Microsoft targets 5G wireless networks to make its cloud faster

As mobile carriers expand the next-generation 5G network, Microsoft CorpM wants to integrate this equipment into its Azure cloud, accelerating service delivery to nearby customers.

Here’s how it works: Microsoft has already built a large network of more than 60 data center regions around the world where customers can rent computing power and storage. In recent years, the company has also sold services that allow customers to process data or perform certain tasks on devices located at the customer’s site. Now, Microsoft wants to use 5G equipment from partners like AT&T Inc to deliver processing power even closer to certain customers than regional data centers. Being closer means faster speeds.

“5G is incredible technology for certain types of scenarios,” said Jason Zander, Microsoft’s executive vice president for strategic missions and technology. “You can’t stick everything in a cloud.”

Late last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella moved Zander, an Azure executive since that product’s early days, to focus on a cluster of future computing ideas, including 5G, computing in space and quantum computing.

Microsoft is updating its Azure for Operators products and strategy on Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Generally speaking, the company makes money by selling Azure products to mobile operators, who then use Microsoft’s tools to create their own services to sell to mobile phone users. In addition, the use of mobile phone networks allows Microsoft to offer Azure customers, such as factories and stores, this treatment closer to them. Big rival Amazon.com Inc has been offering similar ideas for several years as part of its Outposts products. –Bloomberg

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