Nortel resellers will get access to the Enterprise Edge product, but only because distributors with pan-European agreements will bring it into the UK. BT remains Nortel's preferred supplier.
Resellers promoting the product, however, will have to buy installation and maintenance services from distributors until they are certified to install the products themselves, and it is the distributors who are in charge of handing out those certifications.
Steve Jenkins, vice president of business development and channels at Nortel, said he had discussed this potential conflict with distributors. He conceded that by certifying resellers, distributors may lose out on service revenue, but said he is confident that distributors will not sideline reseller training and certification.
"Distributors will have to pay for certification and the right to offer training. They will want that money back," he said.
Marco Parmegiani, product manager at Nortel reseller GK Tricom, said that resellers will prefer to install and support this product themselves. Anixter, Azlan and Landis have a European distribution agreement for its Business Series products, which were launched last week.
The situation where Business Series products enter the UK only via pan-European distributors is likely to continue until at least the end of the summer, Jenkins added.
According to channel sources, Nortel's distribution agreement with BT for its customer premise voice switching products is up for renewal in November. One Nortel reseller said: "Nortel may be free to sell its voice products elsewhere, but it is also free to cut its own throat."
Observers said Lucent wants BT to start selling its voice products.
First published in Computer Reseller News
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