Sprint today said it’s launching a software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) service, and it’s chosen VeloCloud’s technology to do the job. It’s currently working with VeloCloud to support customer trials for the SD-WAN service, and it’s planning a global launch for early 2017.
Sprint — while most often thought of as a wireless carrier — is offering this service to its business customers within its Global Wireline Business Unit. The business unit was only formed earlier this year, but it’s wired assets have been around for about 40 years. Sprint provides enterprise customers with an all-IP global network with coverage in 155 countries. In 2015, Sprint’s wireline revenue was $2.4 billion, according to a Sprint spokesperson in an email to SDxCentral.
For SD-WAN connectivity, enterprises can use Sprint MPLS or broadband Internet, or they can choose to use their own broadband from other providers. Sprint said it started offering MPLS in 2005. And, of course, Sprint’s own wireless connectivity can be part of the SD-WAN mix, as well. Sprint will manage a customer’s SD-WAN across all transport vendors. It has created access partnerships with over 50 other providers.
“From an access perspective, Sprint has taken an agnostic approach where customers can utilize Sprint’s broad assortment of access solutions or they can bring their own broadband depending upon customer needs and preference,” said the Sprint spokesperson.
“Sprint is taking an over-the-top approach but also a network integration approach,” said Mike Wood, VP of marketing at VeloCloud. “From an architecture standpoint, they’re taking advantage of all those aspects that VeloCloud can offer; integration at the core and down to the edge. It’s not just a box-managed model.”
Sprint also is integrating security into its SD-WAN.
“Our security is built into the entire fabric,” said Wood. “Sprint is also bringing in a whole slew of other security functions that they offer. They’ll have the ability to service chain in the core with VeloCloud gateway technology.
The SD-WAN complements Sprint’s existing suite of services, including Managed VoIP, Global SIP Trunking, Unified Communications as-a-Service, Cloud Connectivity, and its Workplace-as-a-Service.
Different tiers of the SD-WAN enable customers to select the level of support they need, including a Sprint fully managed service.
Sprint Follows the Money
If there is one technology that really hit its stride in 2016 it is SD-WAN. Its popularity is directly correlated to the fact that businesses can save money by cutting back on multiple, expensive MPLS connections. And with SD-WAN they can use software to manage all their branch locations from one portal, even if those branches use myriad different Internet connections.
The company also announced today that it’s selling 14 percent of its spectrum holdings in the 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz to third parties for about $3.5 billion. It will then lease back that same spectrum for its own use. It sees this as a better business plan than owning the spectrum outright.