Microsoft has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the UK company Metaswitch Networks in a bid to bolster its Azure 5G provision.
The US tech giant claims that it will incorporate Metaswitch’s cloud-native communications software into its own Azure cloud service, which will in turn serve to help operators to run their virtualised 5G networks.
One of 5G’s key attributes is its inherent ability to sustain virtualised networks, or those that are based entirely in the cloud rather than on centralised purpose-built hardware. This will enable network operators and other providers to create new 5G applications and services with minimal cost and delay. It will also mean that any data processing will be able to take place locally to customers, which will have major benefits in terms of performance and responsiveness.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Metaswitch Networks will enable it to help global mobile operators to run such virtualised networks. It forms part of a recent 5G push from the tech giant, having already acquired US company Affirmed Networks and its “fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network solutions” back in April.
“Metaswitch’s complementary portfolio of ultra-high-performance, cloud-native communications software will expand our range of offerings available for the telecommunications industry,” said Yousef Khalidi, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Azure Networking. “As the industry moves to 5G, operators will have opportunities to advance the virtualization of their core networks and move forward on a path to an increasingly cloud-native future. Microsoft will continue to meet customers where they are, working together with the industry as operators and network equipment providers evolve their own operations.”
Metaswitch Networks is a London-based provider of virtualised network software and voice, data and communications solutions for operators. Among the many services that it provides to its more than 750 customers, the company claims to be “actively developing 5G core control and data plane elements”.
The last announcement from Metaswitch prior to news of the Microsoft acquisition came on April 29th, when it revealed that its 5G Fusion Core Access Gateway Function (AGF) solution had been successfully tested in a Vodafone UK lab. This was an industry first, and offered a clear path to a fully converged broadband access network serving both fixed line and mobile subscribers.