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AWS re:Invent: has Amazon got its sights on telco business?

In the past couple of years, there has been intense speculation over whether Amazon AWS would extend its reach into the connectivity business. It has trialled wireless technologies, and been linked with Dish’s NB-IoT build-out, suggesting it might launch an MVNO for its devices, or – more disruptively – create its own connectivity business to link its cloud resources to an increasingly distributed edge cloud.

It has formed close partnerships with some telcos, notably AT&T, which seem to indicate a willingness to carve up the enterprise market between them, leaving the operators with the services related to connectivity, such as network security and device management. And in the edge-based world of the IoT, it has worked closely with the telco-focused ETSI MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) platform, especially Nokia.

But now, the idea that it could compete with, rather than cooperate with, telcos has been strengthened by announcements at its Re:invent conference last week. There, it unveiled two services which could squeeze the role, and profitability, of the operators in the enterprise market. One was its Global Accelerator offering, which takes AWS deeper into the realm of global connectivity; and the other was an edge cloud platform, in conjunction with VMware, which could reduce the telco’s role to that of the dreaded bitpipe.

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