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Microsoft Azure yesterday announced Azure for Operators, which the company defined as a “carrier-grade cloud” that will bring Microsoft technology to the operator’s edge.

According to Microsoft, “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.”

Azure for Operators specifically targets 5G, with the goal of helping operators launch new services such as ultra-reliable low latency connectivity, mixed reality communications services, network slicing and highly scalable IoT applications.

A press release notes that Microsoft Azure’s acquisitions of Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch will help support the Azure for Operators offering.

Among the other services Microsoft Azure expects to provide for network operators are: ·

  • Control over where a slice, network API, or function is presented to the customer.
  • Definition of where and how traffic enters and exits their network.
  • Visibility and control over where key functions are executed for a given customer scenario.
  • Ability to use AI and machine learning (ML) to automate operations and create service differentiation
  • Configuration and performance parameters of core network functions.

“By exposing these services through the Azure platform, we can combine them with other Azure capabilities such as Azure Cognitive Services (used by more than 1 million developers processing more than 10 billion transactions per day), Azure Machine Learning, and Azure IoT, to bring the power of AI and automation to the delivery of network services,” said Jason Zander, Microsoft Azure executive vice president, in a blog post. “These capabilities, in concert with our partnerships with OSS and BSS providers, enables us to help operators streamline and simplify operations, create new services to monetize the network and gain greater insights into customer behavior.

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