Partners to Sell Lightpath Hosted Voice in 2Q

Optimum Lightpath is gearing up agents to sell its new Lightpath Hosed Voice service, beginning in second quarter.

Announced Jan. 20, Lightpath Hosted Voice is the latest addition to Optimum Lightpath’s Voice Services portfolio, which includes Lightpath Managed Voice, Lightpath IP Trunking and Lightpath Internet/Voice.

Matt Grover, Optimum Lightpath’s vice president of sales operations, told PHONE+ the offer is significant in that it’s the company’s “first foray in CPE, the equipment world, the other side of the demarc.”

The service, an overlay on Lightpath Internet/Voice, is a business-class hosted VoIP, PBX replacement service targeted to 50-300 seat locations. Entry pricing for Lightpath Hosted Voice including Internet is $3,498 per month for 50 seats with 50,000 minutes of use and 20mbps of bandwidth. The price also includes the cost of the phones – Cisco and Linksys models – that are provided with the service. The service includes three years of technical and service support, and there are no additional costs for routers, switches, professional services, installation, configuration or system turn-on.

Grover said Optmum Lightpath will be training its indirect sales partners on the product during first quarter to get them ready to begin selling in second quarter. It’s possible there will be a controlled rollout, with some partners beginning to sell it sooner than others, but not before second quarter. No partners were involved in any of the beta testing for the service.

Training, two three-hour segments, is required for all agents who will sell the product, including subagents. The training will be in person at the partner site or at Optimum Lightpath headquarters. Partners will be required to pass a test before they are permitted to sell.

Grover said the service will be sold on a teaming basis with Optimum Lightpath sales engineers, who will perform the network assessment and help the partner close the sale. Optimum Lightpath also will take care of the installation, etc. Grover said he doesn’t anticipate any of those responsibilities would be handed off to the partner – at least not through 2009.

Grover declined to discuss compensation for partners. He said it would be slightly different than it is for other products, but that it would include a monthly residual. He said there likely would be spiffs offered for the launch.

“Capital is so precious right now, it’s a great time to roll this out,” he said. “[For the customer], it’s a choice between buying a new phone system and spending tens of thousands of dollars or letting a company like Lightpath do it for me.”

Grover acknowledged that there are similar products being offered by other providers, but he said agents have told the company their customers would be interested in the offer coming from Optimum Lightpath, which is a division of Cablevision Systems Corp. and well known to businesses across the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metropolitan area.

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