Sprint To Join Carrier Cloud Services Party?

cloud services carriers and telcos that are turning to the cloud

Sprint plans to launch a set of "hosted collaboration services" including software, security applications and Internet hosting, along with its own Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) play sometime in the fourth quarter, Sprint's business markets head Paget Alves told CNET . A move to the cloud by Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint is a move to capture a piece of a market that Alves estimated is growing between 25 percent and 40 percent per year.

"The telcos are in a unique position because our business is centered around the cloud," Alves told CNET. "There's quite a bit of demand. It's the [number one] topic of conversation with [chief information officers]."

Sprint expects to use its own capacity from its own data center and will start with public cloud offerings to rival Amazon, Rackspace and others, and then branch into hybrid cloud environments, Alves said.

But Sprint faces an uphill battle as it looks to move services to the cloud. It is entering a market that has become saturated with carriers, telcos and even cable companies clamoring to capture the cloud's candescence.

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Sprint's chief rivals, including AT&T and Verizon, have made cloud computing a major mission for 2011 and have flagged massive chunks of money to invest in cloud computing infrastructure. AT&T has said it will invest a whopping $1 billion in cloud services and mobility this year.

And internal cloud investments by carriers and telcos follow a rash of high-profile cloud acquisitions by service providers looking to beef up their cloud computing profiles.

Earlier this year, Verizon Communications bought cloud computing provider Terremark in a $1.4 billion deal to gain a stronger foothold in the increasingly competitive cloud computing space.

On the heels of that, Time Warner Cable opened its wallet to buy cloud hosting player NaviSite for $220 million.

And massive telco CenturyLink topped them when it agreed to buy cloud service provider Savvis in a multi-billion dollar bid -- $2.5 billion in cash and stock and $700 million in debt resolution. The