Bells Cook Up Instant Managed Services

Resellers that want to get into the premium managed services business can look no further than the local telephone company for a turnkey package, including transport, CPE and professional services.

Two Bell companies - Qwest Communications International Inc. and BellSouth Interconnection Services - have come to the table in the last six months with such bundled offers for their wholesale customers.

Last fall, Qwest Global Wholesale Markets rolled out its Wholesale CPE Solutions program, which offers end-to-end design, procurement, integration, maintenance and management of data networking equipment and applications. It gives resellers the option of purchasing CPE in conjunction with Qwest’s transport services, managed services and professional services.

Qwest’s Wholesale CPE Solutions includes hardware configuration, on-site installation and testing of hardware, including data, dedicated Internet access and voice CPE. Various manufacturers, such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Adtran, are represented. Some of the equipment is available for mark-up and resale by Qwest’s resellers, but not all.

Also available is a remote maintenance offer, or Software Support Program, which comes in three service levels: standard, enhanced and premium. On top of the SSP, there is an on-site maintenance program with standard and premium service levels.

Speaking at an October 2003 trade show, Teresa Taylor, executive vice president of the operating unit, told PHONE+ the program allows resellers to leverage Qwest’s purchasing power plus its nationwide service team. “It’s an alternative to walking away from the opportunity,” says Taylor.

The service is available within the contiguous United States, enabling nationwide resellers to provide managed service without having to set up local offices or partnerships with local integrators.

Along the same lines, BellSouth Interconnection Services, the wholesale business unit of BellSouth Corp., in February rolled out its Intelligent DSU (IDSU) service, which takes advantage of the carriers 14,000 technicians and trucks. IDSU enables service providers to install and monitor frame relay networks, end-to-end, including IDSU equipment, to customer in BellSouth’s nine-state region.

BellSouth’s IDSU Service offers resellers frame relay, network visibility, CPE, and installation.

This is a first time the Bell company has offered CPE and managed services to its resellers. “What precipitated it was feedback from the wholesale customers,” says Scott Waid, director of marketing for BellSouth Interconnection Services, in an interview at the CompTel/ASCENT Alliance Conference & Expo in Anaheim where the service was launched. “The business problem is beyond the network; it’s a coordination issue.”

The service includes IDSU CPE, installation of the CPE, fault and performance monitoring capability, and a replacement warranty on the CPE. The IDSUs support frame relay service at DS0, DS1 and DS3 speeds. Also included is BellSouth’s Networks Visibility Service, which gives customers a near real-time view into BellSouth’s frame relay and ATM networks as well as access to historical performance reports.

“BellSouth’s new IDSU service offers significant advantages to service providers,” says Waid. “With BellSouth IDSU service, our wholesale customers can order frame relay service, NVS and the IDSU, and install it all at once with a single truck roll. That’s a smart, quick and economical solution to business and network needs.”

Waid says the single truck roll is in contrast to have to do the equipment portion themselves or through a third party. It also speeds revenue from the end user to the wholesale customer, he says. Waid adds NVS gives the wholesaler the ability to look at the network and the CPE device to isolate trouble much faster. So, for example, the reseller can determine whether the end user disconnected the LAN, or if the Ethernet connection went down. “If they are working, then there may be a problem with the equipment or local loop,” he says.

Visibility also can be extended to equipment that the customer already owns. This network management view can be extended to the end user if desired.

“[Carriers] have the capability to resell this to their customers the way it’s partitioned,” explains Duane Hattaway, IDSU product manager, adding that it can be further subdivided by departments. “This is another way for them to grow their revenue.”

Wholesale charges include a one-time set-up fee of $300 plus an installation fee and a monthly recurring charge, which varies by speed. A DS0, for example, costs $850 for the equipment plus $5 per month. Every location enabled has a separate charge.

Qwest Communications International Inc.
BellSouth Interconnection Services

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