Opal ‘Disappointment’ at BT Price Hike

Opal, the UK provider of next generation communications technology for business, has given its reaction to BT’s announcement that it is raising its broadband wholesale prices in order to encourage customers to switch to its NGN products.

Reacting to the news Nathan Stenson, Wholesale Channel Director for Opal said: “In these times of economic uncertainty we are disappointed that BT is ignoring difficult trading conditions by putting extra pressure on the channel. Whilst for any business it makes sense to promote newer products over older ones, using price increases to railroad customers is not the right approach. The alternative that BT is offering to the channel -namely its next generation products – are not yet available nationwide leaving channel partners with no choice but to soak up the additional cost and pass this increase to the consumer.

“Opal is working with its partners to build competitive pricing structures during what is going to be a challenging time for us all. This is a cost sensitive market and we should be examining our pricing and the way our products our packaged to create innovative solutions and cost effective solutions for the channel. We’ve recently started to offer our B2B channel partners upfront commission and free broadband bundles at a price competitive with network operators and are scheduled to launch further offerings to the channel shortly.

“For those of us who have spent considerable time building, investing in and communicating about NGN this is very frustrating move by BT which could set back convergence considerably. Our own NGN is now fully ready to support B2B applications but we appreciate that not all of our customers are ready for the change. For the implementation of NGN to be successful there is still much to be done in terms of reassuring both channel partners and their customers about ease of migration, quality of service and effectiveness. Asking channel partners to sell a product that is not yet ready is ludicrous and we think BT’s price rises will only result in short term gain for the company as channel partners start to look elsewhere.”

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