Microsoft will acquire Metaswitch Networks to build on 5G strategy

15 May 2020

Images: © dvoevnore/

Microsoft plans to acquire Metaswitch Networks, a UK business that designs, develops, manufactures and markets telecoms software.

On Thursday (14 May), Microsoft announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Metaswitch Networks, with the goal of expanding its Azure 5G strategy.

Founded in London in 1981, Metaswitch Networks designs, develops, manufactures and markets telecommunications software to communication service providers and enterprises.

In a statement, Microsoft said that the convergence of cloud and communication networks presents a “unique opportunity” for the company to serve global operators through continued investment in Azure.

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice-president of Microsoft Azure Networking, said that the deal adds “additional depth” to Microsoft’s hyperscale cloud infrastructure, with the specialised software required to run virtualised communication functions, applications and networks.

Communication focus

In March, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Affirmed Networks to help deliver new opportunities for a global 5G ecosystem. Khalidi added that this week’s announcement “builds on” that deal, which closed on 23 April.

“Metaswitch’s complementary portfolio of ultra-high-performance, cloud-native communications software will expand our range of offerings available for the telecommunications industry,” Khalidi said.

He explained that Microsoft intends to leverage the talent and technology of these two organisations, extending the Azure platform to both deploy and grow these capabilities at scale in a way that is “secure, efficient and creates a sustainable ecosystem”.

Metaswitch counted BT, Liberty Global, Sprint and the Rural Independent Network Alliance (RINA) among its customers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Microsoft’s 5G strategy

“As the industry moves to 5G, operators will have opportunities to advance the virtualisation of their core networks and move forward on a path to an increasingly cloud-native future,” Khalidi said.

“Microsoft will continue to meet customers where they are, working together with the industry as operators and network equipment providers evolve their own operations.”

The company said that it will continue to support hybrid and multi-cloud models to create a “more diverse” telecom ecosystem and spur faster innovation, with an expanded set of offerings and greater opportunities for differentiation.

Microsoft added that 5G offers significant potential for enterprises and governments, and creates new opportunities for operators as the technology can advance to offer ultra-reliable low-latency communications and massive machine-type communication to enable IoT at scale.

“5G will ultimately give operators a path to accelerate service innovation and deliver new transformative experiences that are faster, more resilient and more secure, spurred on by software advance to drive transformation at scale,” Khalidi said.

Microsoft said that its intention over time is to create modern alternatives to network infrastructure, with greater cost efficiency and lower capital investment than in the past.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic