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Telia Carrier looks to expand U.S. channel partner roster

The Swedish network services firm plans to tap channel companies, including master agents, to grow name recognition and enterprise accounts in the U.S. market.

Telia Carrier, a network services provider based in Stockholm, is looking to work with large master agents and regional partners in the U.S., targeting enterprise opportunities such as SD-WAN.

The company this week launched a partner program with the goal of raising its profile in the U.S. The channel initiative aims to help partners cross-sell a range of offerings that include internet services, Ethernet, MPLS, a public cloud gateway and SD-WAN services. Telia Carrier earlier this month released a new SD-WAN offering  based on Cisco's Viptela technology.

Rob Pulkownik, head of channel sales at Telia Carrier, said the company recently built out its internal infrastructure to work with partners, creating mechanisms to track orders, pay commissions and avoid channel conflict.

"Now that we have that in place, my plan for this year is to scale up with ... two more of the large masters and then regional [agents], on a more ad hoc basis," he said.

Telia Carrier has master agent agreements in place with AppSmart (formerly WTG), Telarus and other companies.

The channel sales effort represents a shift for Telia Carrier, which has operated primarily a wholesale player, with customers including content providers, carriers, multisystem operators and ISPs. The enterprise sector was much less of a focus. Telia Carrier has staffed eight to 10 salespeople in the U.S. market, while competitors have more than 1,000 salespeople, Pulkownik noted.

We are going to rely on doing a lot of this through the channel.
Rob Pulkownik Head of channel sales, Telia Carrier

"We are not going to ramp up a sales team like that," he said. "We are going to rely on doing a lot of this through the channel."

Features of Telia Carrier's partner program include a self-service portal, which lets agents keep tabs on inventory, usage, trouble tickets, invoices, customer payments and commissions, according to the company.

Telia Carrier aims to roll out an automated deal registration system in the second quarter of this year. At the moment, deal registration is a manual process.

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