Across The Telecom Spectrum: 6 Moves That Made Waves In The Channel In December

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No one can accuse the telecom industry of going out like a lamb in December. Many of the incumbent carriers made news as 2016 came to an end by landing new contracts, picking up annual awards, and announcing the retirement of several longtime industry veterans.

Here are six newsworthy items that happened in the telecom industry last month that solution providers should know.

AT&T Veteran Ralph de la Vega Retires

AT&T vice chairman Ralph de la Vega said that as of Dec. 31, 2016, he will be retiring from his post. AT&T Mexico CEO Thaddeus Arroyo is stepping in to take over de la Vega's responsibilities as head of international and business operations.

De la Vega has been with Dallas-based AT&T for an impressive 42 years. Before his latest role with the carrier, de la Vega headed up AT&T's Mobility Division. The longtime executive is also credited with helping the carrier exclusively sell the iPhone during the device's early days.

CenturyLink Lands U.S. Senate Contract

Just in time for the holidays, CenturyLink won a lucrative, multiyear contract worth $11.4 million to provide U.S. Senate state offices with a unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) platform for hosted VoIP services.

The three-year contract includes installation, maintenance, operation and management of CenturyLink's hardware, software, training and help desk support. More than 450 Senate offices in all 50 states will be on the new VoIP system, which will provide the U.S. Senate staff members with a modern, secure communications system, the Monroe, La.-based provider said.

Comcast Continues Fiber Network Buildout

Comcast Business completed its installation of a nearly $4 million fiber optic network expansion across the city of Fremont, Calif., in December. The rollout in Fremont, the fourth most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area, has brought gigabit connectivity to local businesses in 238 buildings, according to the Philadelphia-based provider. The expansion included more than 18 miles of new fiber.

Comcast Business services now available to enterprises and small businesses in Fremont include Ethernet Private Line, Ethernet Virtual Private Line, Ethernet Network Service and Ethernet Dedicated Internet.

FCC Chairman Announces Plans To Step Down

Current Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced in December that he would leave the agency on Jan. 20 when the new Republican presidential administration comes in.

During his three years with the FCC, Wheeler led efforts that that reclassified internet service providers as public utilities, as well as other "internet fairness" regulations through the net neutrality doctrine. Wheeler's departure could allow Republican leadership to challenge or retract net neutrality, some industry pundits say.

Verizon Takes Top Honors in VoIP, SIP Trunking Services Market

Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon Enterprise Solutions was recognized by research firm Frost & Sullivan for its placement in the North American VoIP and SIP trunking services market. Verizon captured about 25 percent of total market share in the category, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The firm recognizes a provider each year whose product line meets customer demands, the overall impact the provider has regarding customer value, as well as the success of increased market share. Frost & Sullivan said that Verizon has services that support large numbers of deployments across various service segments, and a proactive approach to transitioning customers to IP-based services.

CoreDial's New Mobile App For Channel Partners, Customers

CoreDial, a channel-only VoIP and telecommunications provider, introduced a new mobile app that lets CoreDial's solution provider partners offer white-labeled cloud communications tools to small and midsize businesses.

The new CoreDial app provides mobile business communications and extends office phone system functions to mobile devices for business users, including click-to-join conference calls, extension dialing co-workers, accessing voicemail and personal and corporate phone directories, and the ability to manage virtual attendant settings.