O2 partners have brushed off suggestions that the carrier’s joint venture with IT services outfit 2e2 could leave them out in the cold.
The duo last week unveiled O2 Unify, an outsourced IT and comms joint venture that will combine 2e2’s IT infrastructure and 2e2’s carrier services under a single services model.
O2 Unify will initially have a dedicated headcount of 30 staff – rising to 100 - but the venture will also be backed by O2’s entire 500-strong UK corporate salesforce. It will be headed up by O2’s Paul Osborne.
Talking to CRN, 2e2 business development director Nick Grossman, argued the tie-up is unlikely to put O2’s channel partners’ noses out of joint or rattle 2e2’s other carrier partners.
He said: “O2 has got a number of existing partners to cover various bases. However, they are probably more specialist than the domain we work in, which is offering pretty broad and complex solutions. I think this shouldn’t upset existing O2 resellers, just as it shouldn’t upset existing telcos we work with.”
Azzurri is one of a handful of integrators to have a close partnership with O2 through the carrier’s Centre of Excellence programme.
Martin Flick, director of Mobility and Converged Solutions at Azzurri said the firm had been fully consulted during the process and said the partnership would not impact its relationship with O2.
“O2 has a long history of working in partnership with multiple sales channels, both direct and indirect, in a complementary rather than conflicting way,” he said.
“As O2 moves closer into the world of UC, we expect that methodology to continue.”
John Massey, managing director of O2 partner Actimax, said he did not feel threatened by the move but questioned the timing of a converged UC solution. “I don’t think that kind of product will take off for a year,” he said. “It is a good idea but you can’t get good SLAs on Ethernet at the moment.”
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