UK telco BT has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to roll out Wavelength Zones across the UK, starting with Manchester.

Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services at the edge of communications service providers’ 5G networks, and provides access to cloud services running in a nearby AWS Region. The company says Wavelength minimizes latency and the network hops required to connect from a 5G device to an application hosted on AWS because application traffic can reach servers without leaving the mobile providers’ network.

BT's Adastral Park - where Bt research takes place, in Suffolk, UK. Image courtesy of the Creative Commons
– BT

BT this week announced a ‘multi-million-pound investment’ to bring 5G and 4G mobile Edge computing services to UK businesses via its EE network.

The telco said it would begin by switching on a new AWS Wavelength Zone in Manchester, which will service trials for eligible businesses and public sector organizations within a 100-kilometer radius (including cities such as Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, and Blackpool).

BT said its ambition is to roll out AWS Wavelength Zones across the UK in the coming years. Hosting AWS services directly at the edge of EE’s UK network will allow applications to connect to servers without leaving BT’s network, reducing latency. Use cases could include Internet of Things deployments.

Alex Tempest, managing director for BT Wholesale, said: “As we continue to build best-in-class 5G infrastructure for the UK, launching the AWS Wavelength service for our business and wholesale customers is a hugely important step on our journey – bringing the power of the cloud to the UK’s best network. It’s set to unlock use cases like IoT cameras to help first responders keep communities safe: a real-life example of using tech to connect for good."

Wavelength Zones were first announced in partnership with Verizon in December 2019, when a pilot project was launched in Los Angeles. Wavelength Zones are now available in 19 US cities in conjunction with the US telco.

AWS first brought Wavelength Zones to the UK in 2021 in partnership with Vodafone. The companies initially launched in London and have since expanded into Manchester. The UK is currently the only country with two official Wavelength partners.

Wavelength Zones are also available in South Korea with SK Telecom, Germany via Vodafone, Japan through KDDI, and Canada with Bell Canada.

Telefónica recently announced it had been trialing a Wavelength Zone in Spain in Madrid, but it is yet to officially launch.

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