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Google ups telecoms bets, joining O-RAN and teaming up with Ericsson


As competiton in telecoms cloud intensifies, the Financial Times reports the 2015 truce between Microsoft and Google is at an end*.

In a blog by Amol Phadke, Managing Director, Telecom Industry Solutions at Google Cloud, and Ankur Jain, Senior Director and Distinguished Engineer, Telecom at Google Cloud, they said,  “We believe that industry-wide open reference architectures and interfaces for RAN are key to driving innovation across communication service provider (CSP) mobile networks—with the O-RAN Alliance driving significant advances in the RAN layer.

“O-RAN specifications will also create conditions for enhanced network security and enable a more competitive and vibrant RAN supplier ecosystem with faster innovation to improve user experience and unlock new CSP operating models".

At it since 2020

They added, “Since announcing our comprehensive strategy for the telecommunications industry in 2020, we’ve been working closely with customers, partners, and industry bodies globally to help transform the industry together.

"Today, we’re excited to take another step forward and are proud to announce that we are joining the O-RAN ALLIANCE, which is a world-wide community of mobile network operators, vendors, and research and academic institutions operating in the Radio Access Network (RAN) industry.

It said as the O-RAN Alliance newbie, it wanted to accelerate O-RAN initiatives using its expertise, specifically around Kubernetes, hybrid and multi-cloud solutions, network “leadership” citing its experience “in building our own scaled global network”, and AI for autonomous and self-healing networks.

Google Cloud and Ericsson

Google Cloud has also joined forces with Ericsson to develop and deliver 5G and edge solutions for telcos and enterprises, looing to leverage experience gained from working with TIM in Italy.

The partners are to collaborate at Ericsson’s Silicon Valley D-15 Labs, an “innovation centre where advanced solutions and technologies can be developed and tested on a live, multi-layers 5G platform,” according to the equipment vendor.

Ericsson states that it has “completed functional onboarding of Ericsson 5G on Anthos [Google’s multi-cloud applications platform] to enable telco edge and on-premise use cases for CSPs and enterprises.”

Google Cloud and Ericsson are piloting enterprise applications at the edge on a live network with TIM in Italy.

“The project, which will automate the functions of TIM’s core 5G network and cloud-based applications, will use TIM’s Telco Cloud infrastructure, Google Cloud solutions and Ericsson’s 5G core network and orchestration technologies,” Ericsson said in a statement – see Monday’s announcement.

There’s more on the Ericsson and Google Cloud collaboration here.

* Soon after Satya Nadella took the helm at Microsoft and Sundar Pichai assumed control at Google, the two giants agreed to end to the litigation war they were fighting in court rooms around the world.

They settled the outstanding legal issues and agreed not to 'go after' each other. Critics complained that two such huge and powerful companies having such a pact was not good for competition.

Now as governments and regulators around the globe are scrutinising big tech for anti-competitive behaviour, it's perhaps no surprise that as the Financial Times [subscription needed] reports, when that truce ended in April, it was not renewed.

It will be interesting to see how this affects their relationships with telecoms as the scramble to gain influence and power in the sector.