Stealing the show: GCA 2020 winners revealed in virtual ceremony

22 October 2020 | João Marques Lima

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The 16th edition of the Global Carrier Awards (GCAs) has come to an end with an extraordinary line-up of winners who were announced during a virtual broadcast this Thursday, the 22nd of October.

Hosted by João Marques Lima, editor-in-chief of Capacity and Data Economy, the virtual ceremony also featured guest appearances from Euromoney’s Ros Irving, the chair of this year’s judging panel, Carl Roberts as well as other judges.

The 2021 edition of the Global Carrier Awards will take place on the 21st October 2021. For now, see below for all the 2020 winners and what our judges had to say about each winning entry.

Terrestrial Project of the Year

Winner: Djoliba, the seamless Orange terrestrial network for West Africa 

Djoliba is the new Orange terrestrial network in West Africa, providing secured point-to-point links between eight capital cities in the region. Its 10,000km of fibre routes bring seamless connectivity for improved quality of service. Our judges were stunned by this very impressive project in a challenging part of the world.

Subsea Project of the Year

Winner: EllaLink

The judges dubbed this entry as a great project and different from most other cable projects in its scale and funding. Our panel understands the difficultly associated with the project and its unique challenges, which make it a great achievement for the industry with milestones that will help transform how subsea business is done.

Satellite Project of the Year

Winner: SES Networks and Amdocs 

The judges see this entry a very powerful and innovative solution delivered via satellite bringing clear benefits to consumers providing seamless connectivity through a myriad of satellites. This entry has already seen an  impressive roll out in various European countries.           

Best European Project

Winner: A1 Telekom Austria Group

Our judge’s panel was amazed by the impressive rollout of over 5,000Km of dark fibre through nine countries in Central and Eastern Europe. This has been a great success for A1 Telekom Austria Group, which has one of the strongest portfolios in the region.

Best Middle Eastern African Project

Winner: Sparkle 

Sparkle established a strategic corridor between Jordan and its neighbouring countries and Europe providing an alternative and diversified route for Middle East-to-Europe IP and bandwidth connectivity. The initiative confirms Sparkle’s commitment to improve its presence in the region and anticipate upcoming deployments in Jordan.

Best Asian Project

Winner: Chindata Group 

This submission received some of the biggest complements from our judges: excellent metrics, great proof points, thorough and compelling. The company provided a strong narrative of innovation and achievement while blending in a potent renewal energy.  This entry gives a good sense of speed to market and needs in the region.

Best Americas Project

Winner: Sparkle

The judges panel dubbed this entry as a milestone project that is crucial to powering the digital age in Latin America. A compelling submission, visually attractive, well considered and well answered. The speed to market, especially during Covid-19 times, makes this an example of the talent that exists in this part of the world.

Best Internet Exchange and Internet Exchange Innovation

Winner: DE-CIX

Well crafted and considered, DE-CIX submitted a very strong entry supported by one of the best videos our judges watched this year. The submission clearly demonstrated the company’s value across numerous customers and it was clear that the innovation and service proposition,  is strong.

Best Data Centre Innovation

Winner: datamena

Our panel of expert judges were impressed with the growth in connected partners. Datamena is enabling high-quality access to digital services with a growing ecosystem. The judges said that with the rollout of cloud and hyperscalers in the MENA region, Datamena is the premier interconnection hub and will no doubt continue to grow and thrive in the digital economy.

Best Data Centre

Winner: Sparkle

This is Sparkle’s third win at this year’s  awards. The company’s ongoing global expansion with its newest Greek data centre continues at pace demonstrating that data centres in "secondary markets" are viable and necessary for the industry. Sparkle has demonstrated that it is a force to be reckoned with in the marketplace.

Best Marketing Campaign

Winner: DigiPlex

This Nordic data centre powerhouse has impressed our panel of judges with innovative and market- disrupting strategies. This was a strong submission on how a company can reposition itself to be a thought leader by focusing on relevant business topics and outcomes.

Best Social Media Campaign

Winner: C&W Networks 

With social media part of most people’s lives, C&W Networks has managed to cut through the noise and run a staggeringly powerful social media roll out of a Disaster Recovery campaign across 11 countries with results that impressed our judge’s panel.

Best Marketing Team

Winner:  C&W Networks

C&W Networks’ marketing team has conquered our judges with impressive marketing numbers and very good marketing innovation put to work by a talented group of marketeers who are driving the brand to the top of the charts.

Best Wholesale Sales Team

Winner: Talk Talk Business

The wholesale sales team at TalkTalk Business submitted some very detailed metrics demonstrating solid growth in the past year. It has been a long road back to growth for TalkTalk after some difficult years for the brand, and our judges were delighted to see them not only submitting a nomination but winning again on the back of that success.

Best Environmental, Social, Governmental Initiative

Winner: DigiPlex

Every time you browse the internet, stream a TV series, use social media or log in to your bank, a process starts in a data centre. If that centre is a power hungry, coal fired one you are contributing to climate change – no doubt unwittingly. Climate change is now recognised as a Climate Crisis, and all businesses must put sustainability at the heart of their operations. It’s time to go green and our judges certainly were impressed by Digiplex’s take on sustainability.

Best Strategic Acquisition

Winner: iBasis

This award goes to a company that has successfully carried out a strategic acquisition in the last 12 months. In this case, iBASIS’ strategic acquisition of NOS International Carrier Services is confirmation of a powerful new model gaining traction in wholesale. With this acquisition, iBASIS has emerged to become the number one Wholesale International Carrier by Revenue.

Best Inclusion & Diversity Initiative

Winner: Verizon Partner Solutions

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging hold extra special importance at Verizon Partner Solutions both internally and externally, and that has shown through this nomination. Its president, Eric Cevis is an ardent defensor of equality and was the catalyst behind the recently-formed Global Leaders’ Forum Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Working Group.

Best SDN/NFV Deployment

Winner: Amdocs' NFV SD-WAN Package on Azure, powered by ONAP at SES Networks 

The judges described this entry as an award-worthy submission, where Amdocs clearly demonstrates it is leading the change and implementing advanced cloud-based applications integrating networks and cloud for the seamless delivery of software-defined connectivity. 

Best OSS/BSS Deployment

Winner: Nexera

Nexera has shown a great story about how software from two different partners can be integrated via APIs to bring together a holistic overall solution. This is a very unique cloud-only approach to OSS/BSS and merits attention as it has huge potential to reduce cost and complexity in the industry.

Best 5G Deployment

Winner: Sparkle

This was Sparkle’s fourth award in 2020, a company clearly proving popular with our judges. In its 5G win, the business showed it is pioneering 5G data roaming interconnections, being an excellent partner to the industry. The company came through in its submission as a real example of a high level of 5G innovation solving tough technical and commercial obstacles that will benefit the wider industry.

Best Anti-Fraud Innovation

Winner: Telefónica

Telefónica presented a "full house" submission with an impressive-sounding and comprehensive explanation, all backed up by strong numbers. Our judges were mesmerised by the innovation in Fraud Detection which Telefónica is evolving at pace and at a standard expected in a global carrier. Telefónica offers a robust anti-fraud system, and it has been enhanced with innovative features, both technical and commercial.

Best Blockchain Innovation

Winner: PCCW Global

PCCW’s proof of concept for blockchain innovation amazed our judges with key milestones identified from the ongoing project. The panel said this is a very important initiative for the industry which is going to have a significant impact on carriers' cost bases.

Best Cloud Innovation

Winner: Telstra

Telstra has built upon multiple milestones creating a global network for cloud interconnect. Through TPN, Telstra is at the forefront of ensuring interconnected global cloud connectivity. The company is continuing to innovate through leadership in the SDN market, now in the seventh year of evolution.

Best Data Service Innovation

Winner: Orange IP Transit Online 

This was Orange’s second win this year and its data service innovation efforts have shown a company that is truly agile, with incredible growth aspirations in the data field. Our judges said this was an incredibly well-constructed submission from Orange, with a thorough, lucid and easy to follow the narrative.

Best IoT Initiative

Winner: Amdocs' eSIM Cloud

Amdocs has skyrocketed to the top of our judges’ rankings for its very impressive eSIM milestones. Our Judges described the company’s work – and I quote – as “truly excellent, important and very significant for IoT - the holy grail of eSIM”. 

Best OTT Partnership

Winner: HGC Global Communications

With more than 130 OTT customers across different verticals from gaming to hyperscalers, HGC Global Communications has clearly shown in its submission a deep understanding of the needs of its partners and clients in the OTT space.  Our judges added that this was a quality submission including great use of customer references and supporting documentation.

Best Voice & IPX Services Innovation

Winner: XConnect

XConnect presented our judges with a strong and well-supported submission. The company put forward an upfront perceived niche solution with fundamental cost enhancement potential and a well defined path to scalable roll-out. Our judges see XConnect as a deserving winner of the Best Voice Service Innovation Award for its achievements and evolution.

Best Network Technology Innovation

Winner: Ciena's WaveLogic 5 Extreme

Ciena is the only company in the industry with a commercially available 800G solution... Ciena is delivering new levels of scale, programmability, and economics to optical networking and,  In its submission, the brand shone through with a solid presentation putting forward a solution that is cost-efficient, agile and fast.

Best Subsea Innovation

Winner: GlobeNet

GlobeNet connects the Americas with an integrated portfolio of services, supported by its advanced IT infrastructure at data centres and landing stations. Our judges were enthusiastic about the company’s projects and milestones and said that it is excellent to see on-going innovation in the subsea arena, of which Globenet is a pioneer.

Wholesale Innovation Disruptor of the Year

Winner: PCCW Global 

The judges praised the impressive launch and capability of PCCW Global’s Console Connect, the world’s first platform for Software-Defined Interconnection and a game-changer for business. Console Connect makes the process of connecting to cloud-based, business-critical applications and geographically distributed offices, partners and clients simple, predictable and secure.

Best Eastern and CIS Wholesale Carrier

Winner: OTEGlobe

This was a solid submission from Oteglobe. A pulse racing business model with a strong fibre connectivity portfolio and ambitious expansion plans allied to a strong telco partner programme.  Given all that is happening with digitalisation, innovation in business models and disruptive economics, this submission shone through for our judges.

Best Pan-European Wholesale Carrier

Winner: Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier 

Our expert panel of judges was positively overwhelmed by Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier’s capability to bring such a significant amount of innovation across the technology and services spectrums to the European marketplace. All this while addressing security issues and working collaboratively with other carriers, equipment manufacturers and solution providers. A very strong story professionally presented.

Best Middle Eastern and African Wholesale Carrier

Winner: Liquid Telecom 

This was a strong submission with excellent examples of recent innovation across the region, which demonstrates the reach of Liquid Telecom’s business. The judges said it is great to see innovation across different products and services, strong evidence of investment across a broad portfolio and impressive results book that proves robust support for their business strategy and leadership.

Best Asian Wholesale Carrier 

Winner: China Mobile International 

An excellent entry by China Mobile International which is committed to providing extensive and reliable network resources to connect Asia Pacific and Belt and Road countries with each other and the rest of the world. Our judges were especially impressed by the company’s iConnect product suite and IoT roaming solutions.

Best Latin American & Caribbean Wholesale Carrier

Winner: C3NTRO Telecom 

With 25 years of unparalleled experience supplying Voice, SMS, Data & Fiber services to carriers around the world, C3ntro Telecom is the owner of a state-of-the-art global network, with more than 300 direct interconnections and in-country partners worldwide.

Best North American Wholesale Carrier

Winner: Verizon Partner Solutions 

This is the most on point submission for this category according to our judges. Verizon's video clearly highlighted its benefits to wholesale customers and shows why these customers choose Verizon as a partner. The company’s ongoing evolution, including its VPS program, is one of the strongest in the market.

Best Global Wholesale Carrier – VOICE

Winner: Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier 

The judges say Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier is a robust and reliable voice service provider. It offers a comprehensive and continually enhanced range of solutions for every need. With strong partnerships, the company can quickly launch new voice solutions that help clients get ready for a fast-changing future. Our panel of experts said this was an excellent, deep and relevant submission.

Best Global Wholesale Carrier – DATA

Winner: Colt Technology Services 

Colt Technology Services submitted one of the strongest entries this year, The firm not only answered the questions laid out in the criteria, but went into detail to support their submission. This was highly appreciated by the judges who are also happy to see the API integration in partnership with AT&T come to life – a true and meaningful step forward for the carrier industry.

Best Covid-19 Initiative

Winner: Amdocs

This was Amdocs' fourth award in this edition of the Global Carrier Awards, taking home the trophy for the Best Covid-19 Initiative. In a year that has posed many challenges to the world, Amdocs speed of response to COVID and the benefits of its program to its employees, clients and the wider community clearly shows how the company was able to quickly unite around a common goal and help in a time of need.