Maintaining the high road

05 May 2008

Best Wholesale Carrier
Winner: NTT Communications
Last year's winner: Asia Netcom

Owner: 100% subsidiary of NTT Group

Business scope: Managed enterprise services, wholesale carrier and IP services in Asia-Pacific

Financial: Operating revenue (nine months to Dec 31): 732.4t yen ($7.1b), down 1.5%. Net income: 49.2t yen ($477.2b), up 39%

In a business red in tooth and claw as telecom wholesale, there's only two ways to go: cut prices or improve services.

No prizes for guessing which path was chosen by NTT Communications, the IP and managed services subsidiary of the NTT Group. The company has a reputation for first-class engineering, and runs the only global tier 1 network in Asia.

Setsuya Kimura, president and CEO of NTT Asia-Pacific, says the IP bandwidth game is about quality. 'The competition has become tougher, but we don't take part in a price war,' he said. 'We provide quality in operation and additional value.'

First of all, that means capacity. Like all other carriers, NTT is expanding its bandwidth to meet booming demand.

NTT Com has 53 Gbps of IP capacity in the region and 185 Gbps across the Pacific. It is a major partner in the giant 5.12 Tbps Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) cable, along with AT&T, Verizon and major Chinese carriers, expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2009.
It is also about to open up a direct link into Trans-Telecom's Siberian cable system. The 640-Gbps link from Hokkaido and Sakhalin onto the Russian mainland will cut latency on the western Europe route from 257 milliseconds to 210 milliseconds, Kimura said.

Security is another area of fresh investment - DDOS defense in particular. 'It's becoming very crucial for internet users and even nations,' Kimura said, citing the cyber-attacks last year that crippled Estonia.

'Customers are very concerned about the potential for DDOS to bring down networks,' he says. A poll of NTT Com customers found 39 out of 75 were seeking stronger DDOS protection. Kimura also points to the expanding Ethernet coverage - a service that customers are demanding because of its low-cost and simplicity.

NTT Com is also expecting demand to emerge for IPv6 addresses soon. NTT has been pushing IPv6 for the best part of a decade, but Kimura believes IPv4 addresses will be exhausted in 2011. The carrier operators an IPv4/v6 dual stack network that allows for simple upgrade.

He's not concerned about the rash of new cables about to be built or launched in Asia.

Broadband has plenty of blue sky, he believes. 'Penetration rates are still very low. Day by day, the number of broadband customers is increasing, and ISPs and carriers need more and more capacity,' he said.

Additionally, the mobile phone is becoming the new gateway to the net. 'Regardless of whether it's wired or wireless, more capacity is needed.'

Judges' citation

'NTT Communications is Asia's largest dedicated internet bandwidth carrier and is the region's only global tier 1 network. It continues to win customers and revenue through its technical and service excellence.'

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