AT&T’s edge-computing strategy takes shape with Google, Microsoft
AT&T recently said it plans to build an edge computing network across more than 15 major US cities with Google Cloud over the next few years. The announcement helps to clarify AT&T’s emerging story around edge computing, and the operator’s desire to work with a variety of cloud computing vendors on the effort.
More broadly, AT&T is joining a range of other technology companies – from cell tower owners to cloud computing providers to telecom network operators – in chasing the edge computing sector. However, the overall space remains in flux – to put it lightly – and the scale of the opportunity remains difficult to define.
AT&T’s latest announcement on edge computing with Google highlights the network operator’s two different lines of business in the space: AT&T Network Edge (ANE) and AT&T Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC).
A two-pronged approach
Vinay Kundaje, AVP of market development with AT&T Business, told Light Reading recently that AT&T’s ANE is best suited “for end user devices that are located across the metro, not location-specific or are nomadic.” On its website, AT&T said ANE is available today for private cloud deployments and that the carrier is “now accepting new edge computing use cases for public cloud deployments to be included in our proof-of-concept program.” With Google, AT&T is working to deploy ANE in Google’s Edge Points of Presence (POPs), ultimately offering the service across 15 major US cities over the next few years. The companies plan to start with Chicago this year, moving then to Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and San Francisco. AT&T has also touted ANE offerings in Dallas and Los Angeles via a previously announced partnership with Microsoft.
AT&T’s Kundaje explained that the company’s MEC, on the other hand, is “location-specific and would be deployed at large facilities, such as a factory, hospital or campus.” Microsoft was AT&T’s first MEC partner, and the network operator recently added Google to its roster. AT&T is targeting locations including stadiums, retail outlets and manufacturing facilities with the offering.
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