AT&T is looking at using Microsoft Azure resources to bring network edge compute (NEC) capabilities into the AT&T 5G network.

The carrier is testing if Azure can help reduce latency and improve the user experience with advanced cloud services deployed in specific geographic locations closer to business sites.

According to AT&T, a fully-scaled deployment will give businesses access to compute power, lower latency and optimized network routing without the need for dedicated on-premises hardware, making it ideal for retail, healthcare, public safety, manufacturing and entertainment customers, among others.

To advance the potential for NEC services, AT&T said it is creating a NEC environment at the AT&T Foundry in Plano, Texas. There, AT&T said it will co-create new, solutions with enterprise and public safety customers. The AT&T team in Plano worked with the AT&T Foundry in Israel to identify a startup that could enhance their solutions via NEC. The collaborators identified Israel-based Vorpal Ltd. for that purpose and is now testing solutions with Vorpal.

“We’re creating new ways for our customers to directly access a multitude of cloud options closer to where they do business,” said Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer, AT&T Business, in a prepared statement. “Using the blazing speeds of our fiber, LTE and 5G mobile connections, we’re paving the way for how low-latency pathways to cloud services like Microsoft Azure can accelerate business transformation – for both enterprise and small business applications.”

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Azure Networking, Microsoft Corp. added: “Our collaboration will pave the way to enable Microsoft Azure cloud services to connect to more customers and devices across the U.S. through AT&T’s nationwide wireless network.  Our two companies are working together to achieve the low latency connectivity needed for the explosion of devices and immense amount of data being created by computing at the edge.”

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