AT&T Leads, But Level 3 Passes Verizon in Ethernet Share

Level 3 Communications’ 2014 acquisition of tw telecom not only made it a much larger network-services provider — it’s now a bigger player in carrier Ethernet.

Level 3 jumped up the latest Vertical Systems Group Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard, which ranks companies based on number of retail ports in 2014. The Colorado-based communications giant is now in second place, trailing only AT&T. Verizon is third.

CenturyLink, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox and XO Communications round out the list. To make it onto the leaderboard, a company must have at least 4 percent market share.

Don’t be surprised to see the rankings change again before the year is out.

“The Carrier Ethernet marketplace is actively consolidating as providers seek to augment their footprints, expand their portfolios, and enhance shareholder value,” said Rick Malone, principal at Vertical Systems Group. “We anticipate additional major changes in 2015, some already announced, with others in process.”

Perhaps of more import to partners selling Ethernet is the 23 percent increase in port installations last year. The market saw a 26 percent increase in 2013, so business is booming and sales opportunities are there as customers set up wide-area networks.

Providers who have the Metro Ethernet Forum’s CE 2.0 service certification are setting themselves apart, VSG noted. Six of the eight companies on the leaderboard are CE 2.0 certified; the other two have CE 1.0 certification.

VSG named five more companies to its Challenge Tier, defined as those providers with between 1 and 4 percent of the retail Ethernet market. They are, in alphabetical order: Charter, Cogent, Lightpath, Windstream and Zayo.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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