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IT job growth report; AT&T cloud vendor list expands

This week in telecom news, several reports show the IT sector is booming with increased IT job growth, and Alcatel-Lucent and Fujitsu were named to the AT&T cloud vendor program.

This week in telecom news, several studies show IT job growth is increasing in several sectors, particularly in financial services and healthcare. Overall, IT organizations in large and small businesses are planning on adding jobs this year in telecommunications, data processing and systems design services. Meanwhile, AT&T's cloud vendor list grows as Alcatel-Lucent and Fujitsu are added to a recent program launched by AT&T to create its next-generation cloud architecture.

VoIP adoption is on the rise among residential telephone customers, according to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) study, but business customers aren't as eager to adopt VoIP services. Finally, Verizon announced plans to launch a commercial LTE multicast product, as more Verizon customers opt for tablets over smartphones.

IT sector seeing healthy job growth

If the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is any indication, the IT sector is booming across the country. More than 8,000 jobs were added last month across telecommunications, data processing and computer systems design services, according to the report.

It doesn't look like industry growth will be slowing down anytime soon, either. A study conducted by Computer Economics found that 52% of more than 200 North American IT organizations plan to add jobs this year. This is the first time since 2007 that more than half of IT organizations planned job increases, according to USTelecom Media. Most job growth will take place in large enterprises, but midsize companies are also seeing growth. The financial services and healthcare sectors are also seeing high rates of IT job growth.

Spending on cloud services has been a major contributor to job growth, according to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report that was commissioned by Microsoft. IDC predicts cloud services will generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide between 2011 and 2015.

"The cloud is going to have a huge impact on job creation," said Susan Hauser, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. "It's a transformative technology that will drive down costs, spur innovation and open up new jobs and skillsets across the globe."

IDC said cloud-related jobs will be spread evenly among businesses with 500 or fewer employees and businesses with more than 500 employees. More than one-third of cloud-enabled jobs will be in the communications and media, banking and discrete manufacturing industries.

Alcatel-Lucent, Fujitsu join AT&T next-gen cloud vendor list

As part of its effort to shrink capital spending and reduce time to market for cloud services, AT&T last week added Alcatel-Lucent and Fujitsu as the newest vendors in its user-defined network cloud program, which is designed to cut the amount of time it takes to qualify technologies for use in its global network. The two vendors join Juniper Networks and Amdocs to work with AT&T, which formed the cloud project in February as a way to change how AT&T works with suppliers, and manages platforms and software.

Additional vendors are expected to take part in AT&T's efforts to create new cloud architecture -- the company plans to reveal them in the next few weeks.

AT&T's goal is to decrease capital spending by deploying open service and network components, and to spend less on specialized hardware and use more off-the-shelf equipment. When it announced its new vision, AT&T said it wanted to do with the wide area network (WAN) what the world has done with the data center -- quickly develop new services and applications and adapt to changing network demands.

AT&T also announced in March that it planned to open its network to small vendors, which appealed to software-defined networking (SDN) vendors helping shift network control from hardware to software. As part of its Domain 2.0 vision, AT&T asked vendors how they would support SDN and network functions virtualization in a Request for Information late in 2013. Through the RFI process, AT&T chose Ericsson, Metaswitch Networks, Tail-F Systems (acquired by Cisco in June), and Affirmed Networks. -- Kate Gerwig

VoIP adoption on the rise for residential customers

An FCC report released last month found that more residential telephone customers are now using VoIP for voice services rather than traditional voice. The Local Telephone Competition report revealed that 47% of residential customers with wireline voice service are using VoIP, and nearly 38% of VoIP customers are buying the service from a provider other than their incumbent local exchange carriers (ILEC). Less than 10% of VoIP customers are buying from their incumbent phone company.

FCC data collected through June 2013 shows a growing trend of increased use of VoIP services and a decline in traditional wireline services. The FCC found VoIP subscriptions increased at a compound annual growth rate of 16% from 2010 to 2013, while retail-switched access lines declined at a rate of 10% per year.

The FCC found that business customers aren't as eager to adopt VoIP as residential customers, with only 15% of business voice customers using VoIP. More than 50% of businesses buy traditional wireline services from an ILEC.

Tablet growth may open door for 2015 Verizon LTE Multicast service

Verizon may launch a commercial LTE multicast product as early as 2015, CFO Fran Shammo said at Verizon's second-quarter earnings call last week.

To help make a business case for the service, Verizon's Q2 results show that out of 1.15 million new subscribers for the quarter, only 304,000 new Verizon retail customers bought phones, while 1.42 million bought tablets. The tablet surge has been good news for Verizon because tablet use increases data consumption and lowers churn, and LTE tablets drive more data usage than 3G CDMA smartphones, Shammo said.

Verizon's LTE Broadcast (dubbed LTE Multicast by the company) enables content delivery to multiple users simultaneously. In front of an exclusive audient, Verizon demonstrated the streaming technology to watch the 2014 Super Bowl. Shammo indicated that Verizon is considering live-event streaming and real-time TV streaming that offers consumers access to content without the need for a separate pay-TV service, which could appeal to a cord-cutting trend that's in its infancy. Whether this kind of service will require content distribution rights is not yet clear. -- Kate Gerwig

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