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CenturyLink’s DeLozier Quashes Unsavory Level 3 Integration Rumors

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SAN FRANCISCO — CenturyLink promised master-agency partners Friday that the company’s integration with Level 3 Communications will not disrupt the partner experience.

John DeLozier, vice president of strategic partners and alliances, addressed rumors that CenturyLink partners will have to adopt new rules of engagement and potentially lose accounts to direct sales.

CenturyLink's John DeLozier

CenturyLink’s John DeLozier

“None of that is true,” DeLozier told an audience of Bridgepointe Technologies partners on Friday.

He went on to say that the $34 billion acquisition has “put the right resources in place” for CenturyLink partners. He and Level 3’s Garrett Gee laid out further details for the integration timeline in a Q&A with Edward Gately.

“We’ve actually, in some places, tripled, quadrupled pre-sales resources, post-sales resources, project management, the things that make a huge difference for you in the weeds. If those things don’t go well, everything can go bad, so we’ve made a huge investment there to stand on your own,” DeLozier said.

DeLozier said there will continue to be scenarios where partners will rely on CenturyLink’s direct reps, but he said the company is happy to see partners stand on their own strengths.

“We’ll channel-integrate when and where it makes sense,” he said. “I think it’s terrific, but we won’t do it just to do it. We won’t do it because one of our people shows up with a badge and says, ‘Get the partner out of here.’ We won’t do that. In fact, that person will lose their job.”

DeLozier opened the final day of Bridgepointe’s rebranding event. The master agent, which was the fastest grower with CenturyLink last year, unveiled its strategy for becoming “trusted IT specialists” on Thursday.

DeLozier noted a CenturyLink survey of 3,000 Fortune 5000 companies, which concluded that 70 percent of companies have a plan for digital transformation and 92 percent want help from a third-party.

“They’re looking for you, and they’re looking for us,” he said. “And are we educating ourselves to meet them where they are?”

Master agents and their partners must transform themselves if they want to transform their customers.

“Those days of selling network and coming in and putting in a circuit and leaving — I think they’re over. I really do. There’ll be some cleanup, but I think it’s over. I think we really have to educate ourselves,” DeLozier said.

CenturyLink and Level 3 first announced plans to combine in October 2016.


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