PCCW enters network-as-a-service arena to rival Megaport

The Hong Kong-owned firm claims owning its own extensive global network across every continent will give it a prime advantage over rival software-defined service players.

PCCW Global, the international operating division of Hong Kong’s HKT, is giving Megaport a run for its money with the launch of its Console Connect. The offering is available in 150 countries and connects cloud service providers with data centres and large enterprises “in seconds” via a dashboard, said the company.

Network-as-a-service firm Megaport does something similar and has gained great traction in the market, but Megaport doesn’t own the extensive global network PCCW does across every continent, which PCCW claims is an advantage.

PCCW says customers are able to get started quickly with just one port and one cross-connect. Once the cross-connect is set up, business-critical applications and cloud partners can be connected with a click of a button, it says.

So how does PCCW see itself against the likes of Megaport, PacketFabric, Equinix ECX, Aryaka and others in the software-defined interconnection market? Neil Templeton, vice president of strategic marketing at PCCW Global, told Data Economy at the recent NetEvents IT Symposium in San Jose: “You need access to the underlying infrastructure, we have that as we own a lot of it. If you don’t have access you don’t have the ability to easily solve problems or tell customers what’s going on.”

He probably has a point when you look at what the likes of Google is doing. It’s not a telco but it is building out its own networks to better support its cloud services, including its own continental submarine networks in some parts of the build.

“We know what’s going on with services, even the submarine network deployers like Alcatel and Fujitsu are part of our ecosystem,” said Templeton. Owning a network also enables the firm to offer more flexibility on bandwidth and business terms, he said.

Templeton confirmed the company is in the market for expanding its network infrastructure through acquisition too, when appropriate. Such opportunities often spring up, with Interoute, for instance, recently going under the hammer, but not acquired by PCCW.

Console Connect already enables cloud access to AWS, Azure and Alibaba, and by the third quarter of this year, the Google, IBM and Tencent clouds will be added, as well as additional major SaaS providers.

At the moment, the service is not available as a wholesale white label service to other carriers. The company is currently focusing on targeting enterprise customers but may make it available to service providers later this year.