• United States

Sprint continues push to expand global reach

Jul 21, 20033 mins
Network SecurityVPN

Sprint is aggressively expanding its global network to offer dedicated IP services to more multinational business users.

Sprint is aggressively expanding its global network to offer dedicated IP services to more multinational business users.

The carrier is building points of presence around the world and partnering with well-known international service providers such as Equant and Infonet to offer customers ubiquitous IP and data services in 100 countries.

In the past 12 months, Sprint has deployed 50 network nodes in countries such as Germany, Taiwan and Venezuela, says Dan O’Connor, vice president of marketing for Sprint International.

The carrier is putting much effort into building out its wholly owned network by purchasing dark and fully lit fiber from local providers in dozens of countries. Sprint also has drafted new and expanded relationships with 80 undersea cable network providers to improve connectivity and enhance redundancy between continents and countries, O’Connor says.

While Sprint offers IP services in 100 countries, it still reaches the majority of its international customers through partner networks. Sprint has POPs in 25 countries, and has sales, customer service and technical staff in 30 countries. The carrier works closely with partners in the remaining regions.

“Sprint is very good at working with partners,” says Brownlee Thomas, an analyst at Forrester Research. “[Sprint] has a long history of playing well with other providers, which is not a strong point for other multinational carriers, namely AT&T and MCI.”

Sprint’s ability to work well and select stable international partners will result in new service-level guarantees that the carrier plans to launch this quarter.

The carrier says it will offer dedicated IP, Network Based VPN and its Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol v3 (L2TPv3) customers standard service-level agreements (SLA) that will cover a customer’s entire network even if it spans several provider backbones, says Peter Parish, director of product marketing at Sprint.

Today, the carrier only offers these types of SLAs on an “individual customer basis.”

Although the majority of Sprint’s international expansion focuses on the carrier’s IP offerings, O’Connor says it also is expanding the reach of traditional frame relay, ATM and private-line services. But support for these legacy services is not as widely available. For example, they will not be available in most of Latin America and parts of Europe.

Instead of pushing traditional data services, Sprint is focusing on its L2TPv3 offerings, which it announced in January.

These offerings, called SprintLink Packet Private Line, SprintLink Frame Relay and Virtual LAN Service, let users support a hybrid network environment. For example, a customer could maintain local frame relay connectivity at most of its sites, but its traffic travels over Sprint’s IP network. Customers also have the option of upgrading new or existing sites to IP and supporting a mix of network connectivity with all traffic traveling over Sprint’s IP network.

By year-end, Sprint also plans on offer its Network Based VPN service in 21 cities around the world. The carrier’s Network Based VPN service is primarily a domestic service with some users supported out of Sprint’s London POP.