Zone Channel Changes Few Post Merger

The indirect sales channel for  Zone Telecom Inc. , Cherry Hill, N.J., should expect few changes as a result of the resellers pending merger with wholesale provider Associated Network Partners Inc., Springfield, Ill.

The companies announced late Thursday they have signed a definitive agreement to merge, forming a $180 million company. Pending shareholder, federal and state regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

The deal combines Zone Telecoms multicarrier voice, data and VoIP services for enterprise and wholesale customers with ANPIs network assets and wholesale customer base.  The merged organization will serve 1,300 enterprise and nearly 800 wholesale customers. ANPI and Zone Telecom will each own 50 percent of the new entity, ANZ Communications, but will continue providing service under both current business names.

Because of this separation and that ANPI, a wholesale carrier, has only a few select agents, the Zone Telecom channel program will remain largely intact.

Ken McCormack, senior vice president of sales, will continue to run and expand Zones channel program along with the support of Charles Murray, Zones COO; Mike Ricks, Zones vice president of wholesale; and  Gene Chohon, ANPIs vice president of sales and market development.

Zone Telecom serves about 100 agents most of them selling enterprise services. Zone, which also offers wholesale services to other carriers, does allow agents to sell those services as well, but its been on a limited basis.

Going forward there will be an increased focus on [agents selling] wholesale services,” said Eamon Egan, Zone Telecoms CFO.

The larger impact to the agents will be the new companys greater wherewithal, which will result more products and enhanced web portal tools, Egan said.

Following integration agents will be in a position to offer customers and expanded array of products building on our robust national network and switches strategically placed throughout the country, inevitably located close to their prospective end-user customers,” Egan said.

ANPI maintains a nationwide OC192 ring with aggregation points in Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas and Los Angeles that are used to interconnect to wholesale customers.  The OC192 backbone is used to interconnect 7609 routers to form the core of the routed IP network and to provide private-line services. In addition, Sonus GSX-9000 switches in Chicago and Las Vegas are used to provide wholesale switch and tandem services. ANPI recently completed the relocation of its NOC from Springfield to Frisco, Texas.

Zone also maintains its own facilities in California and utilizes shared facilities in the Northeast. 

From our limited knowledge of the merger, it will add significant network, product and staffing capability, which can only be good for us as a master agent partner,” said Steve Robb, SWAT sales manager for master agency Intelisys Communications, Petaluma, Calif., I know that our sales partners will welcome the opportunity to increase sales based on the expanded network and product that this deal should enable the combined companies to offer.”

Intelisys has been working with Zone for about six months and has found their product offering to be extensive” and their team to be responsive.”

Master agency allConnex, Sharon, Mass., has been working with Zone for eight years, beginning about a month after the agency opened its doors. Jamie Kuzman, managing partner for allConnex, said Zone has been a valued partner that allConnex relies on to provide voice service to its large enterprise and call center clients. He said the company offers excellent service, aggressive pricing and competitive commissions.

I expect the program will stay the same or improve,” he said, citing an improved nationwide network and greater buying power, which would translate to better pricing for allConnex customers.

Kuzman said allConnex has enjoyed a close working relationship with Zone and has had a direct line to the executives.” He doesnt know if that will change as a result of the merger, but he is optimistic since three of Zones executives called Kuzman to share with him the news of the merger. Not many companies do that,” he said.


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