MCI Looks To VARs To Sell New Access Offerings

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MCI is broadening its access offerings, with the channel acting as a selling vehicle.

The carrier is bundling dial-up access with Wi-Fi access, available in July, and introducing a new satellite access solution, available by the end of the year.

The Wi-Fi solution is being made available to the channel via a relationship with Wayport, Austin, Texas, which has 600 hot spots deployed in hotels and airports.

Although he doesn't know the price point of the Wi-Fi offering and support structure from MCI, Ted Schuman, CEO of PlanetOne, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based master agent, said he is still a proponent of the bundling strategy.

"I am convinced [MCI's] bundled voice and data solutions are going to be very aggressively priced as they look to capture back some of their clients who might have left due to the bankruptcy and to dominate the other tier-one providers," Schuman said.

In an interview with CRN, Michael Capellas, chairman, president and CEO of MCI, said the company is aggressively pursuing VARs as part of its bundling/convergence strategy. MCI Advantage,which combines local, long-distance and connectivity services,in particular is geared toward the channel.

"We are building [IP services] tailored for the distribution channel and are making sure the products and services we're developing are packaged, targeted and priced for the midmarket and can be implemented quickly by the VARs," he said.

MCI is partnering with broadband satellite service provider Tachyon, San Diego, to provide the satellite services, which are aimed at the high end with service levels ranging from 128 Kbytes to 1 Mbyte.

MCI's satellite coverage will extend to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North Africa and South America, according to the company.

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