Google Cloud and Nokia partner to build cloud-native 5G Core and Edge Networking
Google Cloud, Nokia partner to accelerate cloud-native 5G readiness for communication service providers:
- Google Cloud and Nokia will jointly develop cloud-native 5G core solutions for communication service providers and enterprise customers
- New partnership will deliver cloud capabilities to the network edge to accelerate enterprise digital transformation
Google Cloud and Nokia today announced a global, strategic partnership to bring new solutions for communications service providers (CSPs) that modernize their network infrastructures, build on a cloud-native 5G Core, and develop the network edge as a business services platform for enterprises.
The agreement, which comes three months after Nokia said it will move its on-premises IT infrastructure to Google Cloud, blends multiple technology platforms and services into a more comprehensive and integrated offering, according to the companies.
Google Cloud and Nokia will work closely to validate, optimize and evolve cloud-native network functions, and the two companies will also co-innovate new solutions that will help CSPs deliver 5G connectivity and services at scale.
Today, global CSPs can unlock new monetization opportunities by driving 5G connectivity and advanced services to enterprise customers at the network edge, to deliver new, digital experiences for consumers. Google Cloud and Nokia will create solutions that bring together Nokia’s 5G operations services and networking capabilities with Google Cloud’s leading technologies in AI, ML and analytics, running on Anthos as a platform for shifting workloads to the network edge, across public and private clouds.
As part of this collaboration, Nokia is supplying its voice core, cloud packet core, network exposure function, data management, signaling, and 5G core. This includes Nokia’s IMPACT IoT Connected Device Platform, which enables automated, zero-touch activation and allows for remote management of IoT devices, as well as Nokia’s Converged Charging solution provides real-time rating and charging capabilities that enable CSPs to capture new revenue opportunities from the 5G economy.
Google Cloud’s Anthos for Telecom will serve as the platform for deploying applications, enabling CSPs to build an ecosystem of services that are deployable anywhere, from the edge of the network, to public clouds, private clouds and carrier networks. Anthos is an open hybrid and multi-cloud application platform that offers telecommunications companies the flexibility to modernize existing applications, build new ones and securely run them on-premises and across multiple clouds.
By delivering cloud-native applications at the edge, businesses can benefit from lower latency and reduce the need for costly, on-site infrastructure, enabling them to transform their businesses in industries such as smart retail, connected manufacturing and digital consumer experiences.
In general, Google Cloud is focusing on three strategic areas to support telecommunications companies:
- Helping telecommunications companies monetize 5G as a business services platform.
- Empowering them to better engage their customers through data-driven experiences.
- Assisting them in improving operational efficiencies across core telecom systems.
In December, Google Cloud announced an ecosystem of over 30 partners that will serve more than 200 partner applications at the edge. Google Cloud has more than 2,000 locations globally where it can help service providers monetize their infrastructures.
Adding Nokia as another partner will help Google Cloud modernize telcos’ infrastructures by tapping into 5G connectivity as well as cloud-native applications and capabilities from the 5G network core to the edge.
Note yet again, there are no standards for 5G Core, let alone a cloud-native version. In the References below, we list 5G cloud-native core white papers from Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung.
“Through our partnership we can give customers choice and simplicity in interfacing with Google Cloud and Nokia systems. In many cases, we can provide pre-integrated solutions from Google Cloud and Nokia, which may offer a time-to-market advantage and a more seamless path to 5G for communications service providers,” a Google Cloud spokesperson wrote in response to questions. “At a high level, our approach to supporting the telecommunications industry will span multiple partnerships, geographies, and technology layers,” the Google Cloud spokesperson said.
George Nazi, VP, Telco, Media & Entertainment Industry Solutions at Google Cloud, said: “Communications service providers have a tremendous opportunity ahead of them to support businesses’ digital transformations at the network edge through both 5G connectivity and cloud-native applications and capabilities. Doing so requires modernized infrastructure, built for a cloud-native 5G core, and we’re proud to partner with Nokia to help the telecommunications industry expand and support these customers.”
Alex Choi, SVP, Strategy and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, said: “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.”
Neil McRae, Chief Architect at BT Group, said: “BT is deploying cloud-native technologies across our platform, creating value for our customers and ensuring they get the best network experience in every aspect of their daily lives, whether at home, on the move or at work. The network and the services that our customers depend upon in their everyday lives can be further enhanced in terms of scalability, reliability, and experience with cloud-native technologies. BT is excited that Google and Nokia are innovating together to help accelerate new, on-demand edge and convergence solutions, creating new possibilities for consumers and enterprises.”
Ron Haberman, CTO of Cloud and Network Services at Nokia, said: “In the past five years, the telecom industry has evolved from physical appliances to virtual network functions and now cloud-native solutions. Nokia is excited to work with Google Cloud in service of our customers, both CSPs and enterprise, to provide choice and freedom to run workloads on premise and in the public cloud. Cloud-native network functions and automation will enable new agility and use-cases in the 5G era.”
Google Cloud’s telecommunications Strategy
2 thoughts on “Google Cloud and Nokia partner to build cloud-native 5G Core and Edge Networking”
Nice news. Several compliments to Nokia for the recent alliance with Google Cloud and good luck for their future 5G endeavors.
“The goal here is to work with the carriers,” explained Sunay Tripathi, Google’s new director and head of products for telecom and the “distributed cloud edge.”
Tripathi, who spoke at a 5G Future Forum event here, typified the new trend: He cut his teeth at Sun Microsystems before helping to found software-defined networking company Pluribus Networks. For the past three years, he was the CTO of Deutsche Telekom’s MobiledgeX. According to his LinkedIn profile, he joined Google in July. “We are rearchitecting a lot of the underlying network, and that creates a lot of opportunity,” Tripathi explained.
Google, Microsoft and Amazon have long played in the telecom industry as software, IT and cloud suppliers. And like most modern enterprises across all industries, mobile network operators have increasingly pushed their IT operations into the public cloud.
But during the past two years, Google, Microsoft and Amazon have all begun developing cloud computing products specifically designed to host wireless providers’ network functions. Whether it’s Microsoft’s Azure for Operators or Google’s Anthos for Telecom, it’s intended to get network operators to put their crown jewels – their core network functions – into a hyperscale cloud.
And it’s something all three cloud companies are serious about, judging from their telecom hiring sprees or their acquisitions in the space. Microsoft, for example, last year spent an estimated $1.8 billion buying longtime telecom vendors Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks.
New ideas and new disruption
According to analysts, the entry of the public cloud hyperscalers represents a major new strategic turn in the industry, considering network operators have historically retained tight control over their networking systems. And though most have been moving toward cloud technologies they own and operate, few have agreed to run their networking software in a public cloud operated by a hyperscaler.
“In outsourcing the infrastructure to cloud providers, telcos risk losing control of different aspects of their network and technology roadmap over the long term,” warned analyst Frank Rayal of Xona Partners in a post to his website titled “How telcos outsourced their brains.”
Nonetheless, there are increasing indications that operators around the world are more than open to the idea. “The technologies that we will build [with the cloud] will let others consume our network,” explained Luciano Ramos, SVP of network development, planning and engineering for Rogers Comunications in Canada.
Indeed, AT&T recently announced it would transition its 5G core network operations into Microsoft’s cloud over the next three years. And Dish Network plans to run all of its network operations in the Amazon Web Services cloud.
According to Rakuten’s outspoken mobile chief, Tareq Amin, it’s ultimately necessary. He said he designed Rakuten’s mobile network in Japan to natively run in the cloud, and that it required a major shift in his team’s thinking. “I wanted to pick the right mentality” when staffing up Rakuten Mobile, he said. “It was easier to deploy cloud because the Rakuten people wanted to be open to new ideas,” he said. “They were open to new ideas and new disruption.”
Amin made his comments during a keynote address at the MWC LA show here. He made sure to point out that Rakuten Mobile in Japan now counts around 5 million customers, and boasts leading network metrics. It was essentially Amin’s victory lap after announcing his plan to build such a network just a few years ago, at the MWC Barcelona show in 2019.
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