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5GC on the public cloud shows a poplar trend, a big evolution is coming?

August 25, 2021 by IPLOOK
IPLOOK 5GC

The trend towards 5G core network (5GC) on the public cloud has been growing in recent times.
By our rough count, four global operators - AT&T, Dish, Telefónica Germany, and Swisscom have announced that they moved their 5G core networks to Azure or AWS Cloud since June 2021.


operators

Meanwhile, two telecom equipment vendors--Ericsson and Nokia have also proclaimed their alliances with Google Cloud and AWS to build cloud-native 5GC solutions .

Equipment vendors

This trend culminated in July 2021 when U.S. operator AT&T announced that they moved their 5GC to the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Under the agreement, Microsoft acquired the technology and operation team of AT&T's network cloud platform, on which AT&T's 5GC runs. Later, AT&T will no longer continue to develop network cloud software which will be fully taken over by Microsoft for its operation and development.

As a leading global carrier with nearly 175 million connections, AT&T's migration of its 5G core network (5GC) to Azure's cloud infrastructure is a groundbreaking event for the telecommunications industry.

AT&T is a pioneer in network cloud transformation, having started its network virtualization journey as early as 2014, and during this time AT&T spent seven years developing its own carrier-grade underlying cloud platform to Microsoft wholesale, undoubtedly conveying the message to the industry that it is feasible to run the 5GC on the public cloud, which ensures network stability and flexibility, and more cost-efficient solution.

Some industry insiders say that this major move by AT&T will accelerate the deployment of the global 5G core network (5GC) on the cloud, and even speed up the separation of hardware and software in telecom networks.

With the growing trend of 5GC on the public cloud, one can't help but think about why operators and equipment vendors choose to work with public cloud giants as they enter the 5G era.

As we all know, compared with previous generations of mobile networks, the 5G core network (5GC) architecture is the most open and flexible one so far, and its design based on SBA architecture with software and hardware decoupling allows network functions to run flexibly on public, private and hybrid clouds.


From 2G to 4G era, network and application are like two parallel lines that never intersect with each other, while 5G era make it possible to open the network capabilities to the third parties through APIs, allowing ISVs and ecosystems to customize applications according to specific business needs, and can optimize applications based on network behavior, thus achieving network and application convergence for the first time.

This means that 5G is not only a network, but also an innovation platform and an ecosystem. The only way to make this platform stronger and the ecosystem bigger is that operators, public cloud providers, application developers, vertical industries, and other parties collaborate and complement each other to realize rich cross-industry applications.

From the perspective of operators, the cooperation with cloud giants can not only significantly save the high cost of independent development of cloud platforms, but also make full use of cloud giants' technology, R&D strength and developer ecosystem to accelerate 5G application innovation and service delivery, and make their solutions become more agile and elastic to meet the diverse application needs in the 5G era.

Imagine if “ 5GC + public cloud ” can be successfully implemented , and if the trend of 5G core networks on the common cloud become popular in practical deployment, it may bring a sea change to the core network market landscape, and even to the whole telecom industry.
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