Providing VARs Telecom Services Simple As AB&T

The Gaithersburg, Md., company—itself an agent for Qwest Communications, Sprint and Level 3 Communications, among others—recently launched a nationwide Field-Tech Services program to offer smaller solution providers a variety of services they might not be able to perform for customers on their own.

These services range from pipe provisioning to platform installation, including desktops, routers, switches and PBXes, all offered to solution providers at wholesale cost, said AB&T CEO Emmet Tydings.

"All a VAR does is call, and we dispatch the technician, track progress to completion, and provide a discounted time and materials bill to them," Tydings said. "It really is that simple."

AB&T has contracted more than 3,500 technicians in North America as consultants to provide services when the need arises, he said. Solution providers are encouraged to mark up the cost of services to their customers.

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The AB&T program is designed to deliver technical services immediately, sometimes within hours of an initial call.

That kind of service resonates with solution providers who plan to get involved with the program.

"With the flip of a switch, AB&T's Field-Tech Services give us a nationwide footprint of technicians, ensuring we'll never get bogged down with an install backlog," said Bill Bullock, president of Full Mesh Networks, a solution provider in Reston, Va. "To find integrators to support a national offering ourselves was time-consuming and risky."

Solution provider Dataprise also plans to rely on serv- ices from AB&T field technicians to expand geographically, said Brian Vaughn, senior vice president of the Rockville, Md., company.

"As we expand, we struggle with scaling service- level guarantees, and for [handling] help desk, this solution is simple," Vaughn said. "Being able to have AB&T [as a partner] reduces the number of engineers required and, accordingly, our expenditures."