AT&T Gives Wireline-Focused Partners A Wireless Option And Makes AT&T Collaborate, FlexWare Available Through The Channel

At AT&T's fourth annual Partner Exchange Summit, the carrier revealed a new wireless backup plan aimed at helping wireline-centric partners dip a toe into the mobility. AT&T also made several existing offerings available to solution providers this week.

The easy-to-manage backup plan for wireless wide area network (WWAN) gives partners a mobility product to offer in addition to the wireline solutions they are already selling, Sue Galvanek, vice president of marketing, pricing and product for AT&T Partner Exchange told CRN.

For customers, it’s backup internet access that will keep their vital business applications up and running during any service interruption or outage, without pinging them with overages.

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The WWLAN Back-up Plan is a "perfect opportunity" and natural building block for partners already skilled in wireline networking to differentiate themselves, Galvanek said.

"Some of our partners already sell a lot of mobility and they are very good at it. We have other solution providers that mainly focus on wired networking. One thing we'd like to do is help our solution providers tap into the power and additional revenue opportunity associated with mobility," she said.

Alongside WWLAN Back-up Plan, AT&T released an updated version of its WWAN solution guide. The latest edition of the guide gives partners background on wireless routing, she said.

AT&T also made available its API for Mobility Port Management. The latest add to the mobility API portfolio gives solution providers more control over the entire process -- from qualifying and creation, to monitoring, updating, and canceling port requests.

The Dallas-based carrier introduced FlexWare, its rebranded Network Functions on Demand service last October. Now, the platform is available through channel partners.

FlexWare lets businesses -- and now solution providers on behalf of businesses -- configure and run multiple virtualized network functions from a single premises-based appliance, saving power, space and capital costs. The offering will greatly simplify network infrastructure management for partners, Galvanek said.

"With FlexWare, customers and partners scan deploy once-separate network functions on one, general-purpose piece of hardware," she explained.

Solution providers have the option of managing applications on FlexWare on behalf of their customers, giving management control to their clients, or offloading management to AT&T.

AT&T plans on launching SD-WAN capabilities that can reside on the FlexWare platform in 2018, Galvanek added.

"Customers can pick the features and technologies they want to use, and build on that over time," she said, adding that each new feature added to the platform is another recurring revenue stream for partners.

AT&T Collaborate, a cloud-based platform that includes voice, video, instant messaging, and screen sharing, is also now available through Partner Exchange.

For partners already selling unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions, the transport-agnostic service will be another option within their portfolio that can be offered to both SMB and enterprise customers. The solution is also a great fit for partners who haven't tapped into the UC and collaboration market yet, Galvanek said.

Users can purchase AT&T Collaborate's full package of UC&C features, or a la carte. "It's very flexible, and it lets users customize the size and scope of their communications to react to seasonal needs or spikes in business," she said.