Cover Story: The Mobile Technology Revolution

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The mobile revolution wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the carriers and network operators that offer the connectivity to make it all go. The underlying wireless infrastructure and networks keep the world connected, whether from smartphones, tablets, netbooks or some other wireless mobile device.

And as the movement takes hold, solution providers are starting to see the spoils, whether through offering mobile devices that work on carrier networks to selling the “last mile” of wireless connectivity from carriers like AT&T or Sprint.

Greg Parsonson, vice president of corporate development for Tech Data, said the distributor is capturing the mobile carrier services wave with a new program called ActivateIT, a joint venture with Brightstar. While Tech Data fills the master agent role for VARs wanting to sell mobile devices and the telecom services to activate them, Parsonson said it’s a major growth area for solution providers to make maneuvers in mobility. And the carriers, he told CRN recently, are more than willing to play ball.

“They realize that this isn’t their traditional stomping grounds in accessing SMBs, so they are very anxious [to work] in conjunction with us,” he said. And through the program, solution providers can bulk up sales and leave the carrier dealings to the distributor, making it a win-win on all sides.

Mobility, coupled with cloud computing, is the main factor pushing traditional carriers to the channel to resell services and products. Carriers get an extension to their sales force, while solution providers can add new offers to their portfolios.

Earlier this year AT&T vowed to plunk down $1 billion on cloud and mobility in the coming year, a chunk of which will likely filter through AT&T’s channels. And other major carriers are looking at ways to spread their mobile messaging beyond the direct approach. They are investing in new architectures and networks to quicken wireless services, whether it’s through 3G, 4G, LTE or a host of other next-gen wireless plays. And solution providers stand a strong chance of reaping the benefits.

—Andrew R. Hickey, with additional reporting from Chad Berndtson

NEXT: Cloud

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