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Frontier Troubles, Industry Layoffs Among Top Stories of the Month

COVID-19 dominated the headlines in March. So it’s no surprise to see it pop up in our countdown of top stories of the month.

You were very interested, for instance, in what master agents are doing to help keep partners and their customers afloat.

“I’ve been extremely proud to see what the channel has done. What the channel … has done for businesses of all kinds [during the pandemic] has been extraordinary,” Telarus COO Richard Murray told Channel Partners. In fact, we did two stories on the topic involving the master agent community.

You’ll also find predictions on the job outlook for IT pros as the pandemic rolls on.

The latest SD-WAN rankings are always popular, and last month was no different. The opening of Avant’s new second headquarters in Dallas also made our list of the top stories of the month.

By now you’re no doubt wondering which story was No. 1. Might it be a new hire at Telarus? That’s where the gallery below comes in.

Our rankings come via those articles that generated the most traffic online and click-throughs from our weekly newsletters. If you haven’t signed up for that yet, this is the place to do it. Keep up on the hottest topics impacting businesses in the channel without waiting until the beginning of the month.

Missed the previous month’s top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in February.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — Telarus Hires Serenova Alum

Klevins, Taylor_Telarus

Telarus' Taylor Klevins

You always want to know who's taking jobs where – or is getting promoted – as evidenced by our monthly People on the Move gallery, which appears later in our countdown.

But this individual move – Taylor Klevins going to Telarus from Serenova as a senior partner development manager for northern California – was itself enough to crack our top 12 for March. 

Learn more about what she'll be doing for the master agent.
Telia's Rob Pulkownik
#11 — Tech Layoffs & COVID-19

Not surprisingly, you're going to see more than one story about COVID-19, the pandemic that has gripped international headlines over the past month. In this story, we got insights from experts who said the telecom-IT job market could see some ups and downs for the foreseeable future.

One one hand, Janco’s Victor Janulaitis told us, any IT pro already working remotely is probably in a much safer position and more protected from a layoff. On the flip side, those working on legacy systems at companies that haven't moved toward mobile computing are at the greatest risk.
PlanetOne personnel
#10 — Telia Carrier Grows Cisco Partnership

You were curious to learn about a new SD-WAN service from Sweden-based Telia Carrier, part of a partnership with Cisco Viptela.

Telia execs call this an "advanced" version of its offering that caters to businesses with offices around the world. The company says the service is unique by attaching a customer's WAN overlay to its internet backbone network.
PlanetOne personnel
#9 — Latest SD-WAN Rankings

Speaking of SD-WAN, you were chomping at the bit to see who can claim supremacy in this red-hot technology.

Our story highlighting results of a Dell'Oro Group study showed how it's a tight race, with Cisco, Silver Peak, Fortinet. Versa and VMware all in strong positions.

Get the full scoop on the battle royale.
Otava's Tim Nielsen
#8 — Channel People on the Move

The aforementioned (in our description of No. 12) Channel People on the Move lands at No. 8 this month.

This edition featured new hires and promotions at Intelisys, Fusion Connect, TPx and more.
Tech Data's Stacy Nethercoat
#7 — Coronavirus & Video Conferencing

Another story on COVID-19 landed on our list — this one about the explosion of video conferencing services as more people around the world work remotely.

"Because almost 60% of the channel – their own businesses are ill-prepared – it reflects in the fact that their customers also don’t have video conferencing," noted JS Group's Janet Schijns. "That’s a big reason why there’s so much demand for video conferencing, because … partners haven’t truly adopted digital technologies in their own business.”

We also caught up with UC providers 8x8, Evolve IP, Zoom Video Communications and Avaya for their insight into the rapidly increasing demand.
Telarus' Taylor Klevins
#6 — Images: Avant's 'HQ-2'

Master agent Avant opened its second headquarters (the first being in Chicago) in Dallas, celebrating it with a grand opening. Channel Partners was there to take some pics of the new 6,000 square-foot building, including the obligatory ribbon-cutting.

Avant says the million-dollar, 18-month initiative underscores its commitment to enabling technology sales throughout North America and beyond.
iBoss personnel
#5 — Masters Respond to COVID-19

The coronavirus pops up again here, as our story on master agents' response to the pandemic proved to be one of our most-read of the month.

We caught up with execs from Intelisys, PlanetOne, TCG and Telarus to learn how they, their suppliers and agents have lived and worked over the past month. We learned about the resilience of the channel during these difficult times.

And due to popular demand, this week we followed that up with interviews featuring more masters including Avant, iTelecom, TBI and AppSmart.
Granite personnel
#4 — AT&T Layoffs

Our article on layoffs at AT&T keeps on humming along. Published on Jan. 3, it was still one of our most-read stories in March.

Word was that thousands of AT&T employees would be hunting for new jobs after being assigned to train their own foreign replacements. Many of the workers have been with AT&T for more than a decade, but won’t be getting severance or early retirement, and may not easily find a comparable job elsewhere with similar pay, an Axios report said.

The carrier didn't confirm an exact number, but a spokesman told Channel Partners “we are continuously working to make our operations more efficient."
Granite personnel
#3 — Contact Centers Boom

The contact-center software market is exploding, and partners are on the front lines to take advantage of the opportunity.

We reported that the global market is set to exceed $72 billion by 2027 — a compound annual growth rate of 20%. 

Of course, you were also interested to see which companies Grand View Research considered to be major players in contact-center software.
Titus' Mike Gomes
#2 — Telecom-IT Layoff Tracker

Our semiannual layoff tracker was once again a draw as you flocked to see which of the telecommunications and IT giants have laid off significant portions of their workforces over the past few months — most of them before COVID-19 hit.

Our wrap included cuts at CenturyLink, VMware, AT&T, Cisco and more. Get caught up.
Titus' Mike Gomes
#1 — Frontier Bankruptcy Imminent

It's the second article from January to make our countdown from March, but this is an ongoing story that is expected to break even bigger news soon.

We told you on Jan. 23 how bankruptcy was likely the "only way out" for Frontier Communications, at least according to Omdia analyst Mike Sapien.

Saddled with a $17.5 billion debt load, Bloomberg reported that Frontier was asking creditors to help craft a turnaround deal. That deal would include filing for bankruptcy in mid-March. While that timeline got pushed back a bit, it doesn't sound like it's too far away. We wrote on April 1 about Frontier's new restructuring plan that includes filing for chapter 11 later this month, cutting its debt by $11 billion and swapping all unsecured notes for equity.

Stay tuned.

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