Google Cloud, Ericsson target telcos with 5G, edge cloud solutions

Aiming to help communications service providers (CSPs) digitally transform and unlock what could be new enterprise and consumer use cases, Google Cloud and Ericsson have forged a partnership to jointly develop 5G and edge cloud solutions.

The companies will join forces in a market where, globally, industries with edge presences – including communications service providers, retailers, manufacturers, transport businesses, healthcare, and media and entertainment providers – face pressures to build more digitised businesses and new digital experiences for their customers.

To help businesses address this shift, the two firms will work together to develop new solutions at Ericsson’s Silicon Valley D15 Labs, what the Swedish communications technology provider describes as a state-of-the-art innovation centre where advanced solutions and technologies can be developed and tested on a live, multilayere 5G platform.

Ericsson and Google previously formed a services partnership to enable the digital transformation of operator networks and application migration through cloud-native, container-based solutions. In addition, they have already completed functional onboarding of Ericsson 5G on Anthos, Google’s hybrid cloud platform, to enable telco edge and on-premise use cases for CSPs and enterprises.

In October 2020, looking to address the diversity of supply in communications provision as software-defined platforms encroach rapidly into the world of telecoms, Ericsson announced Cloud RAN (radio access network), designed to enable CSPs to add greater flexibility and versatility to their networks. The cloud-native Cloud RAN solution is engineered for providing network capabilities for both large-scale and centralised 5G deployments.

“Organisations have a tremendous opportunity to digitally transform their businesses with 5G and cloud capabilities like artificial intelligence and machine learning at the edge,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google Cloud. “We are proud to partner with Ericsson to help build a foundation for communications service providers and enterprises alike to take advantage of cloud technology and cloud-native services, from telecom network core to the edge and enterprise premises.”

Niklas Heuveldop, president and head of Ericsson North America, described 5G as a powerful innovation platform. “Combined with edge cloud capabilities, 5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of virtually any sector of industry or society,” he said. “We are excited about our partnership with Google Cloud as we engage with our customers to leverage our combined capabilities to solve real-world business challenges for the benefit of consumers, enterprises and society at large.”

As part of the partnership, Google Cloud and Ericsson are piloting enterprise applications at the edge on a live network with Italian operator TIM. The project is designed to automate the functions of TIM’s core 5G network and cloud-based applications and will make use TIM’s Telco Cloud infrastructure, Google Cloud solutions, and Ericsson’s 5G core network and orchestration technologies.

The joint offerings are designed to help enterprises in the automotive, transportation, manufacturing and other sectors improve efficiencies and lower latency by bringing connectivity close to companies’ physical locations.