Yousef Khalidi, Microsoft’s chief vice president of Azure networking, told CRN in an interview that partners will serve an important role in Microsoft and operators such as AT&T bringing new edge and 5G products to market.
Microsoft announced a host of updates to its 5G and edge products suite this week – including expanded access to Azure public multi-access edge compute (MEC) – during the MWC Barcelona mobile communications trade show.
MWC, also known as Mobile World Congress, is held in Barcelona in person this year from Feb. 28 to March 3.
“Both on the private MEC and the public MEC, there is definitely a need for the partner ecosystem beyond the” independent software vendors (ISVs),” Khalidi said in a phone interview. “Some of these solutions require a certain amount of integration that only partners can really get to get done.”
Accenture, Atos, Capgemini, Cognizant, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Tech Mahindra are among the global system integrators working with Microsoft on 5G offerings, according to the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant.
The competition over cloud-enabled 5G and edge technologies appears to be heating up between the major cloud providers, with Microsoft and cloud rivals Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud.
Both Microsoft and AWS have made major investments in growing their telecommunications offerings. AWS is participating in multiple sessions around 5G and cloud at MWC Barcelona. AWS CEO Adam Selipsky has told CRN that telecommunications is a vertical of interest. Selipsky will deliver a keynote address during MWC March 1.
Last summer, Microsoft and AT&T reached a deal that brings the carrier’s 5G workloads to the Azure for Operators platform and gives AT&T access to Microsoft cloud, artificial intelligence and edge technology to assist with launching new 5G-enabled services.
In November, AWS announced a preview of its private 5G managed service offering.
AT&T and Google, widely regarded as the No. 3 cloud behind AWS and Microsoft, also announced joint 5G and edge offerings last year.
Here’s what Khalidi had to say about Microsoft diving deeper into 5G and edge.