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PGi's generated a lot of buzz in the Web conferencing space and has strategic relationships with channel partners and A/V inte- grators such as AVI-SPL. It also has a significant agent program through which it offers commissions, customer and sales support and various training and partner incentive programs.
Primus specializes inVoIP, data and conferencing services for busi- ness clients and recently bought out the remaining 54.4 percent of Canadian CLEC Globility Communications Corp. that it didn't already own.
RingCentral's Sales Agent and Reseller Program is often short- listed among hosted communications providers building into channel forces. RingCentral went live with the program two years ago and has continued to add SMB-focused solution providers as well as add to its $55 million-plus venture capital take.
Following its February 2012 acquistion of hosted VoIP specialist M5 Networks, ShoreTel is full speed ahead as a cloud services provider under ShoreTel Sky, the rebranded M5 platform that ShoreTel is now offering to both traditional UC VAR solution providers and telecom agents.
It's been a little more than a year since Siemens Enterprise Com- munications launched its OpenScape Cloud Services into the U.S. market, and the success of the offering so far was enough for Gartner to include Siemens in its annual Magic Quadrant for UC- as-a-Service. Couple that with Siemens' overall enterprise partner gains here and it's clear a stronger channel player is emerging.
Beloved for its easy-to-grasp hostedVoIP, telephony and Microsoft cloud productivity application approach to the market, Simple- Signal is finally getting the industry accolades its loyal partners have been pushing for. It supports both agent/reseller and wholesale model partners.
Sprint has spent much of this year honing its SaaS chops and mak- ing moves beyond its basic telecom channel purview. In August, Sprint launched what it described as a "BYOD management" solution for devices--further proof that when we're talking about the mobile carrier, telecom agent and IT device markets, we're often talking about the same thing.
STAGE 2 NETWORKS
Stage 2, which commissions partners that refer customer business its way, has been an active participant in the wave of consolida- tion sweeping the UC and business connectivity spaces, having acquired the hostedVoIP division of VAR ConsolidatedTechnolo- gies early this year. Of late, the company has been expanding its MSP partnering efforts.
One of the more highly regarded channel programs of recent years is Star2Star's, which invites dealers and agents to sell both its VoIP service and communications systems in an integrated package deal. Among recent technology releases were a cloud- based faxing service, StarFax Personal, and new StarBox Internet Communications Appliances.
TDS earlier this year acquired CRN Tech Elite 250 solution provider Vital and, less than three months later, went live with an Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering called ReliaCloud. It's part of the expanded cloud play for TDS, which owns and operates the country's seventh-largest telecom provider,TDSTelecommunica- tions Corp., and also majority-owns US Cellular.
Telcentris has seen big gains in its hosted VoIP and SIP solutions business, VoxOx in Business, in the past year. Several 2012 pro- motions offered solution providers things like spifs on monthly recurring revenue agreements. Telcentris also recently opened a data center in New York City to better serve East Coast-based customers and partners.
TelePacific rolled out several new offerings heading into the fall, including the expansion of its SmartVoice PRI, SIP and business phone services to nationwide availability. Most excit- ing for TelePacific partners, however, is that it plans to launch a cloud-based PBX in the fourth quarter, to be delivered over its private network.
Telesphere offers master agent, agent and referral programs to partners covering a wide range of services, from managed WAN services and hosted PBX to dynamic T1 and MPLS. The company recently added points of presence in Atlanta and Chicago to expand its national MPLS network.
Business connectivity managed services provider Telova- tions debuted two channel programs this fall. One, called the Equipment Resale Program, enables agents and other MSPs to add equipment-based revenue streams by not only ordering preconfigured communications equipment but also having it drop-shipped for customers. The other, called the Telovations' Lead Generation Program, offers free sales leads and qualifica- tion toVARs and MSPs.
Telx has boosted its cloud services presence by continuing to add new partners to the Telx Cloud Exchange. It offers cloud services through 17 C3 Cloud Connection Centers based in nine major U.S. metropolitan markets.
Thinking Phone's a small fry with some big buzz thanks to a UC-as-a-Service portfolio that offers VoIP, presence, messaging, mobility, video and contact center off a proprietary platform. Telecom industry veteran Rob Shelby recently joined as regional vice president, channel sales.
TIME WARNER CABLE
Time Warner Cable Business Class was another cable company that saw the expandingVAR opportunity years ago. Its program is now four years old and is nearly one-third IT solution providers. Time Warner Cable offers aggressive commissions on IP data and voice communications to SMBs and enterprises.
T-Mobile's kept active in expanding its portfolio of business connectivity services, including the June 2012 release of mobile broadband data plans to make business mobile use less cumber- some and costly.The company is expected to offer more incentives for partners under its T-Mobile Affiliate Program, too.
Challenging would be an understatement to describe the year had by Trans National Communciations International, which has spent much of it in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As of press time, TNCI was continuing to negotiate terms with creditors and has claimed to have largely preserved its customer relationships.
TWTelecom has one of the better-reviewed programs: a solid mix of product support and partner training, sales and marketing resources and solid commissions on top of its fiber network, IPVPN and Busi- ness Ethernet services. It just launched Dynamic Capacity, a program through which customers can scale their Ethernet bandwidth and capacity across their network without service interruption.
Verizon's been as much channel foe as channel friend over the years, but the company does have strong cloud and UC-as-a- Service offerings it's using to build up channel enterprise and SMB business. In the UC-as-a-Service category specifically, it offers hosted communications off Broadsoft and Cisco HCS platforms.
VOCAL IP NETWORX
Vocal IP Networx offers a full range of telephony and UC connec- tivity services through an agent channel and has continued to add master agents as well. Its also expanding into the Microsoft Lync channel, using Lync as the foundation for its Vocal UC platform.
West, a serial acquirer, made a strategic buy last year of Smooth- stone, through which it gained a cloud solution supporting VoIP, contact center, messaging, audio conferencing, presence, mobility and other critical UC functions.
Whaleback's been a mark of consistency with its CrystalBlue Partner Program as it continues to expand cloud-based UC and managed services offerings. Among recent technology addi- tions was 911 functionality for its Managed Services platform to improve emergency response for business customers.
Windstream's December 2011 acquisition of Paetec included a colossal task as far as integrating a large channel community and keeping its processes and service delivery smooth for a com- bined customer base. There have been bumps along the way but Windstream has promised to keep its channel "business as usual."
XO this past summer rolled out a significantly revamped partner program behind the January launch of its new commissioning system.The new XO program includes five tiers, which at the entry level includes no revenue or sales requirements, and at higher levels include better commissions and more contract protection.
Is Zayo Group the next major telecom channel empire? Sure seems that way thanks to the rate at which the five-year-old communications player is growing and acquiring major telecom companies. Its biggest acquisition so far was AboveNet, and as that acquisition closed, Zayo was quick to assure AboveNet partners that their compensation and customers would be preserved.