Microsoft and AT&T announced today that AT&T is moving its existing and future 5G mobile networks to Microsoft Azure. Microsoft will also acquire the Network Cloud technology and workforce from AT&T as part of the deal.
“AT&T has one of the world’s most powerful global backbone networks serving hundreds of millions of subscribers,” AT&T executive vice president and chief technology officer Andre Fuetsch says. “Our Network Cloud team has proved that running a network in the cloud drives speed, security, cost improvements, and innovation.”
The deal will provide Microsoft with access to AT&T’s intellectual property and the technical expertise it needs to grow Azure for Operators, its telecom offering. And it will bring real-world production 5G workloads to Azure for Operators, the software giant says.
AT&T will continue to operate its network and retain its customer relationships, of course. But by leveraging Microsoft’s “hybrid and hyperscale infrastructure,” AT&T says it will substantially reduce engineering and development costs, while providing it with early access to new Microsoft’s cloud, AI, and edge technologies.
Microsoft, meanwhile, will become responsible for the software development and deployment of AT&T’s Network Cloud effective immediately. And it will port AT&T’s existing network cloud to Azure over the next three years.
No financial terms are provided.