Telenor (TEL.OL) and Alphabet Inc’s Google Cloud (GOOGL.O) have formed a partnership to digitalise the Norwegian telecom company’s global operations and are exploring ways to jointly offer services to customers, the two companies said on Monday.
The firms will not only use Google Cloud’s services to boost Telenor’s own IT and network, but also collaborate to provide Telenor’s customers with digital tools, their respective chief executives told Reuters.
Oslo-based Telenor serves 172 million customers with roughly half its revenue generated in Asia and half in the Nordics.
The digitalisation project will mean a big transformation for Telenor, but is also part of its ambition to find new revenue streams, Telenor’s CEO Sigve Brekke said.
“I think the future for telcos is to move beyond connectivity, and to create value on top of connecting customers,” he said.
With networks increasingly reliant on software, Telenor needs to build a cloud-based business, and Google’s abilities in providing data management knowledge, machine learning and artificial intelligence make it a good fit, Brekke added.
“To digitalise our operation is to make it smoother,” Brekke said. “You can predict outages before they happen… when you’re displacing some of your backend processes, you can smooth out customer experiences and make them better.”
Digitalising the core operations of a telecommunications company as large as Telenor is new to Google Cloud and so are the joint customer offerings, said Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google Cloud.
Among the first services the two envisage providing jointly is a platform to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) transform to digital operations.
“This not just about optimising data centres and moving data centres to the cloud,” Kurian said.
“The work that we’re doing with SMEs…we are not just offering as a technology supplier, but building a joint offering to a customer segment.”