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Azure for Operators – Building the Cloud Native Telco with Microsoft

For next generation Telco network capabilities Microsoft offers a broad and deep suite of solutions, headlined by 'Operator Nexus', a carrier-grade and hybrid platform built to empower telecom operators to modernize and transform their networks.

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Cloud Native Software Engineering

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

This includes standard Azure capabilities as well as some tailored specifically for telecommunications, such as a 5G Core.

It’s an especially potent field of innovation for both the Cloud and Telco industries, as it’s a major paradigm shift for telecomms to shift from traditional, hardware-centric networks to a software-based one in the Cloud.

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.

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

In this video Martin Lund, CVP of Azure for Operators at Microsoft, outlines the company’s partner-first plans and explains what’s different about Microsoft’s approach to working in the telco networking space.

Operator Nexus: Platform for the Cloud Native Telco

For the core Telco network capabilities offers a broad and deep suite of solutions, headlined by initiatives such as ‘Operator Nexus‘, a carrier-grade and hybrid platform, built to empower telecom operators to modernize and transform their networks, presented in this video.

This enables operators to use cloud technology to modernize and monetize their network investments—lowering total cost of ownership (TCO), driving operational efficiency and resiliency with advanced AI and automation, and improving the security of highly distributed, software-based networks.

As described in this case study Three UK is their 5G network and the power of AIOps, focusing on enhancing the customer experience for data services such as streaming, gaming, and social media, utilizing Azure Operator Insights to expand their network capabilities, providing gamers with the most dynamic and innovative user experience.

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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