With the announcement of Azure for Operators, Microsoft has outlined a vision and strategy to unlock the power of 5G and bring cloud and edge closer than ever, opening new opportunities for service providers all over the world.
Microsoft’s recent acquisitions of Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch, while a surprise to some in the telecommunications industry, signaled Microsoft’s long-term commitment to telecommunications industry. Telcom executives naturally had a lot of questions: What were Microsoft’s plans for 5G? How would the new acquisitions align with Microsoft’s cloud strategies? Would Microsoft’s presence accelerate the arrival of 5G? Is Microsoft looking to compete or partner with telecommunications service providers?
Today, we can answer those questions.
On September 28, Microsoft for Telecommunications hosted its inaugural Telecommunications Executive Forum. This live event showcased Microsoft’s strategy, roadmap, and technology for 5G—some of it unveiled publicly for the first time. Attendees heard about Microsoft’s vision for 5G edge computing, cloud-based telecommunications, IoT, and a lot more. (Read more about Azure for Operators).
For Affirmed, it’s an exciting time to be a part of Microsoft. Our decision to join the Microsoft family was driven by the fact that both companies shared a unique vision for 5G and, together, could accelerate that vision. So far, the experience together has been overwhelmingly positive. Our customers are more excited about 5G than ever before, and our recent customer successes validate the vision that Microsoft and Affirmed share for the future.
Since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen more and more telco operators around the world not just testing 5G technologies but embracing them:
- In Finland, home to the world’s highest consumers of mobile services, DNA is replacing their legacy mobile core with a 5G core to serve up high-speed, high-bandwidth connections and meet consumers’ ever-expanding appetite for mobile services.
- In Latin America, Millicom is moving to a cloud-based, 5G-ready mobile core to roll out new edge-based services to their customers such as augmented/virtual reality experiences and IoT applications.
- In the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, Etisalat is leveraging next-generation network automation and orchestration as they continue to roll out 5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC) services.
- In Sweden, Netmore is adopting 5G technologies to gain an early market lead on private enterprise services and IoT applications across Europe.
Bringing together the industry’s first cloud-native mobile platform and the world’s second-largest public cloud network provides telco operators with a clear, proven, accelerated path to 5G services in the cloud. Microsoft’s announcement to build a comprehensive cloud platform for 5G service providers is a game-changer for telcos. As for Affirmed, being a part of Microsoft expands the kinds of solutions we can offer our customers, including the option to consume a cloud-based mobile core platform as a service on world’s most advanced cloud computing platform.
A merger is often compared to a marriage. After the initial honeymoon, the real test of the relationship begins as you discover how well you work together. What we’ve discovered is that all the things that attracted us to Microsoft are the same things that make us stronger together. We’re both one hundred percent committed to the cloud as the next-generation platform for telecommunications. The unmatched flexibility the cloud platform offers—from on-prem deployments to mobile core as a service—enables operators to evolve at their own pace. We both believe edge computing is integral to the success of 5G. We believe in open standards that invite innovation. We both believe in partnering, not competing, with service providers. And, most importantly, we share the same goals and dreams for the future.
In the days and months that follow, you’ll see that future unfolding. You will see how Microsoft, Affirmed, and Metaswitch teams are working together on a diversity of offerings. Microsoft’s Azure platform is a critical piece of the telecommunications industry’s future, and we’re proud to be an important part of that. For Affirmed, it’s been a long and interesting journey from a start-up with a vision of a cloud-native mobile core to being an instrumental part of Microsoft’s vision for the future of telecommunications.
The best is yet to come. We can’t wait to get started.