Some thoughts and advice on applying / access to BT Wholesale.
Where a company is looking to partner with BT, either via Wholesale or as an agency, there are a number of options.
Before we discuss the BT Wholesale application process, readers should note that there is a further option should you wish to simplify access to the BT portfolio. Outside of Wholesale, becoming a Partner or Reseller is the simplest option as BT own the contract, support and bill the client, your business is paid commissions based on sale performed. When you join as a Partner, you are provided with a unique Reseller ID to track orders and commissions resulting in a very simple sales process where your role is to account manage the business.
Where your requirement is to own the contract, Wholesale is the only option.We'll cover off the easier agency model first.
Accessing Wholesale vs an the Partner Sales agency model?
Applications to BT Partner Sales are evaluated based on turnover and your ability to sell across the portfolio and meet volume targets.
BT Wholesale is similar in many respects (in terms of evaluation) but the application process is slower (approx 3 months) and there is more focus on your ability to support end clients / your financial stability as an organisation.
Accessing BT Wholesale?
Setting up as a Wholesale partner of BT requires some thoughts on achieving volume business. Once you’ve decided on achievable volumes (this would be discussed with BTW), you would also need to understand how your business would support and bill the client. Again, the application process is approximately three months.
The way forward for your organisation thinking about access to Wholesale products is to consider your potential volume and how you are structured to support services. In the first instance, with any BT relationship, you’ll be expected to grow business.
If your business is not structured to sell ongoing connectivity products or you simply do not wish to take on targets, the option is to buy from an existing BT Wholesale partner. You’ll also be expected to invoice the client which will require access to billing capability and resources internally to support this activity.
Depending on the complexity and size of your opportunity, project management will also need to liaise with the customer to inform them of delivery dates and milestones. Again, low volume, small opportunities are easy enough to progress but as your business grows, consider the impact on your resources.
What else is there to consider?
An often overlooked area of accessing Wholesale connectivity is risk associated with delivering services. As contracts are directly between your business and the Wholesale provider or intermediary, the liability for non-payment sits with your organisation. In some instances, such as smaller opportunities which involve the sale of low revenue products, this is less of a concern but where large networks or high-value circuits are concerned, the risk is a serious point to factor into any decisions regarding pursuing Wholesale vs the BT Partner Sales agency model.
In respect of your application to access BT Wholesale as a Partner, your application will be considered on the basis of the above points. As we have mentioned, the typical application to Wholesale takes a little time but clearly, each case is different depending on the structure and nature of your business.
If the options listed at the beginning of this article are not suitable and your business is looking to access BT Wholesale or BT Partner Sales, there are some alternative options via engagement with a Partner/Wholesale provider. In all scenarios, BT MPLS, VPLS, Ethernet, Leased Lines, BT Cloud Voice, Copper/Fibre Broadband are available.
Become a Supplier for BT (formally BT Reseller)
The alternative to becoming a Partner is to join as a Supplier for BT. As a Supplier, you’ll sub-partner with an existing Authorised/Premier Partner and place orders via their existing relationship. As a guide, joining an existing Partner will allow you to avoid the volume targets, you’ll be able to dip in and out of the product set as required. Plus, you’ll receive the support and existing well-defined processes. (Your partner mileage may vary)
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we might help your business leverage the BT portfolio but in the interest of transparency, there is a list of partners available on our website.
Access BT Wholesale via an existing relationship
The access, via an existing wholesaler, should be structured to support various requirements from wires only connectivity to managed services across access products such as lines/broadband through to BT Cloud Voice and Global Ethernet services.
There are multiple routes to Wholesale connectivity including aggregators which facilitate access to multiple Wholesale providers. While this option clearly provides an insight into the lowest cost pricing for a given location, the product knowledge is often diluted as the aggregator struggles to maintain their product expertise across all providers.
Perhaps the final and long-term decision to make is whether you create your own Wholesale network aggregation points or you access off the shelf Wholesale products. As an example, a few years ago, the only option with BT was to buy in central pipes (their product name) which allowed you to deliver Broadband services via layer 2 tunnelling into your data centre/hosting facility. The challenge in this scenario was to build enough of a customer base to off-set the aggregation pipes.
Creating aggregation points of presences is still a viable and great option for companies looking to build out their own network connectivity products with a view to owning the end to end connectivity. Today, BT Wholesale allow simpler access with products that do not require central pipe access. Clearly, there is a monetary implication since building your own infrastructure will ultimately allow your business to better control the commercials but this also depends on your ability to fill the pipes with traffic.
We’re happy to discuss any of the elements outlined in this article.