AT&T executive Vinay Kundaje explained the operator tapped Microsoft and Google cloud services to boost a move to offer new edge compute capabilities to enterprise customers, with the dual-provider strategy offering flexibility in deployment.

The assistant VP of market development at AT&T Business explained the operator aims to tailor cloud services based on enterprises’ preferences and infrastructure, with Microsoft and Google deploying equipment at their own points-of-presence to enable this.

These connections “near AT&T’s core network assets” will enable the operator to provide “highly optimised routing with lower latency”, Kundaje explained.

“Overall, AT&T will work with select cloud providers on a case-by-case basis for different needs”.

AT&T explained the cloud service provider collaborations will extend the edge compute options it can offer enterprise customers.

Its Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC) is meant for deployment on the customer’s premise, while its Network Edge places the compute capability within its network.

The partnerships can extend the capability to cloud provider premises, in combination with 5G connectivity. AT&T plans to offer edge computing solutions “within Google Cloud centres accessed by AT&T’s networks”, Kundaje said.

AT&T first partnered with Microsoft for edge deployments in March 2020, when the software giant deployed its own network edge compute software at an AT&T facility in Dallas, Texas.

The operator also holds an edge partnership with Google Cloud.

Edge compute is seen as a key enabler of private networks, one of the primary ways operators hope to make money from 5G. AT&T stated most of its private 5G networks deployed to date have used its MEC solution.