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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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Microsoft Partners Key For Go-To-Market

Hakl said a key attraction for AT&T in the deal was the vast ecosystem of partners that comes with Microsoft.

“Telcos are a big ecosystem. We’re bringing the whole ecosystem with us as we do this and that’s an important part of this. That’s what makes it distinct,” he said.

“Microsoft’s traditional strength is being able to leverage that broad partner ecosystem,” he continued. “That strategy hasn’t changed. We’re not changing what Microsoft does here. That playbook works pretty well everywhere else. We fully expected that partner approach to work very well with Azure for Operators.”

“We already have a very large B2B partner ecosystem and a very large application ecosystem,” he said. “We feel that we’ve got a unique perspective on how to bring that to the table and help the operators.”

Hakl said software-based technology should make integration easier and create an open, interoperable ecosystem for telecom operators.

He also hopes that a programmable interface with the network gives Microsoft developer partners access and helps carriers monetize their networks.

“As the carrier gets a more software-driven, programmable network, they can expose that upward through APIs,” he said. “And that lets people build services on top of that, which allows them both to monetize the 5G. It creates a whole new set of applications and ecosystems for people to manage and deploy and bring their own intellectual property to the table.”

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