IBM Red Hat inks deal with Verizon for 5G software

IBM Red Hat inks deal with Verizon for 5G software

The recently concluded Mobile World Congress event was back for the first time in two years, and as expected there was a lot of 5G and mobile news with a healthy dose of cloud mixed in. Case in point: IBM was early off the block with string of releases, including a 5G customer win in the shape of Verizon for its Red Hat division.

Verizon is to use IBM Red Hat OpenShift to deploy an open hybrid cloud platform across its 5G network. IBM already plays a central role in Verizon’s 5G plans: last summer the two targeted manufacturers with a joint ‘Industry 4.0’ offering, layering IBM’s Watson and other analytics capabilities on top of Verizon’s IoT platform and 5G Ultra Wideband network.

The newest announcement is more a win for IBM’s cloud team, an interesting development as up until now it is AWS that has had a lot of the running as Verizon’s cloud partner. A year ago, Verizon signed up as a launch partner of AWS Wavelength, a service which enables carriers to sell AWS services run out of the carrier’s own data centers. More recently Verizon announced plans to resell AWS’ ‘cloud in a box’, Outposts.

IBM is very much the incumbent in the telecom market, however. It has relationships with the industry that go back decades. The company claims 83% of the world’s largest telcos are customers. Perhaps, more importantly, telco was the one vertical where OpenStack (on which OpenShift is based) gained some serious traction. In fact, Verizon has been using the Red Hat OpenShift Container platform for over four years, with the goal of modernizing Verizon’s internal application portfolio. Despite that, IBM will see this deal as a vindication—exactly the kind of business the company was looking to win when it paid $34bn for Red Hat.

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