Lumen Technologies announced a strategic partnership today with Microsoft involving Microsoft Azure cloud services. Microsoft Azure capabilities will be extended into Lumen’s edge computing infrastructure and each company will become a preferred partner of the other.
The Lumen Microsoft Azure deal is aimed at enabling mutual customers to run Microsoft-based solutions “closer to where digital interactions are occurring using the global Edge Computing services of Lumen.”
Lumen has been investing heavily in edge computing. Two years ago, the company committed to an edge computing investment of several hundred million dollars.
The company frequently touts the low latency of its infrastructure, which according to the company, can meet 95% of U.S. enterprise demand with five milliseconds of latency.
“By deeply integrating more of our platform services with Microsoft Azure, we can help businesses quickly utilize their data for the insights they want and need, with the ability to support unique and customized use cases,” said Shaun Andrews, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Lumen, in a press release.
Of the three remaining communications service providers that can trace their roots back to the regional Bell companies – AT&T, Verizon and Lumen/CenturyLink – only Lumen lacks a mobile business. Nevertheless, the company has found opportunities to benefit from the shift toward mobile communications.
The company recently struck a deal with T-Mobile to provide edge computing capabilities to the wireless company at a time when edge computing is seen as critical to maximizing the benefits of 5G wireless services.
Today’s release references another wireless opportunity for Lumen based around private 5G networks that “would leverage the cloud-native software capabilities of Microsoft and the Lumen fiber network and edge computing capabilities.”
According to Lumen, these capabilities would “allow customers to optimize their wireless networks and push workloads even closer to digital interactions.”
Private 5G networks use 5G technology deployed at an enterprise customer’s location for the customer’s exclusive use. While some enterprises obtained licenses for spectrum to support their 5G networks, others are using spectrum in the CBRS band that is available for use on an unlicensed basis.
The private, secure nature of private 5G is expected to appeal to enterprise customers and private 5G is seen as an important growth opportunity for service providers as well as other technology providers.
Verizon previously announced a similar deal with Microsoft involving private 5G.