Qwest uses transport expertise to stake OTT, cloud computing claims

Kate Gerwig
SearchTelecom.com

Qwest has always relished its reputation as the rough-and-tumble rebel of the telecom transport market. Its rugged individualistic self-image goes back to its first incarnation as US West, the Bell company freed from AT&T in 1984, then acquired by a long-distance upstart to form Qwest.

US West's in-your-face slogan was, "If you don't make dust, you eat dust," complete with a visual of cowboys and bulls mixing it up. But that was before Qwest almost went bankrupt and saw many of its executives go to jail in the early 2000s.

Qwest has always been a little different. These days, it sounds as if Qwest is declaring victory by taking the opposite route from most other carriers when it comes to internet video and wireless.

As service providers all over the world scramble to figure out how to get a cut of the grand Internet video pie, Qwest is banking on its telecom transport expertise to carry content for partners. When other carriers see a future built on wireless, Qwest partners for wireless services for its customers instead of buying spectrum.

Being reminded that Qwest is not in the wireless business and is not trying to get into internet video, one wonders whether Qwest is: a) nuts, or b) the one-eyed guy in the kingdom of the blind.

Neil Cox, Qwest's executive vice president of product development and management, told 1,200 attendees at last week's global TM Forum conference in Orlando that his company was definitely staking a claim to transport and manage new applications, to offer cloud computing and managed services like software as a service (SaaS) for enterprises, and to partner with over-the-top (OTT) companies to bring video and new applications to consumers. It's such a straightforward message that it's almost confusing.

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