BT has denied speculation it will abandon the channel as it unveiled plans to reinvigorate its faltering BT Business arm.
At its Business Experience event last week, the carrier announced a raft of initiatives to move BT Business deeper into the IT services and networking space. The unit, which includes BT’s Indirect Partner Sales arm, saw its turnover drop five per cent year-on-year to about £2.2bn. The unit has seen several years of revenue decline.
However, a number of BT Gold partners have voiced concerns that resellers are peripheral to BT Business’s growth plans. The carrier has yet to renew its partner contracts, which will all end in May 2008.
John Carter, managing director at BT-only distributor DMSL, said: “We have less than a year to run on our contract. I want to know if we’re still on board, as we need to plan for the next three to five years.”
He added that BT’s Business One Plan, a broadband, voice and mobile package for SMEs, is still not available to the channel despite being launched last October.
The head of another large BT reseller, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed: “I am very dismayed at the way BT is treating its channel. You could be forgiven for thinking it plans to cut it altogether.”
However, Phil Purssey, sales director for Indirect Channels at BT, told CRN: “The bottom line is we’re absolutely committed to the channel.”
Purssey stressed resellers would play a pivotal role in delivering BT’s new services portfolio. “This should not be a time for nervousness, but the most exciting time in the channel’s history,” he claimed.
He added that BT is also looking to boost its number of Gold, Silver and Bronze partners above the current 35.
Lee Williams, director network services division at BT distributor Rocom, said: “We’ve had a good year with BT so are confident of getting a new contract period. Partners will only be anxious if they’ve not been performing.”
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