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Bell rings Ingram resellers

VARs can now sell some of phone company's Internet servicesrn

Ingram Micro Canada has become the second broadline distributor to offers its VARs the ability to resell Bell Canada Internet and phone services for small and medium businesses.

Under the agreement, Ingram partners in Ontario and Quebec can offer four of Bell’s Business Internet and IP Voice service products, while resellers in all provinces except Saskatchewan and Manitoba can offer Internet wireless service. Bell looks after the connectivity, with the reseller getting a commission.

“These services allow our resellers to provide one-stop shopping to their customers,” said Joe Graci, Ingram Canada’s senior manager of networking, “and allows them (resellers) to get into the growing services market.”

Ingram, Graci noted, has been a provider of hardware to the phone company. Now it is a vendor to the distributor.

The deal is another way in which distributors are getting into managed services.

Earlier this year Bell struck a deal with Synnex Canada for its resellers to offer online and phone service.

One of the earliest Synnex VAR to take advantage of the ability was Dirk Becker, who runs Dirk Becker Consulting of Toronto, a three-person firm that provides services to companies that don’t have full-time IT staff.

He estimates he’s sold about one contract a month since May, including deals for one and three-year’s high-speed service. He’s enthusiastic about the possibilities.

“It allows me to be more than a one-man shop for my clients,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

“I thought it was a great idea. It gives me a way to compete with all the other people selling ISP services, without having to put in the infrastructure to support it.”

Among other advantages, he said, it will make it easier to deal with Bell when a client has a connectivity problem. Some service providers won’t talk to him when he calls trying to solve difficulties with a client because he isn’t the customer, he said. He believes Bell won’t behave this way if his firm arranged the connection.

Through Ingram, Bell is offering five online connectivity services – four versions of high-speed Internet connectivity, one of which has a static IP, plus ADSL – each of which have a choice of annual terms and download speeds.

For example, the wireless Internet Unplugged offering gives customers a choice of download speed of 512 Kps or 3Mbps, with no term, two-year, three-year or five-year contracts.</P.

In all there are 29 products, identical to those sold directly by Bell.

Each product carries a SKU in the Ingram product system. When a customer agrees to be signed up, the reseller creates an online order with appropriate SKU, sends it to Ingram, which forwards it to Bell for installation.

Graci said installation should be finished within five business days in most urban centres.

The resellers’ commission on each contract ranges from $40 to $400 depending on the product and its term, he said.

Resellers, especially those installing or monitoring customers’ networks, can make a pitch for Bell services when dealing with their clients, he said. With higher-speed connectivity they also may be able to upsell or cross-sell other services they offer, Graci said.

“This is about providing our resellers with more choices,” he said. As the SMB market grows “we anticipate this will be a good offering.”