As part of the multiyear alliance announced early this year, Microsoft and AT&T are announcing 5G network edge locations that are capable of delivering Azure cloud services. AT&T is calling them Network Edge Compute (NEC) technology. NEC will be available for a limited set of customers in Dallas. Next year, it will be available for select customers in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
“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, EVP and chief marketing officer, 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,” said Corey Sanders, corporate vice president, 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.”
AT&T and Microsoft also announced that they are exploring proofs-of-concept powered by 5G NEC for AR and VR use cases and drones. For example, the companies recently demoed using Microsoft HoloLens to provide 3D schematic overlays for technicians making repairs to airplanes and other industrial equipment.
Apart from 5G related partnership, Microsoft is also helping AT&T become a “public-cloud first” company. As previously announced, AT&T is migrating most non-network workloads to the public cloud by 2024. Also, AT&T has begun rolling out of Microsoft 365 to tens of thousands of employees to improve productivity.
AT&T and Microsoft will share more details on their partnership over the coming months and years.