Microsoft intros AI-powered Azure Operator Nexus for telecoms

Software major Microsoft announced the preview of Azure Operator Nexus, two AI-powered services designed to manage telecom networks.
Azure Operator Nexus partnersAzure Operator Nexus is a cloud platform designed for the needs of the operator in running network functions such as packet core, virtualized radio access networks (vRAN), subscriber data management, and billing policy.

Microsoft did not reveal the price of the AI-powered Azure Operator Nexus for telecoms. Price will be available with Microsoft representatives.

AT&T, one of the leading mobile service providers in United States, has chosen Azure Operator Nexus as the platform for its 5G Near Edge network functions. The platform frees them from the operating expense-intensive tasks of managing a cloud and allows them to focus on their core competencies of building networks and serving the needs of mobile customers.

Azure Operator Nexus comes with features of key Microsoft technologies such as Mariner Linux, Hybrid AKS, and Arc, while also leveraging Microsoft Services for security, lifecycle management, Observability, DevOps and automation.

Mobile operators can benefit from advanced artificial intelligence that helps to unlock new business opportunities from data on and insights into their operations — including the rollout of high-speed 5G networks — Microsoft said in a blog post.

Azure Operator Nexus delivers mobile core and vRAN network functions securely in on-premises (far-edge, near-edge, core datacenters) and on-Azure regions. This delivers visibility into logging, monitoring, and alerting for infrastructure components and workloads.
Microsoft Azure Operator NexusAnalysys Mason, in collaboration with Microsoft, analyzed the TCO of deploying a cloud-native 5G SA network using Azure Operator Nexus, comparing it to the TCO of the do-it-yourself (DIY) private-cloud model.

The 5-year model shows that the Azure Operator Nexus on-premises scenario has a TCO for cloud-native 5G SA deployments that is up to 38 percent lower than the DIY private-cloud model.

The main driver of the cost savings is the reduction in operating expenditures (Opex) enabled by the more automated, efficient cloud infrastructure and container network functions (CNF) operations. Both of these are supported by Azure Operator Nexus’ cloud platform and as-a-service operations model.

Azure Operator Nexus’ cloud environment, automation framework, and managed service capabilities reduce repetitive, error-prone tasks for the main cloud-native network operations by 58 percent. The result is an Opex savings of up to 36 percent compared to the DIY private-cloud model.

Microsoft started focusing on the 5G business following the acquisition of cloud networking companies Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch in 2020, Reuters news report said. In addition, Microsoft also made significant investment in OpenAI’s ChatGPT bot.

“What we’re doing is taking our native cloud work and making it specific to this telecom operator network space. I think a really great example of that is all the AI ops work that we are introducing into the system,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president of strategic missions and technologies at Microsoft.

Telecom partners such as AT&T, Ericsson, and Nokia will be able to benefit from Microsoft’s new Nexus service, an all-in-one platform allowing operators to manage their networks from the cloud, and two different AIOps services.

Monica Zethzon, vice president at Ericsson, said the developments would allow operators to transform their core networks while improving customer experiences.

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