Telcos flock to Google for enterprise edge, while Google gets in on telco 5G act

Mary Lennighan
By Mary Lennighan

Mar 5, 2020

via Flickr © Ed Dunens (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © Ed Dunens (CC BY 2.0)

  • TIM formalises cloud, edge deal with Google Cloud
  • Aims to turn over €1 billion in technology services in five years
  • T-Systems also inks cloud deal with Google
  • Google Cloud presents new strategy for telco space...
  • And signs up AT&T

Google underscored its position as a key partner to the telecoms sector this week, with a number of partnership announcements for Google Cloud and the launch of its new telecoms industry strategy, designed – it claims – to help telcos tap into the opportunities afforded them by digital transformation.

European telcos got the ball rolling. First up TIM, which on Wednesday signed a formal technology collaboration agreement with Google Cloud, having inked an MoU on the subject late last year. In a nutshell, the companies will work together to build public private and hybrid cloud services, boosting TIM's position in cloud and edge computing in the enterprise market.

The headline figure is that TIM believes the tie-up will help it to boost revenues from technology services to €1 billion by 2024, generating €400 million in earnings.

To put that in context, cloud services – along with security, IT and other B2B services – are categorised as ICT services on TIM's financial report and together generated €618 million in revenues in the first nine months of 2019. The telco is due to present its full-year report next week.

Deals with European operators are a boon for Google as it seeks to develop its credentials as a cloud provider in the telco space, as fellow cloud hyperscalers Microsoft and Amazon have done before it. Cause for celebration then, when Germany's T-Systems on Thursday announced a partnership with Google Cloud that broadly mirrors the TIM arrangement, albeit with a bit less edge.

Specifically, the pair said their aim is to help enterprise customers with digitisation and improve business processes with the cloud. T-Systems plans to set up a Google Cloud competence centre that will focus on large-scale workload migrations to the cloud, SAP application modernisation, development of new AI and ML solutions, and solutions for data warehouse and data analytics in the cloud, it said. Key industries at the start will be manufacturing, automotive, logistics and public sector.

Of course, telcos have the option of going it alone – or at least without the big cloud providers – in the cloud and edge computing space, as shown by the GSMA's recently unveiled Telco Edge Cloud Platform, which is designed amongst other things to enable telcos to broaden their geographic reach. But as partnership deals with the big Web firms come thick and fast, the GSMA will have to work quickly if it is to gain any traction. We have heard similar before in this industry, methinks...

The likes of Google will not move slowly.

Google Cloud on Thursday unveiled its strategy for the telecoms industry, noting the pressure on telcos to embrace digital transformation. Its three-pronged strategy covers the monetisation of 5G; customer engagement through data-driven experiences; and improving operational efficiencies. There will be more from TelecomTV on this new strategy in the coming days, but for now suffice it to point out a highlight in the area of 5G: the unveiling of its Global Mobile Edge Cloud (GMEC) strategy.

Google Cloud said it will work with telcos to build 5G solutions, and will develop an open cloud platform for developing network-centric applications and a global distributed edge for deploying these solutions. It also announced a partnership with AT&T that will bring together the telco's network capabilities at the edge, including 5G, with Google Cloud's tech capabilities, including AI/ML and edge computing.

It's worth pointing out that AT&T signed a broad partnership with Microsoft nine months ago, a deal that effectively serves as a mutual on-ramp into each other's environments to get them closer to customers.

The telcos and the big cloud companies really appear to be on the edge of something here. Expect the partnership announcements to keep coming.

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.