BT Indirect Channels (BTIC) has given VARs a shot in the arm with the announcement that it will sell its wireless local area network 'hotspot in a box' exclusively through resellers.
VARs will be able to sell a £399.99 package containing a wireless router, cabling, point-of-sale merchandising and software to users with broadband.
Airtime vouchers and subscriptions for end-user firms will also go through BTIC resellers.
Chris Jagusz, BTIC's head of business development, said while BT would sell vouchers and subscriptions direct, there were no plans to sell access point packages. "It is the first channel-only product we have offered," he said. "It is a low-risk proposition."
Tony Crabtree, principal analyst at Juniper Research, said the channel has historically been neglected in the public hotspot market.
Rollouts have been slowed by a lack of client equipment, mainstream players and roaming or peering agreements, but all of these are increasing, Crabtree said.
"There has been noise surrounding public hotspots as the next dotcom hype," he said. "The cost base of it is so small, it's almost a no-brainer. However, there is one issue: a lot of locations will not be profitable."
BT is not the first firm to offer VARs a wireless hotspot service.
Norwood Adam recently launched Kooku, a joint venture with systems integrator Chronos technology.
Manny Pinon, sales and marketing director at Norwood Adam, said his firm would sell both Kooko and BTIC's products.
"The offerings are different. We can be more flexible with Kooku; it's more of a custom solution," he said. On the other hand, he added, BT's offering could quickly build a large footprint for the service.
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