Tapping into the evolution of telecoms from physical appliances to virtual network functions and now cloud-native solutions, Google Cloud and Nokia today announced a global, strategic partnership to enable communications service providers (CSPs) to increase readiness for solutions addressing the needs of businesses.

Recognising that global CSPs can already unlock monetisation opportunities by driving 5G connectivity and advanced services to enterprise customers at the network edge, to deliver new, digital experiences for consumers, the partners said they would allow CSPs to modernise their network infrastructures, build on a cloud-native 5G Core, and develop the network edge as a business services platform for enterprises.

Under the partnership, Google Cloud and Nokia will work closely to validate, optimise and evolve cloud-native network functions. The two companies said they would also co-innovate solutions to help CSPs deliver 5G connectivity and services at scale.

Google Cloud and Nokia will create solutions that bring together Nokia’s 5G operations services and networking capabilities with Google Cloud’s technologies in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and analytics, running on Anthos as a platform for shifting workloads to the network edge, across public and private clouds.

As part of the collaboration, Nokia will also supply its voice core, cloud packet core, network exposure function, data management, signalling and 5G core. This includes Nokia’s Impack internet of things (IoT)-connected device platform, which is designed to enable automated, zero-touch activation and allows for remote management of IoT devices, as well as Nokia’s Converged Charging solution to provide real-time rating and charging capabilities that enable CSPs to capture new revenue opportunities from the 5G economy.

Anthos for Telecom will serve as the platform for deploying applications, so that CSPs can build an ecosystem of services that are deployable anywhere, from the edge of the network to public clouds, private clouds and carrier networks. 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.

“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,” said George Nazi, vice-president of telco, media and entertainment industry solutions at Google Cloud. “Doing so requires modernised 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.”

Ron Haberman, chief technology officer of cloud and network services at Nokia, added: “Nokia is excited to work with Google Cloud in service of our customers, both CSPs and enterprises, 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.”

One of the CSPs for whom Nokia and Google Cloud aim to provide such services is Deutsche Telekom, which, said Alex Choi, senior vice-president of strategy and technology innovation at the CSP, is on a journey to transform to a new open, disaggregated and cloud-native infrastructure with an automated production model. “We are excited to see two innovative organisations 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,” he commented.

UK-based provider BT is deploying cloud-native technologies across its platform to create value for customers and ensure they get the best network experience. Commenting on the Nokia and Google Cloud partnership, BT Group chief architect Neil McRae said: “The network and services our customers depend on 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.”

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