More and more people will hear about multi-access edge computing, or MEC, by operators. Not least because computing power and cloud compatibility are essential to many mission-critical business applications that will be enabled by 5G’s high-throughput, low-latency and flexible architecture. Operators are learning that their corporate customers often need cloud applications closer to their corporate facilities to protect data and reduce latency. And telecom companies are betting on Multiple Access Edge Computing (MEC) to provide these services.
In the United States, operators are already on the move. For example, AT&T has closed an alliance with Google Cloud for MEC, where it will roll out AT&T Network Edge with Google Cloud in 15 US cities starting with Chicago later this year. The companies hope that by combining the AT&T network with apps like Google Maps and the Pixel, companies can build their own custom solutions.
The operator also wants its customers to be able to use AT&T 5G as well as Microsoft Azure cloud solutions. AT&T recently agreed to run its 5G core network on the Microsoft Azure cloud, a move that will bring Azure “to the edge of our network … supporting our network workloads.”
Verizon, in turn, works with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Tele is bringing AWS to its self-service hotspots, sites where it aggregates network traffic. To date, Verizon has deployed an AWS Platform Wavelength, designed for 5G networks, at ten service access points across the United States. The company says more sites are planned. In addition, Verizon is integrating its 5G applications with Outpost, an AWS platform aimed at corporate customer locations.
T-Mobile has yet to announce a hyperscalar partnership for MEC, but has partnered with Internet service provider Lumen Technologies. The operator is pairing its 5G network with Lumen’s state-of-the-art computing platform, a combination that the companies said will give businesses access to state-of-the-art, fiber and 5G computing resources across the country. The pair recently extended their partnership to serve US government agencies.