Telstra and 3Com have overcome a raft of logistical hurdles to launch an Internet bundle for small business.
The companies last week announced a drive to recruit around 1000 approved resellers to sell integrated digital Internet solutions based on Telstra's OnRamp ISDN connections and Big Pond Business ISDN access with 3Com modems and routers.
The market is potentially worth up to $10 million in revenues, providing resellers with the opportunity for margins on bundled products, connections and access, Telstra and 3Com report.
However, this announcement and the current reseller recruitment drive and national roadshow is taking place two months later than expected.
ARN first reported news of the deal early this year (January 27, page 1), when it was expected the partners would begin the program in March.
Rita Arrigo, Telstra's channel program manager, Internet and data services, explained that one of the concerns for Telstra was to avoid a showdown with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC).
Telstra was aware the ACCC would not allow it to exclusively recommend a hardware vendor to the reseller channel, Arrigo said.
Telstra's legal advice agreed building a combined Telstra/3Com channel will avoid any threat of legal disputes.
Gerhard Rumpff, 3Com Australia's managing director, summed up the deal: "This will only work if we create a distinctive partner channel."
Andy Hurt, 3Com's new SME director, attributed the delay to the diffi-culty of combining the two Telstra Internet offerings with 3Com hardware as a single bundle from sole distributor Tech Pacific.
"We assumed at the beginning it would be easier than it was," he said.
Telstra also had to convince its sales force it should pass on leads to the channel, Arrigo added.
"We wanted to make it seamless for the reseller," she said. "It was a big change [for Telstra sales staff]."
Meanwhile, Arrigo said resellers are free to unbundle the offering for customers and order different hardware.
But this action would remove the simplicity of selling a bundled offering, and she added 3Com was selected as the most SME-savvy vendor.