75 Coolest Telecom Service Providers: The Heavyweights4:00 PM EST Wed. Jul. 28, 2010
Cloud computing and managed service models are changing the telecom game. In the first part of our 75 Coolest Telecom Service Providers, meet the Heavyweights in the telecom channel that are meeting those trends heads-on.
8x8 offers the Virtual Office -- a business VoIP service that includes everything from voice-mail to Outlook integration -- as well as managed hosting and UC services. In May it acquired Central Host, expanding its cloud-based services.
As a division of AT&T, ACC Business focuses on bringing telecommunications services to SMBs. Its business agent program offers commissions paid on billed revenue, access to professional support and a proposal generator.
Privately held AccessOne has been in the game for 17 years. Agents have assigned managers, sales and marketing support, access to customer service teams, and incentives ranging from quarterly bonuses to promotional rates.
WAN services are a specialty at American Telesis. Partners have continued to champion not only its range of services but also its training programs, which in past years have included advanced agent training for Ethernet deployments.
Still an industry heavyweight, AT&T hasn’t always had the easiest relationship with the channel. But stability has come with the AT&T Alliance Channel, which offers AT&T services to business and enterprise customers.
BCN Telecom offers local, long distance and toll-free service, dedicated data/IP and more. It partners with major service providers but also offers its own agent program, to which it added business-class local line services for New Jersey and Philadelphia.
There is no bigger telecom service game-changer this year than CenturyLink’s upcoming $10.6 billion acquisition of Qwest. Combined, the duo will have a 173,000-mile fiber network in the U.S. Look for big gains in the ability to drive innovative new services for partners.
The fourth largest cable operator in the U.S. with 5.5 million customers, Charter’s business agent referral program provides payment equivalents of first month revenue up to a maximum of $5,000. In the first quarter, commercial sales rose to $118 million, up 10.3 percent year-over-year.
Comcast is making a big run at small business, inking a pact with Symantec to provide high-speed residential business Internet users with the Norton Security Suite. This comes on top of last year’s honor as Microsoft Communications Sector Partner of the Year.
Covad’s deals with MegaPath and Speak-Easy will create a managed services local exchange carrier, providing nationwide IP voice, security, VPN and Internet services. MegaPath CEO D. Craig Young says the trio will extend their positions in SMB, enterprise and wholesale markets.
Talk about customer loyalty. Nearly half of Earthlink’s consumer base have been customers for five years or more. Earthlink is positioning itself for the future with its Touch-Fill-Go app, which lets users take a picture of a document, fill it out, organize, sign and e-mail it as a PDF from an iPhone or iPod Touch.
The global converged IP networking solutions powerhouse is helping partners score big. It is keeping ahead of the telecom pack with partnerships such as a Web acceleration deal with Limelight Networks and a videoconferencing pact with ON24. Partners give it high marks for its network and partner program.
It’s hard to find a service provider with the telecom legacy of Horizon, founded in 1895 as Home Telephone Company. The one constant for the mainstay is telecom innovation. Its lineup includes business products including broadband, phone systems and voice, security and hosting services.
Level 3 delivered the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa to an online audience in Spain, was chosen to deliver the Tour de France to online and iPhone users, and provide network support for the MLB.com media archive. The company continues to invest heavily in its world-class network.
Twenty-six-year-old NBS, which has more than 750,000 customers, calls itself the “one source” for telecom solutions. The Wayne, N.J., company boasts that it provides the “advantages of a large range of solutions and world-class support with the service and attention to detail of a small provider.”
With more than a century in the game, NTT is the big boy. And subsidiary NTT America is no slouch, enabling partners to work with its direct sales teams to build a range of opportunities. NTT Group, meanwhile, just inked a $3.2 billion deal to buy global solution provider Dimension Data.
In the city that never sleeps, someone’s gotta keep it going. Cablevision’s Optimum Lightpath offers data, Internet, voice, video and managed services in the New York metro area. Referral partners get a nice commission, while agents develop and close their own sales and get monthly commissions.
If the acquisition of Qwest by CenturyLink goes through, the combined companies will have a 173,000-mile fiber network in the U.S. Of more immediate interest to partners is how Qwest will balance recent technology triumphs with its evolving channel programs.
While Sprint’s solutions are tightly connected to its mobility and wireless offerings, it takes on all comers with its communications, data access and mobility productivity tools that can hit small and home offices or even large enterprise. Sprint’s fully integrated converged network ties together a wide range of solutions.
T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, may have made its name as the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., but it also has a suite of business solutions that tie together its mobile messaging, Internet and e-mail, international calling and account management. It also offers a range of partner incentives.
TelePacific is a CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) providing integrated voice and data telecommunications services to 39,000-plus California and Nevada SMB accounts. TelePacific also wholesales switch and fiber service to other telecom providers and offers a Telepartner program.
TMC was founded in 1982 as a long-distance provider and has become a nationally certified telecommunications company with long distance, local, VoIP, data, and enhanced services. It delivers the services of long distance and data partners and works exclusively through a nationwide network of agents.
TW Telecom’s services include data, dedicated Internet access, and local and long-distance voice services for long-distance carriers, wireless communications companies and more. The “TW” is short for Time Warner Cable, which was spun out in 1998 and got its own IPO in 1999.
Verizon works with indirect partners for branded bundled voice, data, IP, cloud, security and IT solutions to midmarket business customers. However, those partners can’t sell Verizon Wireless or work with residential customers. It dedicates pre-, post-sales teams to its channel partners.
XO focuses exclusively on businesses, government, domestic and international telecommunications carriers, cable companies, content providers and mobile wireless companies. The company deals mainly direct but offers one-time award checks of up to $5,000 for customer referrals.