AT&T Tuesday committed to investing $300 million into its Partner Exchange channel program over the next three years, money the carrier giant said it will put toward new partner training resources and financing options.
AT&T's announcement comes one year after the launch of Partner Exchange, AT&T's first partner program designed specifically for IT solution providers.
"We've been collaborating and rolling out AT&T Partner Exchange and have this new, innovative way of working with solution providers," said Brooks McCorcle, president of AT&T's Emerging Business Markets and head of Partner Exchange. "Today we are really happy to announce that we are providing this $300 million investment in capital, tools and programs for solution providers to be successful in the marketplace."
McCorcle said a big piece of AT&T's $300 million investment will be spent on helping partners strengthen their working capital with new financing options. Specifically, she said solution providers selling AT&T's network, cloud, hosting or mobility services are eligible for 60 days of interest-free financing from participating partners GE Capital and Wells Fargo. Solution providers in Partner Exchange also are entitled to streamlined credit approvals.
McCorcle said the aim of the AT&T financing program is to help partners make the switch to selling AT&T services, and to the recurring revenue model that comes with those sales.
"I think we are one of the very few, if not the only, carriers who provide zero-percent financing for solution providers," McCorcle said. "And I think solution providers will find it much easier to access the capital they need to support their transformation."
AT&T also is investing in third-party billing and taxation solutions from vendors BillSoft and SureTax to help solution providers overcome the challenge of capturing and reporting taxes in a recurring revenue model.
Part of AT&T's $300 million investment, McCorcle said, also will be used to roll out a new online training course and other resources for partners. As most of the solution providers in Partner Exchange are new to AT&T, McCorcle said, these resources and courses are meant to bring them up-to-speed on AT&T's services and offerings around cloud, mobility and IP networking.
In addition, McCorcle said AT&T will use the investment to continue opening up more of its APIs to partners. Upon the launch of Partner Exchange in February 2013, AT&T let participating solution providers access its APIs, allowing them to independently monitor their end customers' networks and troubleshoot any issues without having to connect with AT&T directly or even to use the AT&T customer portal.
AT&T and its partners alike have said these APIs, which also streamline the product ordering and quoting process, is a big differentiator between AT&T's channel program and those of other carriers.
Looking ahead, McCorcle said she would like to build out APIs that enable solution providers to not only order products and monitor customers' networks, but to provision new AT&T services.
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