SFR Business Team, the France-based business arm of SFR, has formed a new business service initiative called Network Team that includes Verizon Business (NYSE: VZ), Vodafone (Nasdaq: VOD), Etisalat, Maroc Telecom and Tata Communications (NYSE: TCL).
This new alliance builds on an initial pact SFR established with Verizon in June where the U.S. telco would deliver global connectivity while SFR will provide services inside France.
Joel Stradling, Research Director, Business Network and IT Services for Current Analysis, wrote in a report in July that the Verizon/SFR alliance had benefits to both SFR and Verizon.
He wrote that that by partnering with SFR, "Verizon can leverage SFR Business's strong domestic infrastructure in France" while "SFR Business expands its global services portfolio by reselling Verizon's range."
With the newly expanded relationship with Verizon and the other set of partners, Network Team will serve up VPN services with interoperability between sites on each carrier's network, prioritized flows between each customer's sites, and QoS guarantees for data services.
SFR said it plans to establish similar arrangements with other international service providers in the next few months. In addition to VPN services, the group will offer wireline voice, Internet and wireless services and later cloud services.
Of course, SFR faces a number of competitive challenges in serving France-based multinational service segment. They have to face off with strong incumbent carriers like BT France (NYSE: BT) and Orange Business Services that have well-established presence in France serving both multinational and France-based enterprise customers with VPN and Ethernet services.
Besides SFR's lack of global service brand recognition, Stradling added that "Partnering complicates account management, potentially giving multiple points of contact."
The ability to deliver a broad set of global Ethernet and IP services will be a big factor in SFR and their partners to compete on a global scale. Orange Business and BT, for instance, which rank number one and four respectively on Vertical Systems Group's mid-2012 global provider Ethernet Leaderboard, have continually expanded their Ethernet presence not only in France, but a host of other key international countries including Asia Pacific, EMEA and Latin America.
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