Chess has signed its eleventh acquisition of the past 18 months and is transforming itself into a hybrid reseller/distribution company.
The comms VAR acquired Gemini Telecom last week, which will form the Chess Wholesale division, and become a virtual network operator and internet service provider for voice and data network resellers.
Chess hopes to attract SME resellers working in Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems, and to aid in disaster recovery situations.
David Pollock, chief executive at Chess, told CRN: “The launch of Chess Wholesale further strengthens Chess’s offering and consolidates its position within the telecommunications marketplace.”
Gemini’s managing director, Neil Cooling, will stay on to head-up Chess Wholesale, and said the addition of another firm and division to Chess will enable the VAR to work mainly with SME resellers on a wider range of network products and services.
Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at analyst firm EuroLAN, said the division could benefit the channel, but only if it can match the expectations of resellers.
“Chess’ offer to the channel allowing VARs to resell its services is a good one, but Chess needs to be aware that most resellers will prefer a lump sum reward for signing up customers rather than the annuity drop feed model,” he said.
Chess has also underlined the importance of its relationship with telephony vendor Mitel. Chess recently became a gold partner for Mitel and Pollock said, coupled with its acquisition strategy, it can now provide customers with single IP based communications platforms.
Previous acquisitions have included telecom VAR Datatel (CRN, 25 July) and Last Word Communications (CRN, 6 December 2004). Chess used an acquisition to form a new division earlier in the year when it snapped up Hoodpoint Communications (CRN, 7 March), which was renamed Chess Network Solutions, adding broadband, data and VoIP ranges.
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