Sprint Calls Claim About Partner Program False

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Sprint officials refuted a telecom competitor's claim that Sprint's partner program was being eliminating or scaled back.

New Edge Networks, a data service provider in Vancouver, Wash., sent out an e-mail stating that "Sprint recently announced they will be discontinuing all affiliate sales programs, leaving many of their partners with little notice and no solutions."

The e-mail, which also promoted New Edge Network's own program for solution providers, was sent Jan. 9 to members of the Telecom Agent's Association (TAA), an agent organization in San Diego, Calif.,

"That e-mail is unequivocally not true," said Lee Priest, Sprint's director of indirect channel marketing. "We have not changed our partner or affiliate programs in any way."

If anything, Sprint is working to beef up the program, he said. Sprint is actively recruiting partners, including smaller VARs, and expects to announce a deal with a distributor by February that will help promote its services among solution providers who might not want to commit to the requirements of the partner program.

"Carriers are exploring options that help reach the nascent VARs that can be difficult to target," he said.

New Edge Networks did not return phone calls from CRN.

TAA, which distributes e-mails to members on behalf of vendors, published a retraction on its site.

"The vendor press release from New Edge Networks on Thursday was not properly reviewed by TAA editors," said TAA president Dan Baldwin.

Preist said it's likely New Edge has confused Sprint's partner program with its affiliate sales program, but he reiterated that neither program is being scaled back.

Sprint's affiliate sales program allows organizations, such as a city's chamber of commerce, to offer their members discounts on Sprint services and receive a small commission. He said Sprint is planning to automate services for low-revenue generating affiliates while increasing support for high-revenue providers. But Sprint's traditional partners,solution providers, VARs and intergrators,are not part of that program.

Sprint's legal department is reviewing the e-mail from new Edge Networks, Preist said.

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