A new deal between the two companies will see the Norwegian operator lean on the public cloud company to help them “go beyond connectivity”

Today, Norwegian telco group Telenor has announced a new strategic partnership with Google Cloud, aiming to help digitalise and expand the company’s offerings. 

The deal will see Telenor leverage both Google Cloud’s infrastructure as well as the company’s expertise in areas like AI, data management, and machine learning.

“Telenor wants to work with leaders in the tech industry and stay committed to being at the forefront of modernisation and digitalisation. As connectivity is the foundation for building trust, we believe that together we can go beyond connectivity to enhance our offering to our customers with new and innovative solutions, whilst improving the overall experience of our current portfolio,” explained Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor Group.

Clearly, this partnership goes far beyond just moving data centres to the cloud and is instead being positioned as a move that will unlock additional services for customers, offering Telenor additional revenue streams.

“I think the future for telcos is to move beyond connectivity, and to create value on top of connecting customers,” said Brekke.

The first of these new services will be a jointly created platform to help small and medium-sized enterprises with their own digitalisation transformation process.

Though the announcement does not specifically explore what role Google Cloud will play in Telenor’s networks, the partnership will presumably bring some benefits to the company in terms of leveraging AI and automation for network management functions. Speaking to Reuters, Brekke suggested that increased digitalisation will allow them to not only react more quickly to network demands, but even anticipate potential issues before they happen. 

"To digitalise our operation is to make it smoother," Brekke said. "You can predict outages before they happen… when you’re displacing some of your backend processes, you can smooth out customer experiences and make them better."

This is the same zero-touch network mentality that we are increasingly seeing discussed by numerous operators over the past year or so. Indeed, at the recent opening of Orange’s new Open RAN Integration Laboratory in Paris, Orange CTO Michael Trabbia described the “end goal” of the company’s digital transformation as “real time self-adaptation of the network to what’s happening in the field”.

Ultimately, while this deal does not ultimately seem to be on the same scale as some of the cloud partnerships in the telecoms sector – such as Dish, who have pledged to build the world’s first cloud-native 5G network using Amazon Web Services – it is nonetheless a deal of significant scale and should open the door for some significant changes for Telenor in both its European and Asian markets.

In related news, Telenor is still attempting to withdraw from Myanmar, but the new military junta is making the process difficult


Want to keep up to date with the latest developments in the world of telecoms? Subscriber to receive Total Telecom’s daily newsletter here

Also in the news:
How innovation is helping to maximize the value of 5G
Sources suggest Drahi wants a bigger slice of BT
Millicom takes full control of Guatemalan JV in $2.2bn buyout