CenturyLink’s $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications has been finalized, and a bright future for unified communications (UC) providers and customers has been born — potentially. The telecommunications giants have merged under the CenturyLink brand, combining two very large customer bases and creating one massive target for UC providers looking to cash in on a broader range of customers. Should UC providers start lining up to partner with the “new” CenturyLink, businesses should be on alert that more robust, cost-effective UC services may be coming available to them.
A Recap of CenturyLink and Level 3’s UC Activities
Both CenturyLink and Level 3 have already made inroads to the UC market. Prior to the merger, Level 3 established partnerships with a variety of UC providers, including Amazon, AVI-SPL and Unify Square. Meanwhile, expansion in the business communication market has long been a priority for CenturyLink, and merging with Level 3 is another step in this journey that will give it the portfolio and scale to compete with providers like AT&T and Verizon.
What Does the Merger Mean for UC Providers?
The CenturyLink – Level 3 merger creates a massive pool of prospective UC customers. Naturally, this is great news for the UC providers currently partnered with CenturyLink or Level 3 because it doubles their customer bases, but could it also be a sign that other UC providers will be racing to partner with carriers? If this is the case, competition in the unified communications and unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) markets will surely ramp up as providers look to capitalize on big carriers’ large customer bases.
Why Should Businesses Care?
Heightened competition in the UC/UCaaS markets may end up being a blessing for businesses of all sizes. Competition breeds innovation. If big telecom carriers continue to merge and UC providers race to partner with these combined entities, they will need to differentiate their UC products and services across the market. When it’s all said and done, this may mean businesses will benefit from a more innovative and affordable selection of UC solutions. Only time will tell.
Interested in other new developments across the UC market? Check out our update on Versa’s UC addition to its SD-WAN platform.