CenturyLink, Deutsche Telekom, Reliance, SK Telecom join forces on network service initiative

BARCELONA, Spain -- CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Deutsche Telekom, Reliance and SK Telecom have banded together to form the Next Generation Enterprise Network Alliance (NGENA) focusing on providing international network services for business customers.

Set to go live in the first half of next year, the partners said they expect more than 20 additional service providers to join the alliance, the foundation of which still has to satisfy regional regulations.

Leveraging the network assets of all of its partners, NGENA services will be enabled by Cisco Systems' cloud and virtualization technology. Alliance members said that Cisco's technology will help enable seamless interconnectivity and standardized interfaces between heterogeneous networks of the alliance members.

A potential benefit NGENA could bring to multinational companies is simplicity. Instead of having to purchase circuits form multiple providers to serve various offices, NGENA will enable them to buy these facilities from one source. Alliance partners will define unified service levels, meaning that instead of separate agreements in different countries, customers can be served by a single point of contact within the alliance.

"NGENA is structured much like "star alliance" airline consortium where NGENA members will share infrastructure ( 25 key data centers)," said Nav Chander, research manager for enterprise telecom for IDC, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "I think it makes sense for those CSPs that do not have a global footprint and not as big as AT&T, BT or Orange Business. 

Chandler added that it's "interesting because it's a "managed overlay" and it does not require infrastructure build and is an "alternative to the emerging SD-WAN overlay threat and positions Cisco as the key vendor."

Under the proposed structure, NGENA said that the physical and virtual network assets will be managed through hubs located in Europe, America and Asia all of which will use automated provisioning.

Initial members of the alliance said they will be able to deliver full international VPN functionality, application performance management, wide-area network and local-area network management, and optimization up to additional built-in services such as unified communication and collaboration, advanced security services, and platform APIs for adoption of industry-specific use cases.

By using network functions virtualization (NFV) and full end-to-end automation, NGENA claims that services will be to more efficient. Alliance members will focus on other features like enabling fast provisioning, even in remote areas and are aiming for profitable growth in global network access and transport services, a $50 billion market that is growing by 3.5 percent annually.

In addition to NFV, NGENA will create a global grid managed from Europe, America and Asia using a mixture of SDN and cloud technologies. With a focus on creating a common global grid, the use of Ethernet will serve the role of ensuring that the different providers' networks compatible with one another. The physical and virtual network assets will be managed through hubs in Europe, America and Asia using automated provisioning.

Customers that purchase services from NGENA will be able to access a wide set of cloud-based services, including full international VPN functionality, Application Performance Management (APM), WAN/LAN management and optimization up to additional built-in services such as Unified Communication & Collaboration (UCC), advanced security services, platform APIs for adoption of industry-specific use cases (e.g. WLAN analytics for retail).

At the core alliance will be a separate company called "NGENA," including an independent management team.

For more:
- see the release

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