The next (fifth) generation of wireless networks, or “5G,” will enable a host of new opportunities for businesses and society, including autonomous vehicles, smart cities, virtual reality and a range of other smart industry use cases and services.  These next-generation networks will create new capabilities, new markets and help advance local economies.

As we’ve seen with other technology transformations, we believe that software can play an important role in helping advance 5G and deliver new network solutions that offer step-change advancements in speed, cost and security. There is a significant opportunity for both incumbents and new players across the industry to innovate, collaborate and create new markets, serving the networking and edge computing needs of our mutual customers.

At Microsoft, we intend to empower the telecommunications industry as it continues its move to 5G and support both network equipment manufacturers and operators in their efforts to find solutions that are faster, easier and cost effective. Today, I am pleased to announce that we have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Affirmed Networks. Affirmed Networks’ fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network solutions enable operators to simplify network operations, reduce costs and rapidly create and launch new revenue-generating services.

This acquisition will allow us to evolve our work with the telecommunications industry, building on our secure and trusted cloud platform for operators. With Affirmed Networks, we will be able to offer new and innovative solutions tailored to the unique needs of operators, including managing their network workloads in the cloud.

Previous generations of wireless networks have been based on purpose-built hardware. We believe that with innovation in software and by making use of broadly available cloud computing platforms like Microsoft Azure, operators can deploy and maintain 5G networks and services more efficiently, more cost effectively, more rapidly and more securely.

We look forward to building on the great work by Affirmed Networks with its leadership in virtualized mobile networks. Bringing this technology and team of experts into Microsoft allows us to extend our cloud offering to operators everywhere as they increasingly look to run their networks in a hybrid environment. We’re excited about our future together where carriers will be able to better leverage Microsoft’s cloud to improve overall profitability and create new revenue streams.

As we continue to extend cloud-based software defined networking into the world of 5G connectivity, we recognize the importance of deep and strong partnerships and interoperability. To ensure the success of our customers, we will work closely with existing suppliers, emerging innovators and other stakeholders around the world including in Europe, Asia, the U.S. and other markets to help make this vision a reality.

Update April 23, 2020: Microsoft has completed the acquisition of Affirmed Networks.

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