AT&T takes its public cloud relationships to the next level

Mary Lennighan
By Mary Lennighan

Jul 7, 2021

  • US telco furthers partnership with Google Cloud
  • Pair unveil new 5G, edge solutions for enterprises
  • AT&T Network Edge with Google Cloud to launch this year, starting in Chicago

Fresh from handing over its 5G core to Microsoft Azure, AT&T is reminding the world that its public cloud partnership strategy is most certainly not monogamous.

The US telco has been in bed with Google Cloud for the past 15 months – the pair announced they were working together on edge computing solutions last March – and this week revealed it is taking the relationship to the next level. 

AT&T and Google Cloud have developed new 5G and edge solutions for businesses in verticals such as retail, healthcare, manufacturing and entertainment.

AT&T Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) with Google Cloud is designed to enable enterprises build and run modern applications close to their end users, with the flexibility to manage data on-premises, in a customer's data centre, or in any cloud, AT&T said. It brings together the telco's existing 5G and MEC offering with Google Cloud capabilities like Kubernetes, AI, machine learning and data analytics

Meanwhile, AT&T Network Edge (ANE) with Google Cloud will enable enterprises to deploy applications at Google edge points of presence (POPs) linked via AT&T's 5G and fibre networks. It offers a low-latency compute and storage environment, promising businesses faster and more seamless customer experiences.

The companies said they aim to bring ANE with Google Cloud to market in 15 zones across major cities over the coming years, with rollout beginning in Chicago this year; deployments in Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, and San Francisco will follow.

"By combining the power of AT&T 5G and Google Cloud technologies, we are helping enterprises create new customer experiences and business services that were previously impossible," said George Nazi, Vice President, Global Telecom, Media and Entertainment Solutions at Google Cloud. "Together with AT&T, we are committed to enabling our customers to build and deliver next-generation applications, whether on-premise or on AT&T's leading mobile network."

These next-gen applications could include video analytics services to help businesses in areas such as theft prevention, crowd control and queue prediction and management, the companies noted. They also highlighted as other possible use cases: Streamlined and automated inventory management in retail; remote healthcare applications based on AR and VR; remote support and quality checks in manufacturing aided by streaming video at the edge rather than on-device; and enhanced experiences at concerts and sporting events in the entertainment sector.

The promise of applications like these forms part of the growing push for telecoms operators to embrace the public cloud. A number of major telcos are starting to make the move, and AT&T, along with domestic rival Verizon (which has multiple edge services zones up and running with AWS) is at the forefront of that movement.

- Mary Lennighan, reporting for TelecomTV

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