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Microsoft Acquiring Metaswitch Networks To Enhance 5G Azure Offerings

Microsoft is acquiring Metaswitch Networks to bolster Azure offerings to communications service providers, per a Thursday announcement.

The amount of the deal wasn't disclosed. It's Microsoft's second purchase this year of a company involved with supporting 5G communication service providers and equipment providers, with a focus on delivering software-defined solutions.

In March, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Affirmed Networks, which similarly provides support to telcos with software alternatives to legacy hardware switching approaches. The Affirmed Networks buy closed on April 23, Microsoft indicated.

Metaswitch Networks is a London-based software development company that was "established in 1981 by former IBM software engineers," according to an April 26 profile by The Sunday Times. Its software solutions support more than 1,000 telcos with profits recorded at £24.6 million in 2019. The company has 839 employees, according to the Times.

Metaswitch Networks describes itself as "the first company to deploy the same software in both the central office/local exchange and the data center" for communications services providers. Its solutions are cloud based using microservices in containers, which lets communications service providers "adopt a DevOps approach" for faster innovation, the company claims.

Solutions built by Metaswitch Networks include voice-over-IP softswitches and gateways, IMS core deployments, session border control solutions, converged voice and data messaging solutions, cloud contact centers and robocall blocking, among others.

With the acquisition, Metaswitch Networks plans to continue to support its existing customers.

"We will continue to meet customers where they are, working together as communication service providers evolve their own operations," stated Martin Lund, Metaswitch Networks' CEO, in an announcement. "And we'll be ideally placed to aid those operators keen to transition to cloud native deployments, to 5G networks and to the era of compelling applications that are served from the core and edge of new network architectures."

Microsoft intends to leverage Metaswitch Networks' solutions globally in conjunction with its Microsoft Azure solutions. It'll use Metaswitch's technologies to "run virtualized communication functions, applications and networks."

The acquisition will add to Microsoft's support of communications service providers and equipment makers, including telcos in the emerging 5G wireless market.

"Our intention over time is to create modern alternatives to network infrastructure, enabling operators to deliver existing and value-added services -- with greater cost efficiency and lower capital investment than they've faced in the past," stated Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president of Azure Networking, in Microsoft's announcement.

Specific areas of focus will include "radio access networks (RAN), next-generation core, virtualized services, orchestration and operations support system/business support system (OSS/BSS) modernization," he explained. The software solutions support for 5G wireless also will help "enable IoT [Internet of Things] at scale."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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