Microsoft has strengthened the 5G credentials of its Azure public cloud platform through the acquisition of Metaswitch Networks.

Metaswitch Networks is a specialist in virtualised network software and voice, data and communications services for operators. Its technology and expertise will be used to expand Microsoft Azure’s telecoms portfolio as demand for cloud-based 5G core services increases.

5G promises ultrafast speeds, enhanced capacity and ultra-low latency that will enable a whole host of new business, consumer and government applications. This is a significant opportunity for mobile operators to increase and diversify revenue streams.

Microsoft 5G

However 5G requires operators to rearchitect networks away from centralised, legacy core infrastructure and towards the cloud. By virtualising network functions, operators can rollout new services more rapidly, dynamically allocate resources to where they are most needed, and bring processing capabilities closer to the point of collection.

The cloud also helps operators reduce their operating costs and lower capital expenditure. In addition to the potential new revenue streams on offer, 5G will also lower the cost-per-bit of transmission.

Microsoft says the acquisition of Metaswitch Networks, along with the earlier purchase of Affirmed Networks, will help it better serve operator customers and partner with telecoms equipment manufacturers.

“The convergence of cloud and communication networks presents a unique opportunity for Microsoft to serve operators globally via continued investment in Azure, adding additional depth to our hyperscale cloud infrastructure with the specialized software required to run virtualized communication functions, applications and networks,” explained Yoused Kahalidi, head of Azure Networking at Microsoft.

“As the industry moves to 5G, operators will have opportunities to advance the virtualization of their core networks and move forward on a path to an increasingly cloud-native future. Microsoft will continue to meet customers where they are, working together with the industry as operators and network equipment providers evolve their own operations.”

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