Vodafone has become the latest large mobile operator to leap into the fixed voice and data channel, via its recently signed partnership with Gamma Telecom.
The two firms inked a mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA) wholesale agreement this week, which allows Gamma's channel partners to offer Vodafone mobile services.
Rob Davis, Gamma's senior product manager for mobile, claimed channel partners could swiftly become mobile virtual network operators, a process that could take months if dealing direct with a mobile operator.
"We have worked very hard to make it as easy as possible," he added. "But mobile is a pretty mature market and is becoming increasingly competitive; the most successful partners are those that put the time and investment in."
Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of Gamma distributor Wick Hill (pictured), welcomed the announcement.
"This is a great deal for the channel," he said. "If you look at the world today, there is a predominance of mobility and a huge convergence between mobile and fixed. There are a lot of issues and a lot of opportunities."
Partners can offer white-label packages at a price of their choosing. Davis claimed the integration work already carried out by Vodafone and Gamma would allow smaller channel firms to be more nimble.
"They can offer a one-bill solution. A lot of the bigger guys cannot necessarily do that," he explained. "The real value to [partners] is customer ownership."
Gamma has offered mobile services for the last three years, with 30,000 users already connected to its services.
"It is a key part of what customers look to purchase from our channel partners," said Davis. "This deal with Vodafone will take us to the next stage of growth."
Major mobile carriers, including Orange and O2, are increasingly visible in the IT and fixed voice channels over the past couple of years. Davis predicted the convergence and consolidation of traditionally siloed channels will continue apace.
"The telecoms world has changed very much in the past three years," he said. "Whereas before you had [disparate] fixed, mobile and data operators, now there are lots of people blurring the boundaries."
Tim Stone, Vodafone UK's director of wholesale, welcomed the chance to boost his firm's standing in the fixed voice channel.
"This is a great opportunity for Vodafone to strengthen the portfolios of Gamma partners while expanding our wholesale expertise into the fixed reseller market," he added.
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