Vodafone extends 5G edge partnership with Microsoft
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
Engineer using HoloLens2 technology headset The combination of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset combined with Vodafone’s edge computing services will be a key offering to SMEs from the partnership (credit: Microsoft)

Vodafone Business has agreed a five-year partnership with Microsoft to jointly supply private 5G, edge computing and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Vodafone will sell the Microsoft suite of compute and storage functions, Azure-based IoT applications alongside the UK telecoms giant’s own enterprise mobility, machine connectivity and IoT telemetry services.

In a move which Vodafone claimed will make it a “platform company” and “SME champion” the two companies will collaborate with SMEs across Europe and Africa to support the development of new technologies in 5G-powered multi-access edge computing (MEC) and the IoT.

Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure functions and applications, including Microsoft 365 and Teams, will be distributed into Vodafone’s network edge in tandem with 5G network operations. The collaboration will also see the duo provide on-site private LTE and 5G networks for SMEs, with core networking managed either on site or in the MEC edge in conjunction with either publicly-licensed or privately-held spectrum.

Mark Allinson, strategy and development director at Vodafone Business, said: “For businesses to become truly digital, they need networks, cloud and security to work in harmony.

“With Microsoft, we are providing solutions that can be rapidly deployed and easily managed to support new ways of working and constantly improve business processes. This is another step towards Vodafone becoming a SME champion and a platform-based business.”

The duo will first promote a mixed reality offering for SME manufacturers who can gain access to Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset combined with Vodafone’s edge computing services to allow engineers to “complete maintenance procedures in half the time” and new trainees to learn to operate machinery remotely using hands-free technology.

Rodney Clark, corporate vice president of channel sales at Microsoft, added: “More than ever before, small and medium-size businesses across Europe and Africa need secure and reliable solutions and services that enable real-time communication, collaboration and innovation in order to transform their businesses and realise growth.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Vodafone Business to bring innovative Microsoft cloud solutions, that leverage 5G and edge computing services and support new ways of working, to market.”

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