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Microsoft unveils Azure for Operators to unlock 5G potential

Service will help operators to future-proof networks and drive down costs

Microsoft has announced a new cloud platform called Azure for Operators that has been designed to help telecommunications operators unlock the full potential of 5G

The new offering will help communication service providers create new opportunities and provide core infrastructure, the Redmond giant says, using cloud, cellular and edge to create the lowest latency and largest reach for a low cost.

Ultimately, Azure for Operators aims to help providers create advanced industry solutions based on connections to AI, signature consumer experiences with new forms of mixed reality content, as well as an ecosystem of developers that can quickly leverage 5G network opportunities. 

"We're building a carrier-grade cloud and bringing more Microsoft technology to the operator’s edge,” commented Jason Zander, Executive Vice President of Microsoft Azure, in a blog post

"This, in combination with our developer ecosystem, will help operators to future-proof their networks, drive down costs, and create new services and business models.”

Building on its acquisitions of Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch, Microsoft says the move will enable operators to offer a wide range of services such as ultra-reliable, low-latency connectivity, mixed reality communications services, network slicing, as well as highly scalable Internet of Things (IoT) apps.

With Azure, businesses can also implement a more flexible and scalable model, bring down infrastructure cost, as well as automate operations using AI and machine learning to differentiate their services.

Microsoft also highlighted that it will support operators as they evolve their infrastructure and operations using tech such as software-defined networking, network function virtualisation and service-based architectures.  

"We are bringing to market a carrier-grade platform for edge and cloud to support the operator’s goals to future proof their infrastructure with disaggregated, and containerised network architectures," Zander added. 

"Recognising that not everything will move to the public cloud, we will meet operators where they are—whether at the enterprise edge, the network edge, or in the cloud."

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