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Report: Level 3 Tops IP Transit

Ray Le Maistre

Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) is the leading IP transit player in North America and Europe, while Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) tops the table in the critical growth market of Asia/Pacific, according to new market data provided exclusively to Light Reading by Internet intelligence firm Renesys Corp. . (See Carriers Get Internet Savvy.)

Information gathered from service provider routing tables by the company's technology allows it to create a Customer Base Index that "identifies service providers in each geographic region who are responsible for meeting the Internet transit needs (directly or indirectly) of significant numbers of large customer networks," says Renesys in a global IP connectivity update report created for Light Reading.

The index allows Renesys to compare any service providers in terms of their transit presence in any particular geographic market, from whole continents to individual metropolitan areas.

The new report, based on information gathered in the week of February 12, ranks network operators in three regions, with Level 3 topping the charts in North America and Europe, and Sprint leading the way in Asia/Pacific.

The Renesys team says there are few surprises in North America and Europe, which is dominated by a "classic lineup of Internet core providers." (See tables 1 and 2 below). The name that stands out from that crowd is the U.S. Department of Defense, which ranks 10th in North America.

Table 1: North America IP Transit Ranking

Rank Network Operator AS number
1 Level 3 Communications AS 3356
2 UUNET Technologies AS 701
3 AT&T WorldNet Services AS 7018
4 Sprint AS 1239
5 Qwest AS 209
6 Cogent Communications AS 174
7 Savvis AS 3561
8 Williams Communications AS 7911
9 Global Crossing AS 3549
10 DoD Network Information Center AS 721
Source: Renesys

The DoD's ranking, though, is "not entirely surprising, when you consider how much network infrastructure they operate, in so many individual North American markets. They're also a big reason (perhaps the only reason) why Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) consistently cracks the top five," states the Renesys report.

In Europe, the national incumbents "continue to make a strong showing in their home territories, which translates into strong European rankings overall. Telia Company stands out from that crowd, having gone to some trouble to build out its presence in New Europe's growth markets such as Poland, Hungary, and Latvia -- all countries where it currently ranks number one."

Table 2: European IP Transit Ranking
Rank Network Operator AS number
1 Level 3 Communications AS 3356
2 Sprint AS 1239
3 TeliaNet Global Network AS 1299
4 Global Crossing AS 3549
5 Cable & Wireless AS 1273
6 France Telecom AS 5511
7 Telecom Italia Sparkle AS 6762
8 Teleglobe AS 6453
9 Deutsche Telekom AS 3320
10 BT European Backbone AS 5400
Source: Renesys

But it's the Asia/Pacific region that deserves the greatest attention, according to Renesys. (See table 3 below.)

Table 3: Asia/Pacific IP Transit Ranking
Rank Network Operator AS number
1 Sprint AS 1239
2 NTT America AS 2914
3 China Telecom AS 4134
4 KDDI AS 2516
5 Savvis AS 3561
6 UUNET Technologies AS 701
7 Japan Telecom AS 4725
8 AT&T WorldNet Services AS 7018
9 Level 3 Communications AS 3356
10 Teleglobe AS 6453
Source: Renesys

Sprint "has made a big effort to climb this list, particularly in China -- where it provides enough transit to China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA) to be ranked number 1 incountry -- in Singapore (number 2 incountry), and Hong Kong (number 3 incountry)," according to Renesys's ranking. Sprint places in the top 25 in 34 Asian countries overall, more than any other provider, notes the report.

Savvis (Nasdaq: SVVS) "also has a broad footprint, having zoomed to number 5 in Asia when it acquired and integrated Cable and Wireless US." Level 3, meanwhile, "has nowhere near the presence in Asia that it does in Europe and North America." (See Savvis Bulks Up.)

So why does Asia/Pacific deserve particular attention? The Renesys team notes that "conventional wisdom states that Asian network transit will be the driver of global Internet growth during the next 10 years. If you believe that, then this list of the Asian top 10 presumably gives you a preview of who will be atop the global rankings before long."

In future reports for Light Reading, Renesys will rank service providers according to "Customer Growth," which measures the rates of change in the network operators' customer base over time, and "Customer Criticality," which measures each service provider's "captive audience" of heavily reliant customers that "don't aggressively multihome their prefixes to competitors."

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:03:29 AM
re: Report: Level 3 Tops IP Transit
I didn't think that Level 3 had any facilities in Asia/Pacific. How do they make it to 9 on that list?
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:03:26 AM
re: Report: Level 3 Tops IP Transit
1 route to Japan I thought. Everything else was given away (yes, I mean given away) to Telstra in about 2001 on the condition they finish construction.
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:03:21 AM
re: Report: Level 3 Tops IP Transit
Level (3) has a bunch of space in Asia over on the other side of the continent, in Turkey. The other issue is that they are the #2 provider to Asia netcom, even though they provide service to them from the US. Lots of East Asian networks buy transit in california.

I covered this in my blog followup to this story over at http://www.renesys.com/blog/
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