Lumen strikes edge compute deal with T-Mobile

Lumen Technologies (formerly CenturyLink) made a major move to boost its fledgling edge compute service, striking a fresh deal with T-Mobile US that will allow it to tap the operator’s 5G network to reach more enterprise customers.

David Shacochis, Lumen VP of Enterprise Technology and Field CTO, told Fierce the partnership aims to leverage “the best of what both companies have to offer,” combining its own business-grade fiber and edge computing capabilities with “the massive geographic and spectrum reach of T-Mobile.”

Initially, Shacochis said the companies are aiming to help each other drum up more enterprise opportunities, explaining “we feel like we’re stronger, we can achieve more" for customers by teaming up in the market. However, he noted discussions around potential product resale agreements are also underway.

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He added “the other big element there is that as we collaborate and learn more from our mutual customers, and as we start to expand and take a look at some of those other opportunities in areas like fixed wireless and using the Lumen backbone and edge computing capability to help accelerate T-Mobile’s roll out, there’s just lots of other adjacent and early-stage design opportunities we’re excited about.”

Shacochis said Lumen is also “open to and looking at” other partnerships in the wireless space.

Lumen executives outlined a plan to offer edge compute services in August 2019. The company lit up its first block of edge nodes and roped its first customer in Q3 2020, before formally launching its edge platform in December 2020. Building on cloud partnerships with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, Lumen bolstered its edge capabilities through additional deals with VMware and IBM.

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Shacochis said the company has a roadmap in place to eventually reach 100 edge compute nodes worldwide, and is currently executing builds in the U.K., South America and the EMEA region. Work is already well underway in North America, with Shacochis noting Lumen’s edge compute service was already capable of reaching 50% to 60% of enterprise locations within 5 milliseconds of latency by the end of Q1. That figure is expected to rise to around 90% by the end of 2021, he said*.

For T-Mobile, the deal advances its goal to serve more enterprise customers.

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“By pairing America’s largest and fastest 5G network with Lumen’s enterprise solutions, we can break down industry barriers and deliver unparalleled network reach to enterprise and government organizations looking to optimize their applications across networks,” said Mike Katz, EVP of T-Mobile for Business, in a statement.

*After this story published, Lumen provided an updated statistic noting it can now serve 85% of enterprise locations in North America within 5 milliseconds of latency.