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The IPv4 Address Resale Market

Published on May 4th, 2015

The IPv4 Address Resale Market 

IPv4 Market Group, Inter-Op Interview

Sandra Brown and Sean Michael Kerner, April 30, 2015

Sandra: We are a broker of IPv4 transfers, and we do transfers globally in ARIN, APNIC, and RIPE regions.  We transfer from sellers, which are companies that have excess IPv4 addresses, to buyers, which are companies that need IPv4 addresses because they can’t get them any longer from the Regional Internet Registries (RIR’s).

Sean: Where do you get these IPv4 addresses from? Is there an open market where people come and they bid on the value or is there a fixed rate for what these IPv4 addresses are worth?

Sandra: The first question is where do we get them from. We get them from companies that have excess IPs. Way back before they created the RIRs, there were bodies like the Internet Activities Board. They gave out oodles of IPs in what they called Class A’s, Class B’s, and Class C’s.  Companies like General Electric, Ford and Halliburton got /8’s and today they don’t need the entire /8. We go to companies like these that got more than they need, and we facilitate trading from those companies, to companies that need IPs.

Now the second question was about money, pricing. There is a transfer market but it’s not very transparent for pricing. What we do, is we publish on our website the most recent transfer price that we have seen in each region, and a year ago we were seeing prices, for example, for a /16 on the order of $10 per IP in all three regions, but recently we have seen, roughly $7 per IP in APNIC and ARIN regions. We’ve seen a little bit higher price in RIPE region, probably because it’s a closed market up until now, where we couldn’t transfer in and out of RIPE region.  I wrote the transfer policy to allow transfers in and out of RIPE region and it’s in the process of being implemented and should be in place by August of 2015. When that happens, we expect to see more parity amongst the regions where prices should equalize.

Sean: Is there a challenge freeing some of this underused IPv4 space?

Sandra: Yes, for sure, because when an IP is only worth $7 an IP, or in the case of really large blocks, only $5 an IP, there’s less incentive for big companies to free IPs and make them available to other companies. I think when you start to see prices go up, you’ll see some of these companies that are sitting on them say “Ok, the assets are worth more and I’m going to work harder and make the effort to free them up.”

Sean: What’s your relationship with ARIN for the transfer process?

Sandra: Any transfer that we do, we take through ARIN.  We go through the formal process where the seller submits the transfer to ARIN, pays the transfer fee, and the buyer accepts the IPs and goes through ARIN. So everything we do goes through the RIR’s.

Sean: Now, are there other competitors to the IPv4 Market Group? Or is there more of a monopoly, where you are the only vendor that works through ARIN to do this process?

Sandra: Each of the RIR’s has lists of companies that do things similar to what we do. I think that each of the other brokers probably has a little bit of a niche or a different angle from us. You’ll see brokers out there that do leasing, and you’ll see brokers that specialize in super large blocks. We run the full gamut, where we do all sizes, all RIR’s, and we don’t do leasing.   We specialize in /20 through to /10, and so I think each broker has its niche and that’s ours.

Sean: As ARIN’s pool dwindles to near zero, do you expect your business to pick up?

Sandra: I do, I really do, because once ARIN runs out, there’s no other place to get IPs except for the transfer market. I really expect that some of the companies in the enterprise face a shortage and you’re going to see more enterprises come into the market. Historically, it’s been ISP’s and telcos buying in North America, and now we are going to see enterprises come into the IP pool more. I also think that you’re going to see an increase in the price as a result of ARIN run-out.

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