INGRAM Micro says the reaction to Vodafone’s entry into the IT channel has been huge.
Kurt Stunzner, Vodafone business manager at Ingram, says he is getting a sore arm from signing contracts.
“So far 120 resellers have signed but that figure is changing daily — at this stage I have another 200 outstanding,” he says.
Stunzner has been impressed with Vodafone’s willingness to listen to the channel and says the sale of data services represents a new opportunity for resellers.
“It’s the first time Ingram has been able to go out to resellers with a new reve-
nue stream. Vodafone is moving into a new market but is doing it without the usual telco arrogance.”
For its part Vodafone is determined to create a level playing field for all its partners.
Phil Patel, Vodafone director of business markets, says there is no room for egos in the VAR line-up.
“It’s about bringing together the IT industry, VARs and Vodafone to show channel partners what sort of applications can be added to their portfolio,” he says.
So far the line-up includes platform vendors such as RIM, SAP and Microsoft working alongside device manufacturers including Nokia, I-mate and Motorola.
Other partners include vehicle-tracking specialists Minorplanet and Atrac to those working in the mobile workforce field, such as Orbiz, Blackbay and Aangel.
Patel describes Microsoft’s Windows 5.0 software as the perfect solution for small to medium businesses because so many operate on a Microsoft platform anyway.
“A lot of people talk about convergence and it’s important for our partners to see what’s possible. This is the start of a whole range of products that blur the line between a PC and mobile phone.”
Patel says the response so far has been amazing and he believes the chance to resell Vodafone’s data services and partner applications represents a great opportunity for new revenue. “This business is fundamental to Vodafone’s future success and it can’t afford to fail. Vodafone prefers operating through partners and this fills in the gap of delivering product to market.”
Hamish Switalla, Vodafone sales and marketing manager, admits his company is still learning when it comes to the channel and expects the programme will have to adapt over time. Switalla says it has been a pleasure to work with Ingram Micro because of the distributor’s experience in the channel.