AT&T and Microsoft launches Azure Edge Zone in Atlanta

AT&T and Microsoft launches Azure Edge Zone in Atlanta

18 November 2021 | Natalie Bannerman

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AT&T and Microsoft have partnered to deliver a private preview of the first Azure Edge Zone in Atlanta.

Specifically, the collaboration will combine AT&T's 5G, via its AT&T Network Edge (ANE) capabilities with the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. In doing so customers of all sizes will be able to access powerful processing and graphical capabilities in the cloud using 5G.

“The power of 5G is about more than just speed. It’s about harnessing ultra-fast and ultra-responsive connectivity to distributed cloud technology for entirely new experiences," said Andre Fuetsch (pictured), chief technology officer, AT&T Network Services

"As compute expands beyond centralised systems and out to the edge of the 5G network, companies and consumers now essentially have supercomputer capabilities in the air around them. From lightweight virtual reality interfaces that can be used by anyone from gamers to first responders, to hyper-precise location tools for industrial applications and warehousing, the edge is transformative. Our deep collaboration with Microsoft is designed to help customers make that leap and start creating the future.”

With Atlanta as the first location to come online, there are a number of companies already working with both AT&T and Microsoft businesses to help them create new experiences for their customers. These include JamKazam, a provider of low-latency audio and video streaming as well as the AT&T 5G Innovation Studio which worked with Microsoft Azure and EVA to deliver an important advancement for US-based autonomous drones.

The news forms part of a wider investment strategy for the city of Atlanta where Microsoft’s new facility and $75 million dollar workplace will focus on AI and cloud services, creating 1,500 new jobs in the area.

"With new use cases and connected devices becoming ubiquitous, those enterprises are requiring new edge application solutions close to the end users to help them build innovative solutions within industries as diverse as gaming, automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, and more," said Jason Zander executive vice president of Microsoft Azure in a blog post.

"Microsoft and AT&T’s deep collaboration meets these needs by supporting our mutual customers’ digital transformation and evolution. We’re bringing our collective cloud and network technologies and expertise to light in areas such as 5G, AI, and IoT—to improve the ways in which people live and work."

In related news, AT&T's senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, Pascal Desroches, provided an update to the company's shareholders during the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.

He said that AT&T’s go-to-market strategy, which has led to wireless service revenue and EBITDA growth, is sustainable and that the company continues to expect fourth-quarter EBITDA growth to exceed third-quarter levels.

In addition, the company’s simplified plans, improved customer experience and network performance have driven its ability to retain subscribers, which has reduced churn and increased customer lifetime value. 

ARPU levels are expected to stabilize in 2022 due to an anticipated recovery in international roaming revenues and continued subscriber adoption of higher-ARPU plans.

As for its pending WarnerMedia deal with Discovery, the company continues to expect the transaction to close by mid-2022.