New Territory For Qwest

The program, formally dubbed iQ Networking, is an amalgamation of a variety of Qwest services and includes everything from Multiprotocol Label Switching-based private IP to end-to-end performance guarantees.

According to Bob Schroeder, the Denver-based carrier's director of product management, the move represents a concerted effort to expand business services and compete with other companies such as AT&T and Sprint for market share in the WAN arena.

>> Solution providers say offering can fetch new customers and strengthen bonds with old ones.

"Up until this point in time, we built [telecommunications] products and sold them to our buyers," he said. "Now, this move is about arriving at a destination, saying our technology works, and selling services off of that."

For Qwest partners, of course, the programs presents brand-new opportunities to sell Qwest services and solutions to enterprise-level businesses.

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Susan Kinney Mantione, general manager of Global Systems Telecom, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., noted that iQ Networking will enable her company to fetch new customers and broaden its relationship with current ones.

"We will have the opportunity to deliver additional value and network capabilities by upgrading or integrating the new technology into existing networks or to accommodate network expansion," she said. "It will allow us to compete head-to-head with AT&T and Sprint and win business that we were not able to win in the past."

Robb Karcsay, CEO of Qwest partner American Consulting Services, Portland, Ore., agreed.

"I think this will defiantly put a dent into AT&T's declining business services," he said. "As an agent, I have the ability now to offer a more complete portfolio of products and services without having multiple relationships with multiple carriers just to fulfill a solution."

At V1 Datacom, Portland, CEO John Griffin took those sentiments even further, dubbing 2004 "a good year to be in the telecom business," adding that he hasn't heard anyone say that in quite some time.

"I'm glad that Qwest is flexing its collective muscle,what other carriers are positioned with the network tools to offer integrated networks and facility-based IP transport?" asked Griffin. "These guys are sitting on a modern network, an appropriate level of network points-of-presence, the RBOC customer base and an evolved IXC platform. This kind of offering leverages a much larger picture."