2010's wholesale service provider allstars

Now that the Spring COMPTEL Spring--a show that focused on selling wholesale services to competitive providers and increasingly wireless carriers--has wrapped, I think it's time FierceTelecom pay tribute to the leaders of this space with our top ten wholesale all stars special feature. 

Competition in the wholesale market has never been riper. The market segment continues to reveal new opportunities to deliver IP-based services for both incumbent and a number of hungry emerging competitive providers.

Not surprisingly, a new drive by most, if not all of the wholesalers we talked to, was around providing wireless backhaul services. While TDM-based T1 access was sufficient for wireless backhaul when the U.S. wireless operators to 4G WiMAX (Sprint) and LTE will require multiple megabits of bandwidth to sate the needs of new data-centric services.

But for all of the hoopla over fiber-based wireless backhaul, it's still a relatively nascent market. A New Paradigm Resources Group (NPRG) report revealed that there were more than 250,000 cell towers in North America, yet less than 16 percent of them were fiber fed.

Even with all of this opportunity, wholesaler network operators aren't without their challenges. Incumbent players may have the experience and know how to build complex large-scale networks, but they increasingly have to find ways to differentiate in a competitive market by sticking to the fundamentals of providing a good customer experience. Meanwhile, a growing crop of wholesale competitors (cable, CLECs, competitive wholesalers and even VNOs) may be happy to compete for new business, but in some cases lack the geographic reach or deployment/maintenance resources of a larger incumbent carrier.

Check in later this week for Part II of this series, which will feature profiles on executives from other incumbent and competitive wholesale service providers. Take a look at these stories by following the links here and let us know what you think. --Sean