Report: Sprint Leads Global IP Transit

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has more transit relationships globally than any other international IP network operator, according to new statistics for the first quarter of 2006 from Internet intelligence firm Renesys Corp.

Using its home-grown technology that monitors the routing tables of the world's advertised IP networks, Renesys has compiled a Top 10 table of carriers ranked by the number of direct or indirect transit relationships they have. (See Carriers Get Internet Savvy.)

Sprint is top of the pile, followed by Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) and Verizon Enterprise Solutions -- courtesy of the UUNet international IP network it now owns following its acquisition of MCI. (See Verizon-MCI Cleared .)

Table 1: Global IP Transit Customer Base Top 10
Rank Name AS Number % growth in number of IP transit relationships in 1Q06
1 Sprint 1239 3.20%
2 Level 3 3356 5%
3 UUNet (Verizon Business) 701 18.10%
4 AT&T 7018 0.70%
5 Verio/NTT 2914 6%
6 Global Crossing 3549 1.90%
7 Savvis 3561 -0.80%
8 Qwest 209 -3.90%
9 Telia 1299 8.90%
10 Teleglobe 6453 1.70%
Source: Renesys

Sprint's pole position during the first three months of 2006 is largely thanks to its dominance in the Asia/Pacific region, as well as a strong showing in the other major markets, according to Renesys co-founder and CTO Jim Cowie.

"Sprint has a very rich presence in Asia, and particularly China, where it has very good relationships with carriers such as China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA)," says Cowie.

Overall, the Top 10 "reinforces conventional wisdom" about the state of the global IP networking market, notes Cowie, and includes many of the names dominant in certain geographies during the month of February, as reported previously in Light Reading. (See Report: Level 3 Tops IP Transit.)

The table also shows the percentage change in the number of transit relationships each carrier has, measured by the number of network prefixes in each carrier's routing table.

"Level 3 is strong and has grown following its acquisition of WilTel Communications Group Inc. Level 3 is now credited with providing IP transit connections to all WilTel's customers," adds Cowie. (See Level 3 Takes Out WilTel.)

The biggest growth in the first quarter, 18.1 percent, came from Verizon Business's UUNet, which was the fastest growing IP carrier in terms of transit relationships in North America and Asia/Pacific, and boasted the second fastest growth in Latin America, according to Renesys.

"UUNet's growth was mainly in North America, and may have been helped by the merger with Verizon," says Cowie, who notes that merger and acquisition activity is just one of a number of factors that can affect transit relationship growth rates. "Routing policy decisions and service provider politics can also play a role."

Another carrier showing significant growth in the first quarter was Telia Carrier , mainly due to growth in Europe "and central Asia/Pacific, especially Russia," according to Cowie.

NTT/Verio Inc. 's decent growth of 6 percent came from an increase in transit relationships in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, according to Renesys, which notes that the company is "the largest transit provider in Asia, and the fourth fastest growing, despite their minimal presence in the Chinese market."

Finally, the Renesys report says Teleglobe International Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: TLGB), now part of Indian giant Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) (NYSE: VSL), "bumped Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CCOI) out of the Top 10 at the end of this quarter. The two have traded places several times. Teleglobe topped the growth list in Canada, France, and India, and had top ten growth in 63 different countries." The VSNL acquisition suggests that Teleglobe is "due for more Asian growth this year."

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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