Telecom Italia partners with Google on cloud, edge computing

In relationship terms, telcos and the big cloud providers could be dubbed “frenemies.” Telcos provide connections in and out of the hyperscalers' data centers. And they also hire cloud providers, such as Google, to run some of their workloads in the public cloud. But there are also tensions between the two groups as each vie for enterprise customers.

Telecom Italia (TIM) announced a strategic partnership with Google Cloud that looks like an attempt to mutually advance both companies’ enterprise goals.

The partnership will enable TIM to expand its portfolio of public, private and hybrid cloud services and to offer edge computing services. Also, as part of the agreement, the companies will work together on go-to-market initiatives targeted at Italian businesses of all sizes.

Although TIM is reportedly planning to sell 23 data centers next year to pay off debt, the company said that it will build and own new state-of-the-art data centers, up to the Tier IV level, and it will hire or train more than 800 cloud engineers in the next few years.

“Thanks to the partnership with Google, a world leader in innovation, TIM confirms its focal role in promoting the technological progress in Italy, said TIM CEO Luigi Gubitosi, in a prepared statement. “In the next years, cloud and edge computing will represent two of the key markets that will mostly benefit of the new products and services enabled by 5G technology.”

Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud stated: “We look forward to working together with TIM to boost our support for Italian enterprises in their digital transformation journeys.”

Edge Computing

TIM and Google didn’t specify how they will work together on edge computing. But the technology is being focused on by TIM’s neighbor in Germany – Deutsche Telekom. DT owns MobiledgeX, a company that works with mobile operators worldwide.

MobiledgeX said in September that it now counts 13 mobile operators as part of its global edge network initiative. The company isn’t naming its mobile operator partners. 

RELATED: MobiledgeX CEO cites challenges at the edge

Jason Hoffman, CEO of MobiledgeX, speaking with FierceWireless recently at the Mobile World Congress Americas event, said MobiledgeX is creating a global edge network via its operator partners. “Operators have always been local businesses,” he said. “We decided we wanted to aggregate something for the global market; the same as roaming is handled.”