Telecom Brokerage Morphs From Master Agent To Distributor, Looks To Partner With VARs


Telecom Brokerage, Inc., is ditching its master agent title and rebranding itself as a telecom service distributor in an effort to increase its presence in the VAR channel. 

The Chicago-based company is looking to break new ground by partnering with VARs in the channel that haven't traditionally worked with telecom services, said Ken Mercer, vice president of TBI.

"We're a distributor of telecom services, not a master agent," he said. "We're in the process of changing all of our language and terminology from master agent to distributor."

Mercer said he "hates" the term "master agent" and that the company feels the term "distributor" better describes TBI's business and is more familiar to solution providers coming from the VAR channel as opposed to voice and data service agents.

"The telco carriers keep telling us to chase VARs," he said. "They're very interested in the channel."

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"With our 140 employees, half of them are dedicated to 2,000-plus independent sales agents that sell business-to-business. Those partners do phone systems, software, auditing, etc., and they come to us because we're a one-stop-shop with 70 vendors on our line card," said Mercer. "[At TBI we] care about quoting, contracting and paying quickly and accurately."

Today, cloud and virtualization is continuously bringing change to the telecom industry, said Mercer.

"In the past, the big cloud providers didn't treat telecom providers well, they made it difficult to get into the market ... The carriers are expanding their cloud portfolio and telecom agents are embracing those faster then the VARs," he said

VARs are currently making the shift toward telecom services but having some difficulty, Mercer said.

"We are seeing more and more getting into the field, but there are some things they have a hard time grasping," said Mercer. "The hurdles are billing services to keep margins. VARs like to get paid upfront, and they are not used to [our] model.

NEXT: TBI Can Take The Heat When Things Go Wrong