AT&T, Orange Business Top List of Global Managed SD-WAN Providers

Carrier-managed SD-WAN versus standalone provider? Two partners weighed in.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

June 21, 2023

4 Min Read
sd-wan providers

There’s a new leader at the top of Vertical Systems Group‘s latest leaderboard of managed SD-WAN providers.

AT&T leads Vertical Systems Group (VSG) 2022 Year-End Global Provider Carrier Managed SD-WAN Leaderboard. AT&T scored second the last time VSG shared this leaderboard in the summer of 2021. It leapfrogged French telco Orange Business, which slid to second.  Verizon stayed put in third.

The leaderboard features multinational SD-WAN service providers with a market share of 4% or higher. The leaderboard expanded from seven to eight, exemplifying tightened competition.


Vertical System Group’s Rosemary Cochran

“Leading global SD-WAN providers continued to expand their footprints into dozens of new countries during 2022, with the goal of providing multinational customers with seamless connectivity,” VSG principal Rosemary Cochran said. “There was some shuffling of provider rankings since our last leaderboard release, as competition for global customers is intense and share differentials in this segment are extremely tight.”


Source: Vertical Systems Group

BT jumped NTT for fourth on the leaderboard. Lumen fell out of the challenge tier (1% to 4% of market share) and into the market player tier. At the same time, Comcast Business – bolstered by its Masergy acquisition – moved up from market player tier to challenge tier. Hughes entered the leaderboard and leapfrogged Vodafone for seventh place.

High Adoption, High Complexity

Channel partners, especially those in the technology advisor/agent space, are seeing big opportunities to source managed SD-WAN services to customers. Resourcive president Kyle Hall said the technology advisory firm sees continued SD-WAN and SASE adoption.

“We encounter very few organizations that have not already taken some steps towards implementing the SASE– even though they may not internally be thinking of it in that defined framework,” he said.

John Anderson is partner at Resource Communications Group (RCG), which bills itself as a telecom-department-as-a-service provider. He said his firm works to simplify the “inherently complex” discussion around SD-WAN.


Resourcive’s Kyle Hall

“One great question we always ask is, ‘Do you want to manage the orchestrator?’ This often helps our client think through the carrier-managed vs self-managed SD-WAN offerings. This may sound overly simple, but they often focus too much on the capability of the underlying tech, and not enough on their own internal capabilities managing the complex lifecycle related to it,” Anderson told Channel Futures.

Delivery Models

Many of the carriers in VSG’s leaderboard partner with a different SD-WAN vendor for the actually technology while leveraging their own network operations center for the managed service. VSG noted seven different underlying SD-WAN vendors that these carriers are using for the managed service: Cisco, Fortinet, HPE Aruba, Nokia’s Nuage Networks, Palo Alto Networks, Versa Networks and VMware.

Some SD-WAN/SASE providers, such as Aryaka Networks in the challenge tier, provide both the underlying technology and the managed service.


RCG’s John Anderson

Hall said customers differ within their own organizations about

“In our engagements we are working with clients to evaluate SD-WAN/SASE considerations and migration paths, we frequently see the value of a standalone solution like a Cato or Aryaka land really well with the technologists inside of organizations, but carriers still seem to win business with a lot of clients as a result of their ability to land the ‘secure network as a service’ value proposition,” Hall told Channel Futures.

But that comes with a caveat on the backend.

“In our experience carriers do struggle to deliver on client expectations around those managed services with the exception of the extreme enterprise segment of the market,” Hall said.

Anderson added that some of the large providers on the VSG leaderboard might fall outside the services RCG usually sources to customers.

“We don’t generally recommend the ‘legacy-LEC’ carriers for managed SD-WAN. That may seem contrary to this leaderboard list, but there’s a large list of providers that have a core-competency, and single focus, on SD-WAN management,” he said.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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