AT&T Partners: Customers Clamoring For Connectivity Solutions

AT&T realized three years ago that having a strong relationship with solution providers ultimately would help the carrier reach more customers and provide more complete offerings, said Brooks McCorcle, president of AT&T Partner Solutions.

"Whether we are talking about AT&T, or a solution provider, we see a huge opportunity for growth. Partners selling hardware, software and cloud, mobility and networking are in a unique position to pull solutions together for the end user," McCorcle told CRN.

In its second-quarter earnings report July 23, AT&T reported that business services revenue rose 13 percent to $2.7 billion year over year and now accounts for one-third of the carrier’s total wireline business revenue.

[Related: Partners: New AT&T Certification Program Driving Recurring Revenue Gains]

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According to AT&T partners, those numbers will only grow from there as business customers demand connectivity solutions.

The carrier's business services, which include MPLS and Ethernet, are being requested at an increasing rate -- especially from companies with low-latency applications such as financial institutions and medical facilities, said Patrick Lee, business development executive at Alliant Technologies, a Boston-based AT&T partner.

AT&T also has its sights set on the often overlooked midmarket, according to Lee.

"AT&T has always been focused on the SMB space, some years more so than others. [AT&T] has a lot of incentives out there right now for small businesses," Lee said.

Nearly three years ago, AT&T decided to make a big push into the midmarket, and knew they would need to call upon their partners to help get them there, McCorcle said. "We saw a really big opportunity in this space, and we were seeing trends toward many of those end-user businesses really wanting to work with solution providers," she said.

Meanwhile, AT&T has been lighting up multitenant business complexes in cities such as New York and Boston with Ethernet capabilities. "They are clearly focused on providing high-availability, big bandwidth to these businesses in a pretty aggressive way. That's helping us and our customers as well," Lee said.

AT&T also has been very vocal about its plans for the Internet of Things market, Lee said. During the second-quarter earnings call, the Dallas-based company touted its relationships with eight automobile manufacturers. AT&T now supplies the cellular connection in 1 million cars, according to the company.

"They've been very aggressive about moving into this space and it's an enormously large market opportunity," Lee said. "For our customers, AT&T is an enabler to that IoT world in terms of network infrastructure, and that's critical to our success."

Robert Short, vice president of Liquid Networks, a San Antonio-based AT&T partners, said, ’Three years ago, I would have said AT&T was losing ground because they were too slow, too expensive, and too hard to do business with. That is simply not the case anymore. AT&T is simply delivering at a price that's competitive. That's why this business is growing," he said.