Carrier wholesale customers choose network performance

19 June 2012 | Judy Reed Smith

ATLANTIC-ACM has just completed analysis of more than 1,200 evaluations of long-haul carriers by their wholesale customers for 2012.

Overall, customers report greater satisfaction with wholesale operations, products and pricing, though beneath-the-surface ratings bucked the overall upward trend. Here’s our top three findings:

1. Purchasing drivers and price satisfaction

For the first time in this study’s nearly 20 year history, price competitiveness failed to rank as the leading purchasing driver in the US long-haul wholesale space. Network performance edged it out for the top spot. Price remains a major factor however, and price competitiveness scores highly again this year reflecting pressure on both voice and data prices.

2. Data and voice product quality rises

Among the growth engine data products, quality scores improved in Legacy DIA, Ethernet DIA, IP-based WAN, intercity Ethernet, intercity wavelengths and low capacity long-haul transport. High capacity long-haul transport, one of the items customers pegged for added spending in the research, rated flat to down in satisfaction, leaving an area of opportunity for a company able to differentiate its quality.

On the shrinking voice products, satisfaction with quality improved in 800 termination, outbound (1+) and VoIP termination. VoIP interconnection quality scores moved from the 2011 highest level of quality rating to the 2012 voice product with the lowest quality rating.

3. Trends in spends

For 2012-13, respondents expect significant overall increases in Ethernet spending, which they report accounts for 33% of their current spending, compared with a 24% share last year.
Wavelengths are holding steady at 15%this year. OCn and SONET dropped to 18% this year from 22% last year, and DS3 and below fell from a 40% percent share of 2011 spending to 33% for 2012. Looking specifically at high-growth products, 62% of respondents expect to increase spend on Intercity wavelengths over the next 12 months, while 61% and 55% anticipate increased spending on Ethernet DIA and Intercity Ethernet, respectively.

Kudos to all carriers whose services have customers more satisfied and hooray that, after so many years of price driving decisions, network performance trumped price as the top driver of purchase.

Judy Reed Smith is CEO of ATLANTIC-ACM. She can be contacted at: