Light Reading
Enterprise voice becoming a key part of expanding service strategy for national CLEC.

Level 3 Puts Voice in Service

Carol Wilson
4/4/2014
50%
50%

Known for many years as a network builder and provider of high-speed wholesale links and a sizzling content delivery network, Level 3 Communications is now building out its services strategy, capitalizing on business interest in advanced voice services and cloud connections to create a stable of offerings. (See Level 3 Offers Private Links to Cloud.)

The voice business, in particular, is proving to be hot, given Level 3 Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT)'s ability to replace legacy PRI connections, offered by incumbent telcos, with newer SIP-based services at a substantial savings, says Shaun Andrews, SVP of Global Voice and UCC Services for Level 3.

"Our Voice Complete product is one of our fastest growing services," Andrews tells Light Reading. "There is typically a 30% to 40% write-down on move to PRI to SIP, just on the cost of the service itself. On top of that you get total cost-of-ownership savings because you can manage it centrally, from a pure cost perspective -- very simple to sell and there's a huge demand for it."

Despite the savings potential fact that most if not all enterprises now operate IP-based gear on premises, some still view IP-based voice as risky business, Andrews admits. That's one of the reasons Level 3 has recently added the capability of including PRI connections to its SIP trunking for some or all locations of a multi-site business.

"There are those in financial services or healthcare that are still just a little nervous," he comments. "This new product lets them buy our SIP services and still connect locations that are PRI-based."

That can make IP voice something an enterprise can try out at a limited number of locations or something they use in growth areas as part of a more gradual move to what everyone acknowledges as an all-IP future.

The next step forward for Level 3 is to add other functions to its voice platform, as additional applications. Andrews is combining the carrier's contact center and collaboration services -- audio and videoconferencing -- as additional options for voice customers. And he is planning to combine Level 3's ReadyTalk voice conferencing service with Microsoft Lync so they can match the common messaging platform with audio conferencing. It's all part of helping enterprises move along a gradual progression to all-IP.

"People transition first by moving PBX to IP, then they switch their access to SIP, then we see that internally they move their IM and presence to the cloud via Lync Prime," Andrews says. "Then the next step before they go to rolling their telephones [to a hosted IP platform] they want a way to pull in audioconferencing."

Level 3 will be trialing hosted Lync services later this year and is exploring what its role will be in professional services, particularly in helping its large enterprise customers deal with what is often a wide range of mismatched CPE, collected through mergers and acquisitions, that can make moving forward more difficult.

With the move to more hosted and cloud-based offerings, the demarcation point between what is the premises and what is the network is becoming less clear, Andrews admits. "That's one of the things we are trying to learn," he says. "We have started a professional services group this year, and we are learning how to anticipate the customer's needs."

Many of Level 3's competitors already have professional services organizations in place so this isn't new turf for them. But as it gets deeper into the services business, Level 3 is hoping to capitalize on its large CLEC network and the financial advantages it can leverage, even in something as fundamental as voice services.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
4/7/2014 | 9:08:13 PM
Re: Unified Communications
I think you can also chalk this up to how much Level 3 has been building of its enteprise and business services. It has become a real area of focus under the current management.
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
4/5/2014 | 7:59:03 PM
Re: Unified Communications
Agreed --integrating everything is a bigger challenge than many admit and voice remains a driving force.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/5/2014 | 2:12:22 PM
Unified Communications
This is another example of a voice service moving into unified communications systems, which allow for better collaboration across organizations. Companies aren't just using desk telephones anymore.

They have mobile, IM and more social-like company intranets. Level 3 is just following customer trends. 
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Razorsight Expert's Advice on Real-Time Analytics

11|27|14   |   1:43   |   (0) comments


Razorsight's powerful cloud-based Predictive Analytics solutions are used by the world's leading communications and media brands to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimize outcomes. Get expert advice.
LRTV Interviews
From 4G to 5G: Alcatel-Lucent's Dave Geary

11|25|14   |   09:09   |   (1) comment


Dave Geary, President of Wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, talks about the evolution of the 4G market, small cells, partnerships, 5G and the IoT.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Secure Telefonica Network With Huawei's High-End Firewall

11|24|14   |   4:37   |   (0) comments


Andrew Davies, IP architect of the Telefonica, a leading digital communications company, discusses the Huawei security gateway solution and putting the solution into the testbed.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners with Spirent to Verify CE12816's 10GE Port & TRILL Networking Capabilities

11|24|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Spirent Communications is the world's leading supplier for telecom testing appliances and solutions. Spirent has been in a close partnership with Huawei for a long time.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Airlines & Its ICT Transformation

11|24|14   |   2:07   |   (0) comments


In this video, Saudi Airlines discusses its network problems and how Huawei's Agile Network is its all-in-one solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Switch Benefiting Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital

11|24|14   |   2:40   |   (0) comments


Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital speaks about how Huawei's Agile Switch has improved the medical service's network infrastructure.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FanPlay & Huawei Build a Wireless Agile Smart Stadium

11|24|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


FanPlay is a cloud-based white label service, which is effectively a football fan engagement platform underpinned by mobile payment technology.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building an Agile Stadium

11|24|14   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Stadiums may be thousands of tons of concrete and steel, but they now need to be agile. Being at the stadium may not be as alluring as it once was. Sports franchises and stadium operators discuss how to get fans back.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Helps ChinaCache Tackle Challenges in the Internet Industry

11|24|14   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


ChinaCache is China's largest content distribution network supplier. Huawei's CE12800 has provided ChinaCache with very strong support in its establishment of an infrastructure network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cefinity on Managed Security Services & Next-Generation Firewall

11|24|14   |   7:05   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a cloud management service provider in Southeast Asia. Ivan Zhang, CEO of the company, discusses the implementation of security service management in the cloud era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Gateway in the Eyes of Cefinity

11|24|14   |   2:11   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a managed service provider for enterprise networks. The company currently uses Huawei's AR series routers for the most complete range of functions. CEO Ivan Zhang speaks about the advantages of the AR series routers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
CTO of Bus-Online Talks About Huawei's Agile Gateway

11|24|14   |   2:53   |   (0) comments


Bus-Online covers around 100 million users everyday. In addition to providing mobile TV, and advertising services to the public, Bus-Online has also entered the field of mobile Internet.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Net Neutrality Even Mark Cuban Could Love
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/26/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
Why 5G Is a Different Beast
Robert Clark, 11/26/2014
New Juniper CEO Can Be Thankful for $14.5M
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed