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Carriers Hope MPLS-based Services Offset Declining Voice Revenue

In the face of plunging traditional revenue streams, service providers are placing high hopes on MPLS-based services from both a top line and bottom line standpoint.

However, Yankee Group reports that the MPLS positioning strategies of the top seven U.S. carriers vary greatly. Incumbents AT&T and MCI continue in their efforts to migrate existing Layer 2 customers to MPLS.

In parallel, the historically conservative approach of the challengers becomes increasingly aggressive as competition for enterprise business continues heating up.

"Differentiating MPLS product offerings based on features and benefits will not be a sustainable long-term advantage beyond the next 18 months," says Yankee Group analyst, David Parks. "A carrier's ability to serve an enterprise's geographic requirements in a consistent fashion"whether they are regional, national or international"will dictate market success. As a result, the challengers will keep coverage area expansion at the top of their lists in 2004."

Sprint will shift its focus from domestic to international support. This will enable it to compete more effectively for large enterprise business. BellSouth, SBC, Qwest and Verizon will remain focused on achieving national coverage. Understanding they cannot address the international requirements of most large enterprises, they will target the mid-market with their MPLS services.

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