AT&T takes top spot and Comcast bumps Verizon on SD-WAN Leaderboard

Vertical Systems Group says Comcast Business's rise on the Leaderboard is due to 'organic growth' plus sites added from the Masergy acquisition.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

March 24, 2022

3 Min Read
AT&T takes top spot and Comcast bumps Verizon on SD-WAN Leaderboard

AT&T has maintained its position as the top US carrier managed SD-WAN provider in 2021 for the fourth consecutive year, according to Vertical Systems Group's annual SD-WAN Leaderboard.

Comcast Business rose two places to the No. 2 position on the Leaderboard, bumping down Hughes and Verizon to third and fourth place, respectively. Vertical Systems Group (VSG) says that Comcast Business's rise on the Leaderboard is due to "organic growth" plus sites added from the acquisition of Masergy.

"Competition is heating up as evidenced by the shakeup in top provider rankings on our year-end 2021 US Leaderboard benchmark," said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group, in a statement.

Figure 2: (Source: Vertical Systems Group) (Source: Vertical Systems Group)

Lumen Technologies, Windstream and Aryaka ranked fifth through seventh. Lumen and Windstream effectively traded places on the 2021 Leaderboard – in 2020, Windstream was fifth and Lumen sixth. Aryaka has maintained its position as seventh since 2020. Service providers that make the Leaderboard each have at least 2% of the installed and billable carrier managed SD-WAN customer sites in the US.

"The US managed SD-WAN services market emerged from the pandemic in 2021 with solid growth in new site installations, driven by accelerated network transformations and more flexible solutions for customers," said Malone.

In addition to ranking on the Leaderboard, AT&T, Comcast Business, Verizon, Lumen and Windstream also have MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Service Certification and employees with MEF SD-WAN Certified Professional training certification.

While it may come as a surprise to some that broadband satellite service provider Hughes ranked third, Erin Dunne, director of research services for Vertical Systems Group, told Light Reading in 2020 that Hughes provides SD-WAN to thousands of locations such as gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants.

"[Hughes] started moving from a wireless to a wireline provider and offering broadband – when they convert one contract, you're talking thousands and thousands of sites. They're very good at carrier-managed services," Dunne told Light Reading.

Challenge Tier, top suppliers and Market Players

VSG also designates a Challenge Tier citation, which includes service providers with between 1% and 2% share of US Carrier Managed SD-WAN sites. For 2021, in alphabetical order, Fusion Connect, MetTel and TPx were on the Challenge Tier. TPx ranked eighth on the 2020 Leaderboard but was knocked off to the Challenge Tier in 2021.

Among the primary technology suppliers to the service providers ranked on the Leaderboard are Cisco, Fortinet, Versa and VMware. SD-WAN providers Aryaka and Hughes use their own internally developed SD-WAN technologies.

VSG's Market Players list includes service providers delivering carrier managed SD-WAN services in the US with less than 1% site share, and global network providers managing US customer sites. The 2021 Market Player tier includes, in alphabetical order: AireSpring, American Telesis, Arelion, Astound Business, Bigleaf, bSimplify, BT Global Services, C Spire Business, CentraCom, Cincinnati Bell, Cogent, Colt, Consolidated Communications, Cox, Crown Castle, DQE Communications, FirstLight, Frontier, Great Plains Communication, GTT, InfoStructure, Intelsat, Lightpath, Logix Fiber Networks, Meriplex, NTT, Orange Business, PCCW Global, PS Lightwave, SDN Communications, Segra, SES, SingTel, Sparklight Business, Spectrum Enterprise, Syringa, T-Mobile, T-Systems, Tata, Telefonica, Telstra, Transtelco, Unite Private Networks, Uniti, Veracity Networks, Virgin Media Business, Vodafone, Zayo and more.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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