Google Cloud courts MWC attendees

BARCELONA—It’s pretty well known that Google is a distant third to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft when it comes to market share and the big cloud providers.

Google arrived late to the party and obviously it takes time to grow, but it’s growing, and that’s what counts, according to Amol Phadke, GM global telecom industry, Google Cloud.

In fact, market share only measures what happened in the past; it’s not about what’s going to happen, and “we are growing faster than the competition,” he said.

This marks the first time Google Cloud had its own dedicated exhibit space at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona, an indication it’s expanding in the telecom space and further courting carriers.  

“We are here really to provide growth opportunities for the carriers,” Phadke said.

What exactly Google Cloud does with mobile carriers takes many different forms.

Google Cloud was part of a significant milestone announced recently with Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson, where they deployed Ericsson 5G Core cloud native network functions (CNFs) on an on-premises implementation of Google Distributed Cloud Edge (GDC Edge).  

In the U.S., wireless carriers are partnering with Google as well. Asked about the three biggest wireless carriers in the U.S., “we have deep relationships with them,” he said.

Last year, T-Mobile struck a deal with Google Cloud to use its expertise in data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), as well as its portfolio of 5G and edge computing products and services.

With Verizon, Google Cloud is working on bringing the cloud closer to mobile and connected devices at the edge of Verizon’s network, specifically with GDC Edge.

Similarly, with AT&T, Google Cloud is working on developing edge solutions for the enterprise.

Last year, Google Cloud joined the TM Forum, and Phadke currently serves on the board. Part of that effort is to help service providers tap into artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the customer experience and develop news sources of revenue.   

So far, mobile edge compute (MEC) is an area that hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. If there were a killer app for MEC and customers were willing to pay a premium for it, the industry would have seized upon that years ago, he said.

“We haven’t yet found it,” he said.

On the plus side, people are becoming more thoughtful “about the types of use cases where you really need the edge,” he said, and that’s encouraging. “We are still in the process of learning.”