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Telenor dives further into the public cloud with new AWS deal

Norwegian telecoms group Telenor has signed a new public cloud deal with AWS to help it expand its 5G and edge computing offering.

The deal is presented as both a move to ‘accelerate modernisation of telecommunications’, and a joint venture which will enable Telenor to better sell 5G and edge computing installations into manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, and automotive customers.

Telenor already works with AWS through its MVNO in Sweeden, Vimla, whose entire mobile core now runs from the cloud. It uses Amazon ElastiCache, AWS Lambda, AWS Transit Gateway, and is managed as-a-service by Working Group Two, a company incubated by Telenor. The venture seems to have acted as a trial run, as the telco now looks to move larger parts of its business onto the public cloud.

“Working with AWS, we are continuing to advance and modernise the telecommunications industry—digitalising and expanding our offerings beyond connectivity,” says Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group. “Together, we are building on our individual strengths and scaling secure, robust, and advanced cloud services, alongside the latest networking technology, for our customers much faster than we could ever do before. Our shared ambition is to use scalable and flexible building blocks from AWS to continuously raise the bar for what’s possible.”

Adam Selipsky, CEO of AWS added: “Telenor is pushing the boundaries of innovation by running their Vimla core on AWS. Cloud technology is allowing Telenor to scale their network in a way that was not possible before and is allowing them to experiment and develop new experiences for customers to keep them engaged, entertained, and online. We are pleased to collaborate with Telenor as they continue to expand this innovative work to other parts of their business.”

Proponents of the public cloud – which is dominated by Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure – point to the advantages that come with outsourcing compute and storage in a way they lets businesses scale up and down in accordance with requirement, as well as access to the myriad of services like AI tools provided on top. And clearly these benefits are proving to be increasingly attractive to firms in all sorts of industries.

The downsides can sometimes feel overlooked. Aside from the potential implications of handing the keys to the kingdom over to a firm that could change its Ts ands Cs at any moment, or simply go out of business, there have been instances where even the biggest cloud services just go down for significant periods. It’s not super-common, but the trickle-down disruption to customers is not ideal. If your entire business lives on the cloud, your ability to operate properly is now dependent on your cloud service working optimally 24/7.

One way to mitigate this risk would be to hedge your bets and go with more than one cloud provider/hyperscaler. And in stark contrast to firms like Dish and AT&T, who have gone all in with AWS and Microsoft Azure respectively, that seems to be exactly Telenor’s thinking. Prior to this latest deal with AWS, it signed a deal with Google Cloud to work on things like things like AI, data management, and infrastructure.

Playing the board with regards to where you virtualise might be the smart move not just for telcos, but for anyone thinking about migrating their business souls over to the cloud.

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