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Tech Data announced Tuesday the general availability of TDMobility, a new platform-as-a-service offering intended to facilitate and standardize the process by which VARs sell mobile hardware and service plans to enterprise, SMB, and public sector customers.
The platform, which had a launch last July with 20 resellers, is currently used by 200 VARs. And now, Tech Data is opening it up to the rest of its mobility channel.
TDMobility enables telco VARs to create a complete, “end-to-end” mobile offering for customers, including activation and billing -- without having to deal directly with the carrier themselves. Tech Data, instead, takes that task into its own hands, serving as a go-between for TDMobility VARs and the program’s three participating carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
Joe Quaglia, president of TDMobility at Tech Data, told CRN that the aim of the platform is to provide VARs with a “total, comprehensive, end-to-end” mobile solution in a “SKU-able” format to offer their end clients and facilitate their entry into the mobile space. What’s more, he said, TDMobility will benefit service carriers and OEMs by offering them a straighter shot into the channel.
“We wanted to solve… reduce complexity, and we believe we’ve done that better than anybody,” Quaglia cited as the first aim of the platform. “And we wanted to give a route to market to carriers and OEMs who really have never truly and successfully penetrated the VAR channel. And, three, we wanted to give our resellers a new revenue and profit source where otherwise they’ve had to do it in a fragmented fashion or they’ve just been sitting on the sidelines since day one.”
TDMobility encompasses two separate offerings, CellManage and TDActivate. With CellManage, VARs have the ability to manage multiple cellular lines from a single portal to track billing, deployments, and assets. End users also have the ability to manage their mobile fleet, said Charles Kriete, president at ActivateIT, a joint venture of TechData and Brightstar. CellManage is especially beneficial to VARs working within large enterprises that use multiple carrier networks and devices, Kriete said.
“It [CellManage] is a complete managed services offering for that VAR to go into their end user customer to talk to them about the ability to consolidate all their carriers onto a single platform, single billing interface directly with them as their trusted advisor and reseller and being able to manage all that through a single pane of glass.” Kriete said.
CellManage is able to track and manage only corporate-owned assets, Kriete said, but not personal devices used in the enterprise.
TDActiviate, the second platform within TDMobility, allows VARs to activate new devices and then automate a direct billing process between end customers and their carriers. It also accelerates revenue streams for solution providers, providing a portion of commission up front.
According to Kriete, both platforms provide solution providers with a familiar, "SKU-able" format for activating, managing, and handling carrier bill pay, making their entry into the mobile market -- or continued work within it -- simpler. “In both models, it’s a standard process,” he said. “It looks and smells and feels like every other Tech Data transaction they are making.”