Anecdotal evidence from several dozen Forrester IT client inquiries and consulting engagements during the past two years suggests that large MNCs are almost always multisourcing their international WANs and other global telecom services. We estimate that more than nine in ten large user companies (firms with 1,000 or more employees in overseas offices) buy international WAN, Internet access, and fixed voice services from three or more network operators or specialists. The larger the firm, the more likely they are to use one and sometimes two top-tier global telecoms providers (like AT&T, Verizon, BT, Orange) for multiregional international telecoms, and additional — often smaller players or VPN specialists (e.g., Level 3/Global Crossing, Azzurri, Virtela, Masergy) — for important international markets, or regional providers such as in Europe (e.g., BT Global Services, Orange Business Services, T-Systems) and Asia-Pacific (e.g., NTT, SingTel, Telstra). Global firms also increasingly are interested in buying some services from emerging market players like Tata Communications and Reliance Globalcom.

Global enterprises’ rationale for multisourcing falls into two broad categories:

1)      Global telecoms — networks and comms apps running over them — are considered “too strategic” to entrust to just one service provider.  

2)      As we keep hearing over and over, “There’s not actually a truly global network operator — they all rely on others, sometimes many others.”