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O2 partners Microsoft to develop MEC in private 5G network

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The proof of concept (PoC) will concentrate on low latency and secure, on-premises data management. O2 is also buffing up its green credentials.

O2 (Telefónica UK) has a new partnership with Microsoft to work on a PoC for on-premise mobile edge computing (MEC) capabilities within a private 5G network.

The operator will provide the secure private 5G network plus Industry 4.0 applications while Microsoft Azure Private Edge Zones will deliver the computing service. O2 will also collaborate with Microsoft for Startups to build an ecosystem for the development of new 5G solutions.

O2 recently launched a private 5G network initiative with Leonardo, a global high technology company in the Aerospace, Defence & Security sector. The trial with Microsoft is similar, apart from the MEC element.

Jo Bertram, MD of Business at O2, said, “This particular trial with the Microsoft Azure platform will provide secure and superfast capabilities that will maximise productivity and efficiency, as well as peace of mind.”

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Azure for Operators at Microsoft, said: “Combining Azure technology with O2 services is critical to bringing MEC to the enterprise edge, and we look forward to seeing customers leverage this platform to drive innovation across a broad range of information and operational technology applications.”

Separately…

Earlier in the week O2 UK announced O2 it is rolling out smart cooling technology to better control the temperature at its data centres and boost the efficiency of its network. The plan is to save the equivalent of 1 million kilograms of CO2 year on year.
 
In the last 12 months O2 carried record levels of data – up 89% from the pre-pandemic average in 2019.

It expects the appetite for mobile data will continue to grow (with the O2 network carrying an average 55% more peak hour data throughput in the first week of May than it did in the same week in 2020) – heating up equipment in data centres.
 
The new cooling equipment uses cold air from outside instead of relying on electric air conditioning. This also reduces O2’s reliance on pollutant refrigerant gases.

Energy optimisation

O2 says it is the first major mobile network operator to roll out new management software from EkkoSense across its entire estate. The software uses sensors to monitor exactly how much cooling each site needs at any one time, and report back on how to optimise cooling as demand changes.  

O2 has already upgraded around 70% of its core network sites with the new equipment and EkkoSense optimisation software, saving between 15% and 20% of energy per site – equivalent to 678,000 kg of CO2 in its first pro-rata year of use.