Partners Applaud AT&T's Wireless and Mobility Enhancements, New Certifications

AT&T last year issued a call to action to its solution provider community that mobility would be the next big area for growth, and that partners would need to get on board. This year, the carrier is showing partners how to get into this market and find success.

Ahead of its Partner Exchange Summit next week, Dallas-based AT&T has rolled out updates to its wireless WAN offerings, as well as two new certification tracks, aimed at helping partners break into or expand their mobility practices.

"Mobility is fueling the next wave of growth for our solution providers. We want to help them create winning combinations of network and wireless solutions in the market so they can address their customer's needs," Sue Galvanek, vice president of marketing, pricing and product solutions for AT&T Partner Exchange told CRN.

[Related: AT&T Joins Forces With VeloCloud, Announces SD-WAN Portfolio]

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Network Services Solutions, a Reno, Nev.-based telecom service provider and AT&T partner has sold wireline solutions for the past 25 years. Last year, the solution provider began selling AT&T's wireless backup solutions for enterprises.

"The addition of wireless WAN backup has given us that value-add -- it's a deal-closer for us in a lot of cases. When I propose an AT&T WAN service to a customer and can also offer that wireless backup, that's a differentiator," said Tim Yager, vice president of sales for Network Services Solutions' central territory.

"Our company is sold on wireline being a good business, but you also need to move forward. We are really starting to see our mobility business grow because of wireless," he added.

To help solution providers create, or build up their existing wireless and mobility practices, AT&T updated its Business Connect wireless WAN rate plans. These plans, which can be used for wireless backup, now allows solutions providers pool data with other plans of the same type, according Galvanek.

DataXoom, a Walnut Creek, Calif.-based solution provider and AT&T partner that specializes in mobility services is already pooling data for its customers. Most DataXoom customers today are using 1 Gigabyte or more of data per device every month, typically via a tablet, ruggedized laptop, or other connected device, according to Rob Chamberlin, co-founder and chief revenue officer for DataXoom.

The solution provider could take advantage of the updated rate plans down the road for customers needing lower bandwidth plans, he said.

"These new AT&T rate plans allow for pooling of lower bandwidth plans -- 1MB up to 500MB -- and that could be interesting as part of future service offerings from DataXoom," he said.

AT&T also is giving its partners access to more customized mobile connections that they can fit into their customer's existing wireline and security requirements. This can be done through AT&T Private Mobile Connection, which was formerly known as AT&T Commercial Connectivity Services.

For partners looking for a more plug-and-play option, AT&T has released AccessMyLan, an offering that allows solution providers’ end customers to wirelessly connect to remote machines and devices. AccessMyLan can help businesses manage mobile data usage to prevent overages.

"We are giving partners the full spectrum to go from really easy solutions, to very complex solutions, and then wrap those with rate plans that make the most sense for them," Galvanek said.

Alongside these updates, AT&T released a Wireless WAN Solution Guide designed to help partners understand wireless routing basics.

"These enhancements, plus a robust solution guide, will help partners build on their wireline networking expertise and add wireless WAN solutions to help customers with business continuity," she said.

DataXoom's Chamberlin has noticed AT&T emerging as a champion for mobility, and appreciates that the carrier is now helping other solution providers see the opportunities in this space.

"I think the [Partner Exchange] program was launched with traditional telecom services at the foundation, but leadership has been very focused on mobility for the past couple of years," Chamberlin said. "Those efforts will pay off big for both AT&T and its partners."

AT&T is already seeing its mobility focus pay off, Brooks McCorcle, president of AT&T Partner Solutions told CRN. The carrier has seen a 300 percent increase in mobility revenues from its solution provider community since last year.

Along with its wireless WAN solution updates, AT&T unveiled two new certification tracks geared toward technical sales and design of AT&T products and services, as well as operations, including service delivery and billing.

Both DataXoom and Network Services Solutions are interested in the latest certification tracks, especially for new hires.

"I require our staff to take those classes and get those certifications," Network Services Solutions' Yager said. "I've already signed up our entire sales force, technical staff, and even myself for the new trainings. I think they are very worthwhile."