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5 Things Partners Need To Know About The Microsoft- AT&T 5G Deal

The trend of software-defined networking and the opportunity to join 5G and cloud technologies made the AT&T deal appealing and gives Microsoft’s telecom cloud a leap forward, Shawn Hakl, Microsoft’s vice president of 5G strategy, tells CRN.

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Beyond The Edge

In 2019, AT&T and Microsoft worked out the start of a multiyear partnership to support each other in cloud and 5G, a pact valued at more than $2 billion.

The two giants initially unveiled plans to design, test and build edge computing capabilities by combining the global reach of Microsoft Azure with AT&T’s domestic 5G capabilities. But this week’s news goes beyond the edge, Hakl said. Here, Microsoft will supply the technology for core network operations.

“Keep in mind AT&T still runs their network,” he said. “We’re a platform company, so that hasn’t changed.”

Azure has become an integral part of Microsoft’s sales growth strategy. In April, the No. 2 cloud provider reported Azure sales were up 50 percent year over year as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to force organizations into digital transformation mode. “We are building Azure to address organizations’ needs in a multi-cloud, multi-edge world,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (pictured) said in a call with analysts at the time.

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