Bell Canada will incorporate Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Wavelength into its 5G network edge, making it the first Canadian operator to use Wavelength, which is Amazon’s cloud platform that’s designed specifically for edge computing. The Canadian service provider also said AWS is its preferred public cloud provider.
Bell’s alliance with AWS is similar to Verizon’s AWS partnership. Verizon made AWS its preferred cloud provider for business applications and then a year later announced it was using AWS Wavelength for its 5G edge network.
AWS Wavelength zones are sites where AWS compute and storage services are embedded within a telecom company’s data centers at the edge of the 5G network. These zones allow data traffic to reach application servers within the zones without leaving the mobile provider’s network. This means that the distance that the application data has to travel is shortened, which improves performance. And because the traffic avoids taking multiple hops between different sites across the internet, like most wireless traffic must travel, it is faster and more secure.
Bell didn’t reveal where it was planning to deploy AWS Wavelength Zones, nor how many it will have. Verizon has 10 AWS Wavelength Zones in cities across the U.S. and KDDI, which also is using AWS Wavelength, has two zones in Japan.
Bell said that it will work with AWS to modernize its applications and services and use AWS advanced capabilities like machine learning and analytics. In addition, it noted that one of the big benefits of AWS Wavelength is that it will open Bell’s network to AWS developers that want to create low-latency applications for services such as immersive gaming, ultra-high-definition video streaming, self-driving cars, and smart manufacturing that will run on the company’s 5G distributed network.
Bell launched 5G a year ago and now its service is available to approximately 35% of Canada’s population. The company said it is on track to cover up to 70% of Canada’s population by year-end.
Bell is pouring a lot of money into its network. The company just increased its capital investment plan from $1.2 billion to $1.7 billion and will use that funding to accelerate its 5G footprint and expand its fiber footprint.