Microsoft will acquire virtualized mobile network company Affirmed Networks as it eyes the burgeoning 5G market.

Affirmed counts more than 100 carriers as customers, including Vodafone, Orange, Telus, AT&T, and SoftBank.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Affirmed has raised more than $150 million, including a $38 million round in February, and employs more than 500 people.

The 5G land grab

Microsoft Azure
– Sebastian Moss

"We believe that software can play an important role in helping advance 5G and deliver new network solutions that offer step-change advancements in speed, cost and security," corporate VP of Azure Networking, Yousef Khalidi, said.

"There is a significant opportunity for both incumbents and new players across the industry to innovate, collaborate and create new markets, serving the networking and Edge computing needs of our mutual customers."

Just a day before the acquisition was announced, Affirmed appointed Anand Krishnamurthy as its new CEO and president. "We have created a model for mobile networks of the future that is open, cloud-native and capable of being web-scale, all at 70 percent of the cost of traditional networks," Krishnamurthy said in a blog post announcing the company's sale.

"Upon the close of this transaction, Affirmed Networks, the company that we built from the ground-up to become an industry-transforming leader in virtualization and 5G, will become part of Microsoft."

The acquisition comes just a few weeks after rival Google Cloud launched Anthos for Telecom, and the company said that it would partner with AT&T to test a portfolio of 5G Edge computing solutions. AT&T is also a major Azure customer.