Nokia signs 5G cloud deal with AWS, Google, Microsoft

(Image credit: Nokia)

Nokia has agreed new partnerships with three of the world’s biggest public cloud platforms to expand the reach of its 5G portfolio.

The Finnish network equipment manufacturer already has deals with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, reflecting the growing convergence of IT and telecoms in the 5G era.

The ultrafast speeds, enhanced capacity, and ultra-low latency of 5G will allow mobile networks to power mission-critical applications for the first time and allow for the creation of entirely new use cases.

Nokia Cloud

However, this requires operators to rearchitect networks away from centralised, legacy core infrastructure and towards the cloud. By virtualising network functions, operators can rollout new services more rapidly, dynamically allocate resources to where they are most needed, and bring processing capabilities closer to the point of collection.

This combination of cloud-based cores and edge computing promises to transfer consumer experiences and transform industries, while also reducing the need for businesses to invest in on-site-infrastructure.

These latest collaborations will see Nokia’s cloud-based radio access network (RAN) technologies integrated with each vendor’s platform. This combination will make it easier and cheaper to deploy 5G networks and aid the development of new services that generate additional revenue.

There is a strong emphasis on edge computing capabilities that aid performance, lower latency, and reduce costs by processing as much data as possible to the point of collection. Internet of Things (IoT) and distributed cloud services are two examples of applications that will benefit.

The decision to partner with all three vendors demonstrates a willingness to leverage the strength of their respective platforms, especially when it comes to the joint development of new services. For example, Nokia plans to work with Microsoft on network slicing, with AWS on an end-to-end proof of concept solution that includes 5G Cloud RAN and a standalone core. Nokia’s customers will also gain access to each platform’s developer ecosystem.

Nokia itself is migrating the entirety of its on-premise IT infrastructure to Google’s cloud in the hope that the operational and cost efficiencies generated will support its pursuit of the 5G equipment market. As part of this transition, it will shut down its private data centres within the next two years.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.