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What Happened in Vegas

WHAT A WEEK. FOR THE FIRST TIME, COMPTEL and PHONE+ piggybacked their spring shows so the telecom industry could spend eight full days networking and seven nights living the Vegas high life. Both events the Spring 2007 COMPTEL PLUS Convention + Expo and the Spring 2007 Channel Partners Conference & Expo were held at the plush Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. Combining the shows pushed attendee and exhibitor numbers to new highs; exhibitors at each show reported more, and higher-quality, traffic than they have seen in some time. COMPTEL PLUS drew more than 2,400 attendees and 130-plus exhibitors, while Channel Partners registered more than 3,000 attendees and 140 exhibitors.




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The show is really taking off, said Earl Comstock, president and CEO of COMPTEL, of COMPTEL PLUS. Sherm Henderson, chairman of the COMPTEL board, praised members for sticking with the association through the tough times. The persistence paid off, he said, noting telecom was Wall Streets top sector in 2006. We are really coming back as an industry, he said. As evidence, Henderson said, 22 investment bankers were roaming the COMPTEL floors.

People in the exhibit hall felt the same energy. I appreciated the deal center. I had meetings every 30 minutes, said Suzanne Bowen, CEO of DIDXchange, a wholesale provider for carriers to buy and sell DID numbers. People are actually looking to buy, said Bart Daily, director of sales for SinglePipe Communications, adding attendees know which products they want and are asking for them specifically. They did their homework, he said. Weve had less traffic but the quality of the traffic is really good.

COMPTEL PLUS ran from Tuesday, Feb. 28, to Friday, March 2, highlighted by the keynote speech from boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard who talked about developing winning strategies for the long term a philosophy that resonated with professionals in the tumultuous telecom industry. Boxing, Leonard said, is a metaphor for life. Theres always a fight, he said, passing on some well-earned advice: Always keep your gloves up.

Sundays Channel Partners Expo keynote, which was co-sponsored by AireSpring, also featured a sports legend NFL MVP and Super Bowl champ Joe Theismann, who similarly challenged partners to embrace change as an opportunity. Some of us sit here and wish for the old days … but I say embrace the change, he said.

While Theismann acknowledged he did not know about all the changes in the telecommunications business, he knows a lot about the challenges it brings. After the infamous leg injury in a 1985 Giants-Redskins game, he was forced to face change head on. My whole world changed. I wasnt a really nice person … I figured that out, Theismann said. Attitude precedes everything we do in our life, he said. If you dont believe in who you are, whos going to believe it? … The confidence inside us is the key to our success.

Theismanns energetic speech kicked off the 10th Anniversary Channel Partners Conference & Expo, which ran from Sunday, March 4, through Tuesday, March 6. One highlight of the program was the Carrier Roundtable session, which gave channel partners a chance to get answers from their suppliers about money, loyalty and commitment. The panel featured four carriers Verizon Communications Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp., Level 3 Communications Inc. and XO Communications Inc. that have gone through mergers and changes to their partners programs in the past four years.

Attendees then broke into concurrent seminars that covered the gamut from business development insight to tips on selling IP telephony to making money by helping enterprises manage wireless spend. On Sunday and Monday, most events were standing-room only, a testament to agents hunger for information as the telecom industry evolves ever more quickly.

The Channel Partners Expo floor was busier and more crowded than ever. Attendees literally had to navigate their way through throngs of people. Exhibitors told PHONE+ staff the spring show was the best they had seen since the telecom bust, thanks to revenuegenerating opportunities like telecom expense management, hosted IP PBX and mobility.

After 10 years, we are excited to see the Channel Partners Conference & Expo maintain momentum, said PHONE+ Group Publisher Mike Saxby. It is testimony to the strength of the indirect sales force as a successful channel for the sales and marketing of increasingly complex and varied communications products and services. We are looking forward to another successful decade in partnership with the channel.

Links
AireSpring www.airespring.com
Channel Partners Conference & Expo www.channelpartnersconference.com
COMPTEL www.comptel.org
didxchange www.didx.net
INDATEL Group www.indatelgroup.org
Intelisys Corp. www.intelisyscorp.com
Level 3 Communications Inc. www.level3.com
Savatar Inc. www.savatar.com
SinglePipe Communications www.singlepipecom.com
Sprint Nextel www.sprint.com
Verizon Communications Inc. www.verizon.com
XO Communications Inc. www.xo.com

ATLANTIC-ACM Delivers 2007 U.S. Wholesale Excellence Awards

ATLANTIC-ACM announced the winners of its annual U.S. Wholesale Excellence Awards on Feb. 28 at the COMPTEL PLUS Spring 2007 Convention + Expo in Las Vegas.

Wholesale Excellence Awards are derived from the 2007 edition of ATLANTIC-ACMs U.S. Wholesale Long Distance Carrier Report Card, the telecommunications industrys principal wholesale benchmarking study. ATLANTIC-ACM CEO Judy Reed Smith said the awards started in 1995 to aid carriers in selecting wholesale providers. We knew who gave the best parties, but not who was the best provider, she said, describing the impetus for the survey.

Awards were given in eight categories: brand, network, provisioning, customer service, billing, data quality, voice quality and sales reps. AT&T Inc. won for brand, network and voice quality. The carrier was the only winner for brand. Sprint Nextel Corp. was recognized for network, billing and voice quality. Level 3 Communications Inc. earned accolades for provisioning, customer service, billing and data quality, tying with XO Communications for the latter. XO also won for sales reps. Finally, Qwest Communications International Inc. took honors for network, customer service, voice quality and sales reps.

Fedor Smith, vice president, ATLANTIC-ACM; Dave Falter, vice president, Sprint Wholesale; Cathy-Ann Martine, senior vice president U.S. wholesale sales, AT&T Operations Inc.; Roland Thornton, executive vice president global wholesale markets, Qwest Communications International Inc.; Ernie Ortega, president carrier services, XO Communications Inc.; Edward Morche, senior vice president offer management, Level 3 Communications Inc.; and Judy Reed Smith, CEO, ATLANTIC-ACM

 

Links
Atlantic-ACM www.atlantic-acm
COMPTEL www.comptel.org

Telecom Weekend

No telecom event is complete without golf. So, Telecom Week attendees teed off with a golf outing on Saturday afternoon at the Las Vegas National Golf Club. Despite the wind and cool temperatures, groups of four enjoyed the sun and informal networking time. Steve Robb of master agency Intelisys Corp. won $200 total for Closest to the Pin and Longest Drive prizes.

Telecom Weekers enjoyed a sponsored cocktail hour at the Venetians V Bar followed by a late-night performance by the Blue Man Group.

Thirty-two participated in the Telecom Week golf outing at Las Vegas National Golf Club.
Forty show attendees went to Blue Man Group, including execs from Level 3 Communications Inc., Telecom Brokerage Inc., Intelisys, IP Teleis, New Edge Networks, Custom Call Data Systems, Iomega, Access2go Inc., Endeavor Telecom, Lightyear Network Solutions and Covad Communications Group.

PHONE+ Awards Partners More Than $6,000 in Prizes



Ralph Bevilaqua


Jon Foster

Three attendees at the Spring 2007 Channel Partners Conference & Expo won big prizes in daily drawings sponsored by PHONE+, hosts of the Vegas event.

On March 4, a $1,500 Nordstrom Gift Card was awarded to Kevin Asano with Edgewater Networks.

Ralph Bevilaqua with Telecom Partners won a $1,000 Best Buy Gift Card in a drawing among qualified channel partner attendees on March 5.

The Grand Prize, a $2,500 American Express Gift Card, was awarded March 6 to Jon Foster with Fostar Telecom. This drawing was open to paid registrants who completed the official Show Passport with stamps from participating exhibitors.

PHONE+ also awarded an Early Bird Prize $1,000 and three nights stay at the show hotel to Brad Venuti, vice president of client operations for Profit Enhancement Services (PES). Venuti was selected at random from among qualified channel partner delegates who registered for the trade show as of Feb. 2.

Links
PHONE+ www.phoneplusmag.com
Channel Partners Conference & Expo www.channelpartnersconference.com

Telecom Association Announces Members Choice Awards



Kathleen Brown and Nancy Baldwin of Telecom Association announce the winners of the TA Members Choice Awards.

Telecom Association (TA), a professional membership organization of more than 2,000 telecom distributors founded in 1995, honored the telecom industrys best vendors Sunday by bestowing on nine of them the title, TA Members Choice for 2007, in nine service categories.

More than twice as many TA members voted this year, a real validation of the outstanding job the vendors are doing supporting the channel, says Nancy Baldwin, TA president. After a three-month nomination and balloting process, the following companies have been named the 2007 TA Members Choice Award winners for overall excellence by TA members in their respective service categories:

  • Master Agency – Telecom Brokerage Inc.
  • Reseller – AireSpring
  • Local Service – AireSpring
  • Data/Broadband – ACC Business
  • VoIP Service – XO Communications
  • Conferencing – Raindance
  • Mobile/Cellular – World Telecom Group
  • Retail Carrier – ACC Business
  • Wholesale Carrier – Qwest Communications International Inc.

In addition to the Members Choice Awards, TA also awarded a Presidents Pick Award to honor on one vendor for Innovation Excellence. The 2007 Presidents Pick Award for Innovation Excellence for their groundbreaking distributor-lead program goes to Telarus (ShopForT-1).

Links
Telecom Association www.telecomassociation.com

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