Channel Partners Extra

Posted: 11/2002

Ay Caramba!
Channel Partners Tops Attendance

 By Tara Seals

Miami’s South Beach is hot, hot,
hot, from the clubs to Ocean Drive’s models to the ever-present samba beat. The
Channel Partners Con-ference & Expo, held Sept. 8-10 at the Loews Miami
Beach Hotel, fit right in, with lively expo hall action and scorching education

The show, sponsored by PHONE+, broke
attendance records for the East Coast Channel Partners Conference & Expo.
Nearly 1,300 people gathered to network, share ideas and do business. The floor
was packed with channel partners browsing the sold-out exhibit space, which
offered a sizzling sampler of services from across the industry.

Exhibitors included everything from
master agents like Telegration Inc. and MicroCorp Inc. to conferencing providers
such as Premiere Conferencing, Eagle Teleconferencing Services Inc. and
Conference Express. Familiar faces such as American Telesis Inc., Broadwing
Inc., Tele-Pacific Communications, Sprint Corp. and Focal Communications Corp.
set up side-by-side with newcomers like Call Compliance Inc., Momentum Business
Solutions Inc. and Web hosting/advanced IP service provider NTT/Verio Inc. A
prepaid pavilion showcased the top players in that area, including Blackstone
Communications, Radiant Holdings Inc. and Global Prepaid Alliance Inc.

Booth traffic was fluid and
maintained itself even on the final exhibition day, which traditionally is more
of a wind-down period.

"Every show we come away with
good leads and this has been no exception," says Lisa Falso, manager of
sales operations for reseller and longtime show exhibitor TransNational
Communications International Inc. (TNCI). "This show has been great."

Asked if the show had been a
success, Angie Hebron, an analyst of indirect marketing programs for XO
Communications said, ""We are happy to be here. Attending the Channel
Partners shows have always provided valuable opportunities to help our indirect
sales channel grow."

ACC Business sponsored virtual
reality golf, adding more flair to the floor, which had a South Beach-style,
carnival-like atmosphere. Food and cocktail networking events sponsored by
eMeritus Corp., Radiant, WorldxChange Communications Inc. and,
a division of GPA, were packed, while overhead giveaway announcements made some
attendees lucky winners of golf clubs, Palm Pilots and cash. The Channel
Partners Conference & Expo Advisory Board named Alexander Rothman from
Earthfriendly Com-munications, an agent/consultant, the winner of a $1,000
raffle prize. Enhanced Communications Group (ECG) also gave away $1,000.

If the raffles weren’t enough to
make channel partners happy, the networking opportunities were. Attendees and
exhibitors reported successful dealmaking. "I think I got more done at this
show than any of the earlier ones," says Bill Power, president of master
agency Association Resource Group.

Ted Schuman, president and CEO of
master agency PlanetOne Communications Inc. was so busy running from meeting to
meeting he was almost a blur.

"The show in Miami was
outstanding," says Schuman. "The venue, high-quality curriculum and
attendees were the best I have ever seen at any of the PHONE+ conferences."

News from the show floor set ears
ablaze. WorldxChange, RSL Com U.S.A. Inc. and Transpoint Communications Inc.
unveiled a plan to merge under one brand, yet to be announced, beginning in
October. Word on the street is the new company will retain the WorldxChange
brand in some form. A new leadership team, new commissions for partners, new
products and new rates will follow in the next few weeks, says director of
marketing Rick Eberhardt.

Qwest Communications International
Inc. held a salon and cocktail reception to meet with business partners and to
announce its "Qwest Central" back-office portal. Internap Network
Services Corp. announced it was the only business ISP in the top 10 to increase
market share, according to a study by Instat/MDR. OneRoute LLC was there to
showcase a brand-new aggressive channel partner program, while Metropolitan
Telecommunications (MetTel) announced a monthly residual commission hike to as
much as 20 percent. Also, TelePacific announced enhancements to its Telepartner

Carl Churchill, formerly of defunct
startup Igaea, has joined AllCom USA Inc. as vice president of business
development and announced he will reinvigorate its agent program and revamp its
marketing. "It’s great to be back, and this is the venue for it," says

Red-hot conference sessions rounded
out the two and a half days of channel partner opportunity. With the economy on
everyone’s minds, the conference portion focused on business strategies and
survival tactics, using field experts to give valuable knowledge on topics
ranging from online marketing to picking a solid long-distance carrier.

Khali Henderson, PHONE+s editor in
chief, got the education program started with an inspired look at ways to
minimize exposure as a channel partner in the event of bankruptcy. She was
followed by keynote speaker, bestselling author Wayne Dyer. Dyer’s presentation,
sponsored by master agency Global Systems Telecom Inc. (GSTI), focused on
self-actualization, spirituality and the power of positive thinking.

During a kick-off general session on
"Growing and Expanding Your Business," the oft-quoted Drake Johnstone,
first vice president of research at Davenport & Co., noted Worldcom Inc. is
a "house of cards," and gave financial snapshots of telecom companies
as a sales guide. AT&T Corp. is in better shape than Sprint, but not by
much, and they’re both doing fine, while exhibitor Allegiance Telecom Inc. took
the prize as the CLEC most likely to succeed.

Concurrent sessions, including those
on account penetration (which featured some very Miami-like drumming to set the
beat) and cable offerings in the market, were full, while the ending general
session, "Vendors Uncensored," was packed with agents eager to query
vendors on subjects ranging from contract terms to evergreen clauses.

Arunas Chesonis of PaeTec
Communications Inc. proved a good sport after moderator Schuman cued the Miami
Sound Machine on the PA system-Chesonis cabbage patched for all to see. However,
the discussion soon turned serious. Representatives from Allegiance, Business
Telecom Inc. (BTI) eMeritus, Internap, PaeTec, Premiere Conferencing, TNCI and
Williams Communications Group took a crack at some tough questions, like the one
from master agent Mike Parizanski or Tier One Telecommunications Management
Group Inc.

"What are you going to do to
help lift the image of our industry?" he asked. "The perception out
there of this industry’s reputation is not good."

Mark Solomon of GSTI asked about
contract issues in the event of bankruptcy, and other questions concerned
Web-based partner support, the amount of business driven through channels (25 to
35 percent in most cases) and what’s next for the panelists’ partner programs.

As the hot Latin rhythms of South
Beach fade, some said they already are looking forward to the next Channel
Partners Conference & Expo, set for March 24-26 at the Mandalay Bay Resort
& Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

"If any agent or vendor can’t
justify the ROI or enormous reasons why they should attend the next show in Las
Vegas," says Schuman, "they should update their resume and change

Here for Pictures from the show.


ACC Business

AllCom USA Inc.

Allegiance Telecom Inc.

American Telesis Inc.

Association Resource

AT&T Corp.

Blackstone Communications

Broadwing Inc.

Business Telecom Inc.

Call Compliance Inc.

Conference Express

Eagle Teleconferencing
Services Inc.

eMeritus Corp.

Enhanced Communications

Focal Communications

Global Prepaid Alliance

Global Systems Telecom


Internap Network Services

OneRoute LLC

Mandalay Bay Resort &


MicroCorp Inc.

Momentum Business
Solutions Inc.

NTT/Verio Inc.

PaeTec Communications

PlanetOne Communications

Premiere Conferencing

Qwest Communications
International Inc.

Radiant Holdings Inc.

RSL Com U.S.A. Inc.

Sprint Corp.

Telegration Inc.


Tier One
Telecommunications Management Group, Inc.

Communications International Inc.

Transpoint Communications

Williams Communications

Worldcom Inc.

Communications Inc.

XO Communications

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