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Nokia, Microsoft Partner for 5G

March 16, 2021

Nokia inked an agreement with Microsoft to develop new market-ready 4G and 5G private wireless use cases designed for enterprises. The collaboration will combine Nokia’s Cloud RAN (vRAN) technologies with Microsoft Azure cloud-based services and developer ecosystem to drive end-user functionality via new business cases. The initiative supports Nokia’s strategy of partnering with best-in-class public cloud providers to drive end-user business outcomes essential for monetizing 4G/5G deployments.

The project, which will run in three stages, will see Nokia combine its mobile network solutions including Cloud RAN, Open RAN, Radio Access Controller (RIC) and multi-access edge cloud (MEC) with the Azure Private Edge Zone. Azure Private Edge Zone enables data processing close to the end user, addressing ultra-low latency, high throughout 5G-based applications such as real-time robotics, mixed reality or immersive gaming. The initiative aims to achieve a better performance and end user experiences for third-party app developers via the Azure ecosystem when exposed to the network.

Nokia will also integrate its 5G RAN with Azure 4G/5G core to demonstrate interworking to support enterprise use cases required by Microsoft’s customers. Nokia’s LTE/5G RAN in enterprise premises provides high-performing and reliable connectivity to 5G enterprise use cases from the Azure 5G core and application ecosystem. Additionally, Microsoft and Nokia will explore further opportunities to incorporate Nokia Airframe Open Edge server as part of its telco edge strategy. Nokia AirFrame Open Edge server distributes computing capacity into the edge of the network and drives the implementation of Cloud RAN, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) as well as 5G.

The project highlights Nokia’s strategy of partnering with public cloud providers. By leveraging its Open RAN and Cloud RAN leadership and combining it with best-in-class public cloud partners, Nokia is expanding its ecosystem of partners and driving end user business outcomes essential for monetizing 5G deployments. Both parties plan to explore additional areas in the future such as network slicing.

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, commented: “We are enthusiastic to work closely with Microsoft on this project that will harness Azure with our 5G radio network technology. Open collaboration is key to the development of new and innovative high-value 5G use cases that will equip our customers with the tools they need for digital transformation. This is part of Nokia’s continued commitment to leading an open mobile future, making it simple for our customers to take advantage of the 5G world helping to drive it forward.”

Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President, Azure for Operators at Microsoft Corp. added: “Microsoft believes in the importance of an open and interoperable ecosystem of solutions on the Azure carrier grade platform. Our collaboration with Nokia across multiple potential use cases, based on specific customer demand, will provide operators with choices on how the best adopt cloud technology in concert with their 5G updates to drive new revenue streams, reduce cost and future proof their network investment.”

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