Orange Business has regained its standing as the top global Ethernet provider from BT Global Services (NYSE: BT) on Vertical Systems Group's 2013 Global Provider Ethernet Leaderboard.
What has helped Orange Business retain its position is its aggressive buildout of its Ethernet network to support more global IP VPN customers. Today, the service provider offers Ethernet in 120 international countries.
Despite its lead, Rick Malone, principal at Vertical Systems Group, said that Orange and BT are in a dead heat for the top Ethernet provider seat based on port share.
"The share margin between the two is razor thin as both companies push Ethernet into their extensive bases of global IP VPN customers," he said.
Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group in an interview with FierceTelecom, said that Orange's strength comes from two factors: providing MPLS and Ethernet access to VPNs and coverage.
"It's a combination of MPLS and Ethernet access to VPNs pushing a lot of that," said Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group in an interview with FierceTelecom. "The other issue is footprint and Orange is now up to more than 120 countries and for the global multinational networks the name of the game is to provide access in as many countries as you can so having Ethernet that's that extensive is an advantage."
Not far behind Orange is BT, which has been expanding its coverage in both Asia Pacific and Latin America.
Besides providing wireline-based access to VPNs, the other factor is having a broad portfolio of service options, including wireless, data centers, and managed services.
"One of the directions we're seeing, especially to the large multinationals and large enterprises, is consolidating a lot of traffic and they are looking at any kind of access and mobile traffic becomes a piece of that," Cochran said. "As that grows that becomes another component of putting solution together for multinational customers."
Following Orange Business and BT were five other major operators that have been expanding their services outside of their home territories: Verizon (NYSE: VZ) (U.S.), Colt (U.K.), AT&T (NYSE: T) (U.S.), NTT (Japan) and Level 3 (NYSE: LVLT) (U.S.).
Besides these service providers, the research firm also noted ongoing moves by other global providers offering Ethernet services outside of their home country that have port shares that are below the Leaderboard threshold. These service providers are segmented by share into two tiers: the Challenge tier and the Market Player tier.
Leading the Challenge Tier were seven companies: Cogent (Nasdaq: CCOI) (U.S.), Reliance Globalcom (India), SingTel (Singapore), Tata Communications (NYSE: TCL) (India), Telefonica Worldwide (Spain), T-Systems (Germany) and Vodafone (U.K.).
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Updated article on March 10 with quotes from Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group.