Reflections on our recognition in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant

For the third consecutive year, Arelion is proud to be recognized in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global. To be included is a rigorous process: service providers need to have a global network with coverage across Europe, North America and Asia; sell services to customers in all three regions; and offer a full portfolio of networking services.

We are very proud of our standing, which reaffirms Arelion’s position as a global provider of high-quality network services. In this blog post, I’ll touch upon three things:

  • What’s new compared to last year (and what remains the same)
  • What our positioning in the quadrant means
  • Our new brand and what it means to be included as a standalone company

What’s new in the market?

As was true last year, the COVID-19 pandemic played a prominent role in transforming enterprise networks as the world continued to rapidly change working practices, business conditions and accelerate digital transformation. In other words: supporting Work from Anywhere (WFA) as the norm, and multi-cloud IT as the main delivery model. From a networking point of view, this has turbo-charged trends that were already reshaping the market, such as

  • The transition towards an Internet-centric WAN underlay
  • Increased demand for carrier-based cloud interconnection
  • Rapidly increased uptake of enabling technologies that make networks more flexible and agile (such as Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA), SD-WAN and SASE)

Compared to previous editions of the report, there is stronger emphasis on a network provider’s Internet backbone, including their footprint and peering capabilities. This aligns with another Gartner research paper, “Include Enhanced Internet as a Viable Option for the Global SD-WAN Backbone”, that evaluated different options for Enterprises to optimize routing for the new paradigm. Moreover, there is larger emphasis on the breadth and coverage of service provider cloud interconnections, and whether they are offered directly or via a third-party exchange. This is in line what we have observed in the market, where most of the growth is in- or around the datacenter, adding more Internet bandwidth or high-performance links to interconnects datacenters and cloud.

There is also a more specific analysis on Network-on-Demand capabilities, going beyond the initial hype to pinpoint what’s available, and what isn’t. Regarding SD-WAN and NFV, it’s clear that the fragmentation in the market continues, and that many historically leading providers keep adding new vendor brands to cater to specific customer demands. That some enterprises seek to unbundle these network overlay services from the underlying network isn’t new, but the previous “DIY” trend has been complemented by strong growth for MSPs and integrators, who are now covered in a specific Magic Quadrant.

All in all, these trends also impact Enterprise sourcing strategies and buying criteria, increasing their willingness to consider new and smaller providers.

How is Arelion positioned in relation to these trends?

In the Quadrant, we are positioned as a strong Niche Player. This means that we do not have the intention, or the ability, to be everything to everyone. And we are proud of this. For global companies who rely on their digital infrastructure, who are evaluating a transition to a new-generation WAN architecture, and who are looking for a better customer experience, we could be the perfect fit.

Our capabilities align best to organizations with global needs but house most of their operations in Europe and the Americas. Beyond the technology and software sectors, our niche position plays particularly well to verticals including financial services, health and pharma, professional services, automotive and manufacturing, to name a few.

As a focused provider we understand that customers choose us for key factors that we do better than others. Here are some of the highlights.

 1. We simplify towards an Internet-centric WAN underlay

Our number one-ranked global IP backbone AS1299 (Kentik Market Intelligence, February 2022) connects anyone, and anything, that matters, serving customers in more than 125 countries worldwide. It’s the industry’s first full-scale, 400GE-ready network, using advanced cloud-scale routing technology. It has built-in DDoS protection capabilities, and improved route security with RPKI. Enterprises can attach an underlay that will more effectively route network traffic with better pathways and minimal hops to business-critical SaaS applications and cloud platforms. But you don’t have to go all in from day one. For customers that need hybrid architectures, they can flexibly use bandwidth for dedicated cloud connectivity, MPLS links to their premises or Ethernet connectivity to their data center environment.

2. We bring the cloud closer to end-users

Our recognition in the Magic Quadrant is supported by digital transformation and the market transformation towards cloud and Internet connectivity. Our backbone connects directly to more than 700 cloud and content providers. In terms of private cloud on-ramps, our network has higher-than-average geographical coverage of the top cloud providers, which means that we can bring their services to our customers with minimum latency. Arelion is continuing to expand with PoPs and network expansion by bringing our own high-quality network to more markets, including lesser-connected markets such as Mexico and LATAM.

3. We provide an award-winning customer experience

We are proud to work with businesses who care about excellent customer service, and those who seek more agility out of their networks. As part of our rebranding, we had an external consulting firm conduct a customer survey to deepen the insights we normally get out of our NPS. Their findings made us both proud and humble. Arelion was consistently ranked number one among our own customers, both wholesale and enterprise. Amongst the main reasons, customers quoted the quality of our services, the professionalism of our staff, the quickness in how we respond and the transparency of our communication.

What’s in a new name?

This time last year, we were still part of Telia Company, the leading Nordic and Baltic telco. As Arelion, we want to be known as the quality benchmark in global connectivity. While many providers diversify into other services, we continue to innovate around connectivity, but not beyond.

That doesn’t only require a great network, but also great people and strong, lasting relationships. As a standalone company, backed by Polhem Infra, a long-term oriented investor in digital infrastructure, we can focus fully on that mission. Now, we are accelerating the pace of network expansion – in 2021, we doubled the number of PoPs deployed each quarter – while also improving the processes and toolset that back up our customer experience.

Meanwhile, Telia Company remains our closest strategic partner. Together with Telia, we have been winning significant market share from many of the most well-known global brands headquartered in the region. We continue building on our joint success through an exclusive partnership agreement that combines our global assets with Telia’s Nordic footprint, broad portfolio, and service integration capabilities.

2021 was a big year of change, both for the market and for Arelion with a new name and brand. While things have changed for our organization, this year’s Magic Quadrant is an important reaffirmation of our position as a global provider of high-quality network services, especially for enterprises who are looking for new and better options. And this commitment to the network and our customers is something that will always remain core to what Arelion stands for.

Johan Ottosson
VP Strategy


Download a complimentary copy of the report here: 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global