Sprint finds its wireline service niche in the mid-sized business market

Sean Buckley, FierceTelecomSprint (NYSE: S) may today be known as one of the largest wireless operators, but it is just as strong on the wireline side, where it has found a "sweet spot" in serving mid-sized businesses that have been often ignored by larger players.

In the latest On the Hot Seat interview, I talk to Mike Fitz, vice president, wireline and solutions engineering for Sprint.

Given all of the choices that mid- and large-sized business have for services, Fitz says what sets Sprint apart from others is its simple approach to serving businesses and being flexible.

Take its MPLS service. The service provider offers MPLS service with what Fitz says is a "simple pricing structure of port plus access," adding that there is "additional charge for classes of service."

Also, Sprint is flexible with how customers use and purchase Managed Network Solutions (MNS) in that they can purchase all of their services or pick and choose what works best for their needs.

Sprint may be clearly focused on expanding its wireless capabilities, but in 2012 it increased wireline business spending by 53 percent to boost its global MPLS network and extend its Ethernet footprint in international countries like Spain through E-NNI (external-network to network interconnection agreements with other carrier partners.

A key area of focus will be on expanding its Ethernet service presence and service portfolio. Traditionally used to access its MPLS network services, Sprint's Ethernet service is available in 147 markets domestically and 64 countries. Later this year it is going to introduce a new set of Carrier Ethernet services and continue to expand in existing and new markets.

Analyst groups are taking notice of Sprint's growing relevance in the wireline-based business services market. Gartner, for one, raised its profile from niche player to challenger on its recent Magic Quadrant for Global Network Service Providers.--Sean

Check out our new Hot Seat interview here