Microsoft to “bring 5G to life” with Azure Edge carrier project

Microsoft to “bring 5G to life” with Azure Edge carrier project

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A series of carrier partnerships will see Azure Edge Zones debut in Los Angeles in late spring, with the rest of the portfolio available “to mutual customers” later this year.

Building on work in Dallas with AT&T in 2019 – which saw Microsoft become the first public cloud provider to announce 5G integration – Microsoft will now extend its collaborations to work with Etisalat, NTT Communications, Proximus, Rogers, SK Telecom, Telefonica, Telstra and Vodafone Business.   

Azure Edge Zones are available through Azure with select carriers and operators, or as private customer zones through the Azure Private Edge Zones. The full suite will be available “to mutual customers” later this year.

In addition to partnering with carriers, Microsoft will also deliver standalone Azure Edge Zones in select cities over the next 12 months, bringing Azure closer to customers and developers in highly dense areas.

“This is a uniquely challenging time across the globe as we rethink how to help organisations serve their customers and stakeholders,” said Anne Chow, chief executive officer, AT&T Business.

“Fast and intelligent mobile networks will be increasingly central to all of our lives. Combining our network knowledge and experience with Microsoft’s cloud expertise will give businesses a critical head start.”

Microsoft describes Azure Edge Zones as local extensions of Azure that can solve compute, storage and service availability issues by allowing experience-driven resources to sit closer to customers, using existing technology.

They connect Azure services directly to 5G networks in the carrier’s datacenter, allowing developers to build optimised and scalable applications using Azure, which directly connect to 5G networks, taking advantage of consistent Azure APIs and the tooling available in the public cloud.

Meanwhile, Azure Private Edge Zones are a private 5G/LTE network combined with Azure Stack Edge on-premises delivering an ultra-low latency, secure, and high bandwidth solution for organisations. This will allow customers to access smart factory/ IoT features, retail and telemedical innovations on their private mobile network.

“In collaboration with Microsoft, Rogers is delivering new and innovative solutions with our Private LTE capabilities combined with Azure Edge Zones,” said Dean Prevost, president, Rogers for Business.

“Working with Attabotics, we’re enabling Canadian businesses to transform the traditional supply model with a retail e-fulfillment solution that showcases the exciting possibilities of today and opens the door to our 5G future.”

According to a briefing from Microsoft, Azure Edge Zones and Azure Private Edge Zones deliver “consistent Azure services, app platform, and management to the edge with 5G”, unlocking new scenarios by enabling:

  • Development of distributed applications across cloud, on-premises, and edge using the same Azure Portal, APIs, development, and security tools.

  • Local data processing for latency critical industrial IoT and media services workloads.

  • Acceleration of IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and real-time analytics by optimizing, building, and innovating for robotics, automation, and mixed reality.

  • New frontiers for developers working with high-density graphics and real-time operations in industries such asx` gaming.

  • An evolving platform built with customers, carriers, and industry partnersto allow seamless integration and operation of a wide selection of Virtual Network Functions, including 5G software and SD-WAN and firewalls from technology partners such as AffirmedMavenirNuage Networks from Nokia, MetaswitchPalo Alto Networks, and VeloCloud By VMware.


Customers and partners interested in Edge Zones with AT&T can register for the early adopter program.

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