Cincinnati Bell: Leading the Telco to Cloud Transformation?
From AT&T to Verizon, big telcos and telecommunications companies gradually are becoming cloud services providers (CSPs). But keep an eye on Cincinnati Bell, which is piecing together a cloud services strategy that includes hosted Exchange, hosted SharePoint, backup, archiving and compliance services.
During the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit last month, Gartner VP Tiffani Bova noted that many U.S.-based telecom companies were slow to introduce cloud services because they had legacy infrastructure and existing services to maintain. But Bova mentioned Cincinnati Bell as one of the U.S. telecommunications providers worth watching in the cloud market.
Cincinnati Bell earlier this year partnered with Parallels and Apptix to introduce a range of cloud services. Parallels provides a platform and dashboard that speeds SaaS deployments and eases cloud services management. Apptix is a well-known provider of hosted Exchange and SharePoint in the cloud. The company competes with Intermedia, the largest independent provider of hosted Exchange in the world, and a major partner to multiple cloud providers and telecom companies.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati Bell is also exploring an IPO (initial public offering) for its data center business. The business, based on Cincinnati Bell’s CyrusOne acquisition from 2010, has been expanding. According to BizJournals.com, the CyrusOne business in January 2012 acquired a 700,000 square foot data center in Dallas, and in December 2011 announced plans to build a data center in San Antonio. And the company broke ground on a Houston data center in May 2011, BizJournals noted.
If the data center IPO proceeds, Cincinnati Bell plans to use some of the funds raised to pay down debt. Coupled with the company’s cloud services strategy, Cincinnati Bell remains a company worth watching — though plenty of telcos are making aggressive moves of their own.
Two prime examples:
- Verizon last year acquired Terremark for a cloud services initiative.
- CenturyLink last year acquired Savvis, a cloud services provider that is partnering with Avnet to reach more channel partners.
No doubt, telcos will continue buying up or partnering with cloud services companies.