationwide 5G in the first half of 2020.

Looking at use cases, the companies also revealed that through the AT&T Foundry, AT&T and Microsoft are exploring proofs-of-concept including augmented and virtual reality scenarios and drones. For example, both companies are working with Israeli start-up Vorpal, helping its VigilAir product track drones in commercial zones, airports, and other areas with near-instant positioning.

The companies also recently demoed using Microsoft HoloLens to provide 3D schematic overlays for technicians making repairs to airplanes and other industrial equipment.

“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, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at 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.”

“We are helping AT&T light up a wide range of unique solutions powered by Microsoft’s cloud, both for its business and our mutual customers in a secure and trusted way,” added Corey Sanders, corporate vice-president of Microsoft 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.”

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