Microsoft acquires virtualized mobile network startup Affirmed Networks

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Microsoft today announced it is acquiring Affirmed Networks, a startup that offers fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network solutions, for an undisclosed amount. The company wants to integrate Affirmed Networks’ technology into Microsoft Azure to let the telecommunications industry deploy and maintain 5G networks via software and the cloud rather than just hardware.

Affirmed Networks offers a virtualized cloud-native network called Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) that lets communication service providers scale with the demands of mobile services. The startup develops mobile network solutions with gateway functionality and content delivery services. Microsoft says Affirmed Networks’ solutions let operators “simplify network operations, reduce costs, and rapidly create and launch new revenue-generating services.”

Affirmed Networks CEO Anand Krishnamurthy says the startups’ model for mobile networks is open, cloud-native, and capable of being web-scale. Most importantly, the startup claims to helped over 100 customers across the globe move to this model at “70% of the cost of traditional networks.”

In short, Microsoft wants to help the telecommunications industry transition to the cloud as they roll out 5G. Here is how the company is justifying the acquisition:

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.

Affirmed Networks was founded in 2010 and has raised $155 million to date. The startup has four co-founders: Hassan Ahmed, Stephan Noll, Terry Durand, Timothy Mortsolf. In his announcement, Krishnamurthy, thanked the company’s customers, employees, investors, and partners.

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