O2 UK and Microsoft to test MEC in a Private 5G Network

UK mobile network operator O2 (Telefónica UK)  has partnered with Microsoft to test the benefits of on-premise Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) within a Private 5G network, with a focus on low latency and security.

The MEC Proof of Concept (PoC) involves technology running on Microsoft Azure, which will be the first Azure deployment using a UK Private 5G network. It is  designed to support secure data management, with all confidential data staying on premises at all times.

O2 (Telefónica UK) will provide Secure 5G Network capabilities and various Industry 4.0 applications. The computing service will be delivered via Azure Private Edge Zones, bringing compute, intelligence and storage to the edge where data is created. O2 and Microsoft will also support start-ups in developing new 5G solutions through the ‘Microsoft for Startups’ program.

O2 recently announced it had launched a Private 5G Network initiative with Leonardo, a global high technology company in the Aerospace, Defence & Security sector. This trial with Microsoft will be similar, however will involve MEC to broaden the use cases and benefits.

Jo Bertram, MD of Business at O2, said, “We’re incredibly proud of our track record of supporting business partners with innovative network solutions. This particular trial with the Microsoft Azure platform will provide secure and superfast capabilities that will maximise productivity and efficiency, as well as peace of mind. We pride ourselves on having a secure 5G network and being champions of coverage and reliability, as recognised in industry awards.”

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Azure for Operators at Microsoft, said: “Through our collaboration with O2, we will enable enterprises to leverage 5G to unlock new scenarios that accelerate digital transformation within their own private, on-premises environments. Combining Azure technology with O2 services is critical to bringing MEC to the enterprise edge, and we look forward to seeing customers leverage this platform to drive innovation across a broad range of information and operational technology applications.”

Key Deliverables:

  • O2 partners with Microsoft to trial the benefits of on premise Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) within a Private 5G Network, focusing on security and low latency
  • The Proof of Concept (PoC) aims to pave the way for secure data management, enabling confidential information to stay on premises at all times
  • Technology will be run via the Microsoft Azure platform, its first deployment utilizing a UK Private 5G Network

References:

https://news.o2.co.uk/press-release/o2-partners-with-microsoft-to-develop-mobile-edge-computing-capability-within-a-private-5g-network/

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/o2-uk-microsoft-partner-to-test-mec-in-a-private-5g-network–1383718

4 thoughts on “O2 UK and Microsoft to test MEC in a Private 5G Network

  1. From Light Reading:
    Three UK said it had 1,300 live 5G cell sites, up marginally from the 1,250 announced in February. Out of around 16,500 sites in total, 3,500 are now connected to 10Gbit/s backhaul transmission using fiber. The number in February was 3,200.

    Three framed the update as part of its “£2bn+” investment to “significantly transform its network and IT infrastructure.” The ambitious program, which includes handing over responsibility to Microsoft Azure for running IT systems currently managed in-house, has been on the go for over two years.

    https://www.lightreading.com/5g/three-uk-talks-up-4g-5g-progress/d/d-id/769627?

  2. One of the findings of a new report from Light Reading sister company Omdia: 2022 Trends to Watch: Private Networks and the Shadow of 5G:

    More than 90% of enterprises that are looking to deploy a private network in the next two years are considering 5G as the main technology for their deployments.

    Pablo Tomasi, principal analyst of private networks in Omdia’s service provider enterprise and wholesale practice – and the report’s author – nonetheless warned CSPs it won’t all be plain sailing.

    While the “hype of 5G” will get CSPs in the door with enterprises, he said, they’ve still got it all to prove in terms of delivery and meeting enterprises’ expectations.

    “CSPs have many challenges that they need to face to make an impact in this market,” Tomasi told Light Reading. “Among others, they need to stop talking about 5G as the fix to solve all problems and start talking about addressing an enterprise pain-point with a solution based on whatever technology is more suitable.”

    Tomasi emphasized that CSPs should be pragmatic in their technology recommendations, whether it be private LTE or private 5G, or even an alternative technology.

    “They also need to accelerate their investment in their private networks teams and decide how they want to gain vertical expertise, which is essential for targeting vertical markets,” said Tomasi.

    CSPs, he said, will have to weigh up the pros and cons of an in-house versus a partnership approach to build up private-network teams with the necessary know-how.

    Although none of the enterprises currently surveyed by Omdia have deployed private networks to cover more than 10 sites, Tomasi thinks this will change in the next couple of years with 6% of enterprises aiming to deploy in more than 11 sites.

    Enterprises currently prefer private network deployments that are fully dedicated, both in the RAN and the core, but Tomasi observes a “clear shift” in enterprises’ planning towards hybrid solutions involving a mixture of private and public networks.

    “This plays directly into the hands of the CSPs that are increasingly deploying and expanding their private 5G networks,” said Tomasi, “but CSPs must ride this trend carefully as their first order of business is still gaining the trust of the enterprise and of the [wider] ecosystem.”

    How successful CSPs might be in the private network space is not entirely in their own hands. Awarding highly localized spectrum to enterprises – a trend already seen in Germany – poses a “significant threat” to CSPs in Tomasi’s view.

    “Spectrum liberalization is dangerous for [CSPs], because if providing spectrum to the enterprise works then regulators all over the world will be encouraged to continue this trend.” Tomasi told Light Reading.

    “This will affect how much spectrum will be available for CSPs as well as the ability for other players, such as vendors and system integrators. to directly serve enterprises’ connectivity needs.”

    https://www.lightreading.com/private-networks/csps-got-it-all-to-prove-with-private-5g-networks—omdia/d/d-id/774303?

  3. Edge computing vs cloud computing is a very hot topic these days. Edge computing is enabled via cloud computing and so its services are slightly enhanced and modern as compared to cloud computing. Each offers advantages over the other.

    However, it is difficult for edge devices to analyze large analytical data. That disadvantage minimizes the group of businesses that are likely to use edge computing by itself (without also using traditional cloud computing).

    Reference: https://insightsartist.com/edge-computing-vs-cloud-computing/

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