Out Servicing The Market

Over the last three or four years Virgin Media Business has become a key player in the network services channel market so when we heard that their Head of Business Partners Jason King was set to give a talk to resellers at the home of their partner Tempura Communications in Basingstoke the date went straight in the diary.

Like many network services resellers Basingstoke based Tempura Communications has a portfolio of services available for their channel partners from key carriers. In Tempura’s case the carriers are Virgin Media Business, Vodafone and Easynet.

Virgin Media, since its acquisition by Liberty Global is now a global player and claim to be the largest international cable company with 25 million customers in 14 countries, most of which are in Europe. A turnover of $18.1 billion and 35,000 employees worldwide makes Virgin a significant player.

Jason King, Virgin Media Business’ Head of Business Partners in the UK says that his firm adds value to channel partners in a number of ways.

“We put customers first with local presence and national service. Our strategy is to ‘out service’ the market and we do this in a number of ways. Our support for channel partners includes technical expertise, co-branding – and the brand is powerful, market development funding and a professional partner program.”

The Virgin brand is not to be underestimated and King has at his disposal to the channel access via an affinity program to all Virgin products and services such as wine, holidays and rock star incentives all at special prices.

King says, “Our network is next generation fibre and we use these resources to drive incremental profitable business in to the channel. Our objective is to help partners move further up the value chain with longer term contracts of higher value by getting closer to our customers (and our customers, customers). Today we are working with a different breed of partner – the solution provider.”

Backing this up in the UK Virgin has invested in a £13 billion nationwide fibre network with 157 switches and 330 Ethernet nodes, which gets them close to the users. The company says that it carries around 35% of the UK broadband traffic and over 40% of the mobile. 60% of the health and emergency services rely on Virgin to keep their networks running 24 hours a day.

The key channel products include an Ethernet portfolio, high capacity services, VPN options, managed internet access and a voice portfolio and Tempura is running a channel sales incentive to win £1000 of Virgin Holiday vouchers.

Tempura also arranged for resellers to hear a presentation from Vodafone who power the TempuraNET Broadband for ADSL, and FTTC DSL connectivity, where Imran Mirza, Business Development Manager for their Fixed Line Partner Group explained to resellers, “Cable&Wireless Worldwide, which THUS Ltd was part of, was acquired by Vodafone in July 2012, bringing two great businesses together and giving us the opportunity to offer world-class fixed-mobile, hosting and IT solutions to customers.
Vodafone by numbers is also impressive; they have a 20,500km UK next generation network, 90 multi service platform (MSP) with more planned, each node is connected to at least two or three other nodes for resiliency. Add to this 950 unbundled exchanges, 65,000 on net locations and planned spend on the network of £1 billion over the next 18 months. The combination of these two leading telecoms brands means we will become one of the UK’s leading business communications companies which will deliver fixed and mobile communications in the UK & internationally.”

Mirza says that by 2015 Vodafone will have 98% of the UK covered with 4G or fixed line services.

“We have UK based support teams dedicated to resellers that are product specific based and clear escalation paths with names and numbers for order management, billing and technical support.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine