Sprint Wholesale Mobile Could Be Godsend to CLECs

COMPTEL PLUS Sprint Nextel Corp.s wholesale division is working hard to become a key contributor to the wireless providers overall $32.3 billion revenue base. A little more than a year after taking over as president of the wholesale group, Dan Dooley is moving that unit away from wireline reliance and into the white-hot world of wireless. Part of that strategy has included layoffs but in more recent months, its meant a focus on new products that competitive carriers, and even cable operators, can sell to business customers. The latest service Sprints wholesale unit is showing off is Wholesale Mobile Integration or, in essence, your office away from the office.

What that means is, competitive carriers that dont yet have a mobility strategy think PAETEC now can have one. And PAETEC knows it needs something along the lines of Sprints Wholesale Mobile Integration. In his Sept. 13 keynote address to COMPTEL members, PAETEC CEO Arunas Chesonis said his company never could get decent wholesale gross margin” from providers but that customers werent leaving over the absence of wireless bundling. Still, he said, I actually think [wireless is] imminent sometime we have to start bundling wireless.”

Was Chesonis hinting that PAETEC is about to offer wireless services on Sprints platform? Sprint cant say. But all indications point to yes. Expect to see real user” announcements as of the fourth quarter.

How It Works

Wholesale Mobile Integration, built on complex cloud and IMS technologies, integrates wireline and wireless voice networks. So, a user can pick up a call at either the desktop or cell phone, and the simultaneous ring feature will end the call on the device not used. Then, if a user is on a cell phone, the call wont eat wireless minutes because the system acts as if it is on-net. That means international calls dont cost a fortune anymore. Theres also single-number calling, call transfer and integrated voice mail. Wholesale Mobile Integration works best with Sprint phones, although it does interoperate with other providers devices. Sprint further has partnered with BroadSoft Corp. to combine the wireless and VoIP elements for service provider customers; unified communications provider Mitel Networks has completed testing with the Wholesale Mobile Integration product.

For CLECs, the toughest part about Wholesale Mobile Integration might be selling it. Its targeted toward SOHOs and SMBs, not the mass market, so potential clients may not yet realize the productivity they could gain. Plus, they have to see the product in action to get it,” Dooley said.

Then they get really excited,” he added.

Fast Wholesale Growth

Sprint Wholesale is an integral factor in the companys growth. The division powers Bank of America ATMs and the Amazon Kindle, for example. It also just inked an MVNO deal with Cricket Communications. Now Sprints wholesale division hopes to capture more market share from the millions of small businesses that populate the country. As a result, Dooley expects consistent revenue growth to show up over the next few quarters.

Were growing as fast as [Sprints] prepaid,” he said.

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