On 19 May, BT Wholesale explained what it is doing to help partners maximize the growing capabilities of connectivity, voice/unified communications, mobile communications and professional services at a BT Wholesale Partner Plus event at the BT Tower.
Featuring guest speaker Chris Akabusi MBE, who spoke about the importance of teamwork and mentorship in his athletics career, Partner Plus LIVE coincided with BT Group’s wider push to position BT as its flagship business brand.
As part of this process, BT Enterprise, which includes BT Wholesale, has drawn up an Enterprise Charter for its 1.2 million UK business and public sector customers, based on four key promises: to lead the way in innovation; to be trusted experts; to make it easier to do business with them; and put “purpose” (ie ESG) at the heart of its business.
The new charter (see box) was announced at the launch of the ‘Aurora’ R&D exhibition at BT Group’s new London headquarters, highlighting innovative solutions including 5G, IoT, robotics and AI, and the launch of a multimillion-dollar UK TV and an out-of-home advertising campaign featuring the banner “BT
It means business.
Partner Plus LIVE gave BT Wholesale Channel Sales Director Gavin Jones the opportunity to address these initiatives through the lens of the BT Wholesale Partner Program launched last year to develop closer relationships with partners through improved and more focused support on offerings, not just products connected for increased automation through API integrations.
Jones pointed out that as well as investing millions of pounds in the products and services delivered by BT Wholesale, BT Group itself is creating opportunities for new products and services through the deployment of full fiber (it now runs through 7 million UK homes with fiber and runs through an additional 27,000 homes each month), technological innovation and transition to an all-IP world, with ISDN shutdown imminent (15 months to shutdown and 42 months to shutdown).
He said: “In the first quarter of this year, 52% of our broadband orders were SOGEA or FTTP, ie the new options. I thought that was the turning point. In quarter 4 (2021) it was 42% and in quarter 3 it was 38%. The fact that it grew 25% quarter on quarter and is now the predominant service is a message to all of us. The future is here.”
He added that switching off the PSTN in 2025 would save BT £1bn by removing the need for 5,000 or 6,000 BT exchanges in UK towns and cities, so distributors should be in no doubt that it will happened.
“This is a massive program and the message I want to send is that you have to be at the top; you don’t want to be one of the laggards. Be prepared and be ready,” he said.
The perfect guide
Bruce Welland, head of media, planning and execution, Gavin Murphy, Sarah Tomlinson and Wing-Yi Lo from the proposition team and Christopher Welbelow DL, senior partner marketing consultant, then outlined some of the ways in which BT Wholesale helps partners to make the most of this opportunity.
Comparing BT’s role to that of a guide on Mount Everest, Welland said: “In a world of quantum networks and small business advantage and security, what everyone needs is a partner who is a guide. If you were brave enough to climb Mount Everest, what kind of guide would you want to be? They must be experienced;
you don’t want to be led by a newbie. They need to keep things simple – you do
I don’t want to be fooled by a lot of complexities. You want this guide to explain very simply how you will get to the top. You want this guide to understand all the technology you’ll be using to get to the top – ropes, carabiners, etc. – and know if there is anything new that will protect you. The final point is that you want this guide to be attentive to the mountain and the world around them. Those are the four core elements of what leadership is and where we’re taking the brand.”
All of this, he suggests, is encapsulated in the BT Means Business message and the company’s new advertising campaign. This includes advertising for BT’s Digital Marketing Hub, which brings together customers’ digital marketing activity on social media into one platform and enables them to optimize spend across channels. An example, Welland added, of BT Wholesale’s expansion into new product areas and new partner opportunities.
Expanding the portfolio
Gavin Murphy, head of proposition, highlighted how BT Wholesale is well-positioned to capitalize on key partner growth areas, including broadband and broadband connectivity (cited by 63% of respondents to a 2021 Omdia/BT Insight survey ), ahead of professional and technical services (59%), voice communications and collaboration (54%), IoT (54%), mobile devices (50%), cybersecurity (45%), remote connectivity and content distribution (43%) , cloud and data center edge (43%) and devices and hardware (41%).
Examples of how BT Wholesale is tackling these areas include last year’s launch of Broadband One, which Murphy says will soon be enhanced in an industry-first partnership with Openreach, which will allow a BT engineer to deploy cable that may be needed for completing a full fiber build rather than having to leave and come back at a later date plus the ability to upgrade FTTP on the day so if someone has a problem with their copper lines they can be upgraded to fiber optic network rather than spending time repairing a legacy service.
Also last year, BT Wholesale launched the WHC Express digital phone line for small businesses, providing a full range of hosted voice products for all customers, from a single user to several hundred users, which it now supercharges with a new Cisco Webex portal and collaboration and Teams Direct Connect , which allows users to make phone calls from within Teams.
Making life easier for partners, BT Wholesale invests in its partner
hub, providing users with a one-stop shop for All-IP/WHC/Broadband One training and marketing materials and, soon, the ability to place orders directly. In early fall, the Best of Both Digital Experience launched, bringing Broadband One and WHC Express into a single ordering trip at the Partner Center. On the All-IP front, DIA (Direct Internet Access) Plus will give partners a more transactional experience when ordering SD-WAN and hybrid networks needed to support growing cloud and IoT bandwidth demands.
Another key focus for the proposition team is BT Wholesale’s portfolio of white-label transformation services, professional services and managed services, including portfolio research and analysis, solution design, service setup and installation, service migration, number porting and managed decommissioning.
In addition to new products and services, BT Wholesale continues to assist Partner Plus partners with their sales and marketing. It enables partners to use the BT Wholesale brand in their marketing for the first time and provides a series of ‘campaigns in a box’ which bring together relevant sales and marketing materials. It has also introduced a free-to-use image library and a new learning platform, and recently launched its first incentive, Partner Plus, with 25 nights for two at a luxury retreat in Sussex.
These are just a few of the recent and upcoming developments cited by the BT Wholesale team. To find out more about the benefits of partnering with BT Wholesale, please visit
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BT’s new Charter includes a number of commitments to corporate customers and partners. They include:
Investing almost £100m over next three years in BT’s ‘Division X’ to accelerate the development of customer solutions that integrate emerging technologies such as 5G, IoT, Edge Compute, Cloud and AI. These new solutions will transform and modernize key industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, port operations, transport and logistics, driving positive business outcomes and fueling the UK economy.
Deploying sophisticated cyber defense and assessment tools not currently offered by other network providers in the UK, starting with the Safe Security cyber health checker, which is available today to larger enterprise and public sector customers in the UK and will be made available in due course to smaller clients. n
Developing inclusive technologies to increase broadband speeds for small businesses not yet served by fiber optic broadband. BT is to launch the UK’s first service to bundle fixed and 4G speeds together to boost broadband speeds for thousands of small businesses currently using copper lines.
Providing the fastest installation and repair times in the industry for ultrafast business (or Ethernet) connections that underpin the operations of medium to large corporations and public sector bodies.
Creation of a new partner network for small businesses, giving customers access to exclusive offers on broadband, mobile, digital marketing and connected devices, plus other benefits, with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) confirmed as BT’s first partner.
Pioneers in a new suite of intelligent business tools which combine the best of BT and EE to make it easier for small businesses to run and grow their business. This new portfolio will build on the recent launch of BT’s Digital Marketing Hub, a new end-to-end advertising platform giving small businesses all the tools and support they need to reach millions of potential new customers.
It’s ramping up its free digital skills program to reach an additional 350,000 small businesses and their employees by the end of March 2023.
Accelerating sustainable initiatives to support Net Zero customer journeys, including removing all single-use plastics and using recycled materials for new packaging and devices on BT business products by the end of March 2023.