Microsoft has announced that it will acquire AT&T’s Network Cloud technology and intellectual property. The company also made job offers to thousands of AT&T engineers.
In return, AT&T will move its 5G mobile network to Azure. This partnership is built on an existing deal of $2 billion where AT&T moved its back-end office to Microsoft Azure. Microsoft became the preferred cloud provider of AT&T for "non-network applications," many of which will now be migrated to Azure. It is widely believed that AT&T will run the majority of its 5G and IT on Microsoft Azure through the division it has decided to sell to Microsoft.
“AT&T has one of the world’s most powerful global backbone networks serving hundreds of millions of subscribers," AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch said. "Our Network Cloud team has proved that running a network in the cloud drives speed, security, cost improvements, and innovation. Microsoft’s decision to acquire these assets is a testament to AT&T’s leadership in network virtualization, culture of innovation, and realization of a telco-grade cloud stack."
Microsoft is believed to make the team and IP part of its wider Azure for Operators division and provide the technology to other companies.
“With Azure, operators can provide a more flexible and scalable service model, save infrastructure cost, and use AI to automate operations and differentiate customer offerings,” Jason Zander, Azure EVP at Microsoft, said.
"Through our collaboration with AT&T, Microsoft will expand its telecom portfolio to support operators with a carrier-grade cloud that provides seamless experiences across Microsoft’s cloud and the operator’s network.”