AT&T will move its 5G core network to the Microsoft cloud. The switch means Microsoft’s Azure Cloud provides a path for all of AT&T’s mobile network traffic to be managed using Microsoft Azure technologies.
As is typical for many outsourcing deals, the provider of the outsourced functionality also will absorb AT&T employees who presently operate the function.
As part of the deal, Microsoft will gain access to AT&T’s intellectual property and technical expertise to grow its telecom flagship offering, Azure for Operators.
Microsoft also is acquiring AT&T’s carrier-grade Network Cloud platform technology, which AT&T’s 5G core network runs on. AT&T’s Network Cloud platform has been running AT&T’s 5G core at scale since the company launched 5G in 2018.
Unlike some outsourcing deals, AT&T will continue to operate its core network, using Microsoft as the hardware platform. AT&T expects the deal will reduce its engineering and software development costs.
Microsoft will assume responsibility for both software development and deployment of AT&T’s Network Cloud immediately and bring AT&T’s existing network cloud to Azure over the next three years, AT&T says.