Nokia and Google Cloud team up on open, cloud native telco edge R&D
- Nokia and Google Cloud will jointly develop next-gen telco apps for edge platforms
- Partners start with cloud native 5G core functionality
- Coupling has blessing of major Tier 1 operators
- Combination highlights growing relationship between telecoms and hyperscale worlds
In a move that highlights the growing convergence of the telecom and hyperscaler worlds, Nokia and Google Cloud have forged a partnership designed to accelerate the adoption of cloud native and open applications, processes and platforms.
The two companies will jointly develop cloud native 5G core capabilities for telcos and enterprises (which are increasingly set to adopt open, cloud-oriented private networking architectures) and help make distributed cloud platform capabilities – in this case, Google Cloud’s Anthos – a critical part of next-generation communications networks.
The duo were already close collaborators: In October last year, Nokia announced it was migration its corporate digital infrastructure to Google Cloud. (See Nokia puts its faith in Google Cloud.)
Not only is this new move in line with a key trend in the industry, it has been welcomed by some of the largest and most influential operators, with the likes of Alex Choi, SVP, Strategy and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, and Neil McRae, Chief Architect at BT Group, voicing their support for the move.
And it’s worth noting that Choi sees this partnership as an enabler for the introduction of Open RAN architectures, for which Deutsche Telekom has high hopes. “Deutsche Telekom is on a journey to transform to a new open, disaggregated and cloud-native infrastructure with an automated production model. We are therefore excited to see two innovative organizations like Nokia and Google Cloud joining forces to accelerate ecosystem innovation across critical areas like Open RAN and virtual RAN and the cloud-native 5G Core,” noted Choi in a statement included in the partnership press release.
The move is also a significant boost to Nokia’s cloud native credentials, as Google Cloud would not be entering into a partnership with a company that wasn’t properly set up to have its technology running on a major public cloud platform.
The giant vendor is stumping up the following for the initial stages of the partnership: voice core, cloud packet core, network exposure function, data management, signaling, and 5G core. Nokia notes that this includes its IMPACT IoT Connected Device Platform, and its Converged Charging solution for real-time rating and charging.
It’s interesting to note, though, that it doesn’t call out its virtual and Open RAN products in the announcement, so Choi and others might be waiting a little while before those capabilities are to be found on Google Cloud.
Nokia and Google Cloud both told TelecomTV that the partnership is not limited to any specific set of products and that they are exploring all potential areas of collaboration, including Open RAN.
From the hyperscaler’s perspective, it is bringing Anthos for Telecom, its distributed managed application platform, to the party, along with all the analytics, AI and data management capabilities that come with it.
And Google Cloud already has a number of major telcos on board as partners, including Orange, Telefónica, TIM (Telecom Italia), DT’s T-Systems and Vodafone and that can only be good for Nokia too. (See Orange advances cloud, edge, AI strategy with Google.)
Nokia, of course, isn’t the first vendor to team up with Google Cloud, but it is the first major traditional comms network equipment company to strike a co-development partnership with a major public cloud company, and that makes this announcement a big deal.
And Google Cloud isn't the only hyperscaler with which Nokia has a close relationship: It previously announced, in late 2019, that any new cloud native network functions released by its Software division would be made available on AWS, but this relationship with Google Cloud looks more strategic.
And Nokia needs all the positive energy it can get right now as it undergoes a major transition under new CEO Pekka Lundmark. (See Nokia CEO preps for ‘three-year journey’ to determine future of the vendor.)
- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV
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