Blog Post

How to select from telecoms companies in the UK?

Selecting from the multitude of UK telecoms companies is certainly a challenge when you consider the market is split between the major telcos with their own infrastructure and VARs (Value Added Resellers).

We occupy a unique position, both from the perspective of a channel service provider via BT Business and a supplier of BT Business connectivity, cloud and security products. With the above in mind, I’ve written this blog post from the perspective of a reader looking to join a telecoms reseller programme AND/OR an IT team with a need to buy telecoms services. We’ll include a list of the major service providers in the UK and offer our ability to support your needs via our Premier status BT Partnership.

If you consider the general experience of telecoms supply is one of customer dissatisfaction (when we talk to new prospects). We exist in one of those sectors where there are a number of moving components that are often difficult to control. Are we always doomed to failure? No but if the risk of delay and issues is high, the industry needs to better set customer and partner expectations. There is certainly a desire from IT teams and SME business to select UK partners with an ability to deliver but also to share complete transparency when problems occur. The question is, are you willing to deviate from the well-trodden path of the large telco or would you consider a smaller more niche provider? There is a middle ground where we exist as a smaller niche provider with a major telco partnership (BT Business). Sometimes we need to forget features and benefits and focus on the less tangible areas.


 

If your interest is in finding a reseller programme, the first consideration is whether your company is looking to white label products (Wholesale) or receive commissions. With any Wholesale relationship, you will need to consider whether or not you wish to cover every aspect of your sale including billing, support and the actual contract. If owning the contract is not of interest, receiving commissions is a simpler route to quicker revenues. With any partnership, any supplier must offer good governance and process. One of the reasons we decided to go all in with BT surrounded their well-resourced team across the reseller channel.

The majority of channel providers did not offer the same level of focus and resource when compared to BT Business and Wholesale. While issues still occur, we are supported in the right way to get problems fixed in a timely manor. When buying telecoms services, the same kind of rules apply. While the sale is fundamentally different, your business will need to know the same governance exists across your contractual relationship. How your business is supported either as a reseller or customer forms the basis of your everyday experience. The complexity of telecoms is actually reducing in many respects (from the perspective of a user) but the need for performance and uptime as a constant is now critical to success.

What to consider when buying Broadband, MPLS, VPLS and Ethernet Leased Line services?

An often overlooked aspect of procuring telecoms services is the core infrastructure of your provider. Tier 1 telcos provide well-engineered core networks with scaled multiple Gbps highly resilient core technology. As you would expect, BT Wholesale & Global Services are the main provider for our products but readers should review the infrastructure of any telecoms companies where their core may not be as well scaled. Across all products from Broadband to Ethernet, the overall performance of your service will be impacted if the provider's network is congested or not optimised for resilience and diversity.

What to consider when buying SIP and Cloud Voice?

SIP and Cloud Voice perform optimally when provisioned across good low latency, low jitter Internet connectivity. As previously discussed, the application (SIP, Cloud Voice or otherwise) will normally require 100k per call to perform with the best possible quality. Depending on where your users are connecting from, the technology should sense network conditions to help the user where less than optimal networking conditions occur. The migration from traditional telephony services such as ISDN must be carefully considered and project managed. The basics include porting of numbers, ensuring your Internet connection is able to support concurrent calls (typically 100k per user depending on CODEC as mentioned) and mapping your current features to the SIP or Cloud Voice capability. As discussed, when buying telecoms services which rely on network performance, the most optimum result occurs when traffic is sent across a large single IP backbone, i.e. a large ISP that peers with most other smaller ISP companies.Telecoms Companies Visio-1

What about Cloud access and security?

Selecting your UK telecoms provider today is about product capability across three disciplines:

  • Connectivity - Broadband, Ethernet, 3G/4G/5G
  • Cloud product access
  • Security / Firewall
In general, any supplier you select will need to support the actual connectivity but also cloud access and security. With regards to the Cloud, the most popular basic services include voice, video conferencing, backup, storage and CRM (Customer Relationship Management). As a general rule, your connectivity must be well scaled with high uptime to support your Cloud providers access. The majority of providers will not support every Cloud requirement your business might have and therefore your focus should be on procuring the best possible service on each element.

 

Who are the major telecoms companies in the UK?

  • BT Business and Retail (Consumer)
  • BT Wholesale
  • Virgin
  • TalkTalk
  • COLT
  • Kingston

How to select a telecoms company to partner with?

The telecoms channel offers two clear options across commission based sales and white label via Wholesale. With Wholesale, the contractual agreement is owned between your business and the end customer. The margins are controllable but you’ll be expected to invoice and support the client. * Network Union offer a tiered service where we are positioned to offer billing and support capability if required. Commission based sales are simpler as the channel telco (in our case BT Business) own the relationship, bill and support the client. The actual end revenue (commission) is paid up front as a percentage of the contract. When compared to wholesale, commission based selling offers a faster, simpler route to market.

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