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Select AT&T indirect partners can now sell the much-heralded FirstNet platform for first responders.
AT&T in March 2017 won a $40 billion bid with the First Responder Network Authority (a branch of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) to build a network that expands mobile access for public-safety organizations. Wednesday’s announcement allows members of the AT&T Alliance Channel to sell FirstNet.
Chris Sambar, senior vice president of AT&T–FirstNet, said that the new FirstNet Dealer Program will increase flexibility for public-safety officials.
“FirstNet Dealer Program makes it easy for public-safety agencies to work with the same solution providers they know and trust to sign up for FirstNet service,” Sambar said.
Zee Hussain, channel chief and senior vice president of AT&T Partner Solutions, tells Channel Partners that a specific group of Alliance Channel members will take on this initiative. The partners must attain certifications and sign a specific FirstNet addendum.
“We have partners that have deep expertise in this space, that have been servicing the public safety space for quite some time,” Hussain said in an interview. “The solutions they have architected they provide in the space already. So let’s go talk to those partners, and let’s enable them to be able to sell FirstNet.”
Hussain says FirstNet is comprised of mobile-based solutions, including mobile plans, devices, security and coverage. He says the new platform will help agencies evolve from traditionally using the network to only make phone calls.
“The current ecosystem is limited in the sense that it’s very voice-centric,”he said. “So what FirstNet will enable you to do is also be able to have access to apps and technology, and the goal is to build apps and technology that very much cater to the public-safety space.”
Hussain says there are about a dozen apps in the FirstNet app store.
As a recent Washington Post said in a profile of the network, FirstNet brings expanded mobile coverage and better remote access to fire fighters, law enforcement, EMS and other first responders. And many of those customers are familiar with the channel.
“There are organizations in the public-safety community that are accustomed to doing business with dealers. They are accustomed to doing business with our partners, and they would love to also procure FirstNet services through them as well,” Hussain said. “This is just an acknowledgment of that the fact that there are partners that are very much embedded in this community. It would be great for customers – it would be great for our partners – if we give them the ability to sell FirstNet.”
AT&T will continue to build the network. Its FirstNet contract last for 25 years.