Telefónica gets further into bed with Google

© Flickr/cc-licence/Bob Mical

© Flickr/cc-licence/Bob Mical

  • Will market G Suite, Google Cloud Platform public cloud services, the infrastructure interconnection solution, Google Cloud Interconnect and Chrome Enterprise
  • Could there be further collaboration on telco cloud up the path?

Telefónica’s B2B arm, Telefónica Business Solutions, today announced an agreement with Google which it claims will help its business customers accelerate their  transition to the cloud, reduce costs and advance the digital transformation of their businesses. It may also be the basis on which a Google cloud partnership might do the same for Telefónica by enabling it to scale its own telco cloud by using a mix of private and public (Google’s) cloud infrastructure.  

Telefónica already has a multi-cloud offering and says Google’s public cloud service will be a welcome addition.

“This new comprehensive service set aims to deliver customers an integrated solution which, when combined with security and communications, allows companies to enjoy a differential end-to-end experience. In addition, Telefónica's multi cloud portal enables companies to simplify the complexity of their hybrid cloud environments including public, local and private clouds, unifying them into a single, simple, secure and flexible management environment,” the company claims.

The global agreement with Google builds on a local agreement between Telefónica Spain and Google signed last year for the marketing of Google’s G Suite. This involves Google's  collaboration and productivity applications so that, with the addition of Telefónica’s voice services, the telco has the ability to create a virtual workplace offering for its business customers.

Telefónica will also globally market the Google Cloud Platform public cloud services, the infrastructure interconnection solution Google Cloud Interconnect and Chrome Enterprise which includes the most relevant business tools companies require to work easily in the cloud.

According to Hugo de los Santos, Global B2B Director of Products and Services at Telefónica, "Our customers demand a complete multi cloud offering that allows them to use the most appropriate products and services from each cloud. Those offered by Google Cloud also perfectly complement our cloud product portfolio and will help us improve our value proposition to companies by distinguishing themselves through their Artificial Intelligence and machine learning capabilities."

Hybrid cloud deals are the way forward

This sort of technology and marketing relationship with the cloud giants is increasingly being urged as the way forward for those telcos who see themselves on the journey to digital service provider status. Rather than compete directly with the big cloud players and their huge scale advantages - not just in their server and location totals but, perhaps more importantly, in terms of the sheer depth of their cloud and cloud applications expertise - a better course is to strike strategic relationships.

According to Metaswitch CTO, Martin Taylor, talking with Martyn Warwick at TelecomTV’s DSP Leaders Forum recently, we may think our big telcos have a certain scale, but with literally thousands of developers beavering away on cloud software and applications, the big cloud players can’t be beaten on much needed cloud technical expertise.

“Telcos have struggled somewhat to build the ‘telco cloud’ on which to run virtualized network functions - it’s a difficult thing to do; the tools that they have like Openstack are hard to work with and they’ve found it expensive to hire the kinds of people that know how to run this sort of stuff. And frankly they’re (telcos) subscale compared with the likes of Google... which has the expertise to build a stack that is incredibly rich, powerful, attractive to developers, but also very cost effective to operate because there’s a tremendous amount of automation in there.”

So if big telcos can embrace the public cloud providers there can be at least a two way street relationship. In Telefonica’s case Google’s services are completing a telco business offering and Google’s cloud infrastructure and cloud expertise are possibly set to play a role in Telefonica’s virtualisation goals.

This Google move is aligned with Telefonica’s move last month to divest some of its data centre estate. It sold 11 of its 23 facilities to Asterion Industrial Partners for €550 million.  Telefónica will continue to provide and manage the services it has been offering its customers from the centres but the asset transfer means Asterion can use Telefonica Group’s sales network to market the remaining capacity. It’s all part of a process of working out what you’re good at and what gets the best return on capital - then striking deals and shuffling assets accordingly.

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