AT&T nabs Google Cloud for 5G services partnership
AT&T and Google are partnering to help their corporate customers use the carrier’s new superfast 5G network to speed up cloud applications.
The new wireless technology offers much faster download speeds than current 4G LTE networks, as well as quicker response times for data requests. Under the new collaboration, customers of Google’s cloud services will be able to access AT&T’s 5G network and run applications on computer servers positioned across the country. The distributed servers combined with the 5G wireless network will be a boost for applications that need fast response times, like new cloud gaming services.
AT&T announced a similar deal with Microsoft’s Azure unit in November and rival Verizon has a partnership with Amazon’s cloud business. The goal is to generate new revenue from corporate customers that use 5G networks, which cost tens of billions of dollars to build. Consumers with 5G mobile phones aren’t paying much more than they did with today’s 4G, so the carriers are looking for new revenue streams, like 5G cloud services.
The AT&T-Google collaboration will be aimed at customers wanting to access apps that incorporate features like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analysis via processors in Google’s cloud servers. A wide array of businesses will be targeted, as the services could “address a diversity of use cases, driving real business value in industries like retail, manufacturing, gaming and more,” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in a statement.
For example, a company may deploy video cameras to monitor foot traffic in its stores. Footage from the cameras could be uploaded to Google servers for automated analysis via AT&T’s 5G network.
Google and AT&T are also planning to deploy servers in scattered, smaller installations across the network, supplementing Google’s massive regional data centers, to reduce response times. The service ultimately could be used to power consumer devices, as well, like virtual and augmented reality glasses. Using the fast 5G connection to a local server could reduce the need to put power-hungry and weighty processors in the glasses themselves.
The companies are not disclosing their business arrangements, such as how much the 5G cloud services will cost or how the partners will split the revenues.
AT&T’s partnership with Microsoft is farther along, with AT&T describing it as “an extensive, multi-year alliance,” compared to the new services from the Google deal which are “currently a proof of concept.”
More must-read stories from Fortune:
—How 5G promises to revolutionize farming
—Did the ‘techlash’ kill Alphabet’s city of the future?
—College backlash against facial recognition technology grows
—In A.I., what would Jesus do?
—Coronavirus is giving China cover to expand its surveillance. What happens next?
Catch up with Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily digest on the business of tech.