Many telcos have argued that owning data center assets would be a good way to complement connectivity services. Some have found the synergies less than truly compelling. The issue now is whether mobile edge computing will be different.
AT&T hopes so, thinking that its existing real estate portfolio (central offices, macro towers and small cells will provide locations for edge computing.
So AT&T will outfit those facilities with high-end graphics processing chips and other general purpose computers, to create new edge computing facilities.
AT&T believes it could someday embed these systems in everyday items like traffic lights and other infrastructure as well.
The point is that edge computing could provide a way for telcos to leverage existing assets to create new roles in the computing fabric and ecosystem that some might argue have eluded them in the centralized computing era.