AT&T has demonstrated its commitment to its indirect sales channels with recent developments to its Partner Exchange. Additions to the Partner Exchange API, Ethernet, and Internet of Things (IoT) portfolios have added features and functions that enable partners to create new propositions more easily. By creating these more sophisticated wholesale propositions, AT&T has the opportunity to maximize its IoT and next-generation revenue, complementing its direct sales channels more effectively.
Partner Exchange shows the way for third-party enablement
A conclusion from Ovum's series of Digital Economy: 2025 reports is that no single CSP can meet the requirements of all types of customers across all services; developing more effective wholesale businesses is essential to maximize future revenue and margin. However, many CSPs globally remain blinkered in their approach to new services and concentrate almost entirely on retail solutions, but AT&T is showing a surprising willingness to embrace the wholesale side of its business.
AT&T's Partner Exchange is developing into an attractive proposition for just the kind of third-party enablement that needs to become mainstream for CSPs. New propositions for APIs, Ethernet, and IoT all reflect AT&T's attempts to improve access to new capabilities, speed to quote, and time to delivery. That many of the developments address the operational practicalities that often let wholesalers down demonstrates that the Partner Exchange has gone well beyond lip service and is intent on delivering to its channel.
A new internet access direct consumption API is to be added to the API platform. This will enable wholesale customers to check service availability for AT&T's internet access and generate quotes in near real time and embed those capabilities in their own sales tools. Similarly, service availability and quotes for new Ethernet capabilities will be accessible through the Partner Exchange Portal, while the Partner Exchange's approach to IoT is one of sharing AT&T's IoT expertise with its channel partners.
AT&T has a well-established and substantial IoT division (see "AT&T Summit 2016: IoT strategy goes multi-network, secure, and vertical") but launched its IoT platform to its Partner Exchange customers in March 2016. The additions include practical guides and a starter kit with vertical options and prototyping to help wholesale customers enter the attractive but often daunting IoT market.
AT&T's attempts to monetize third-party-enabling capabilities has not been entirely smooth. The American giant launched its API platform at the beginning of 2012 and relaunched it in September 2014. However, slow take-up was as much a reflection of market maturity as it was on AT&T's proposition. Ovum believes the market is now ready and is not surprised that AT&T reported a 40% increase in usage of its API platform since 1Q16.
"AT&T Summit 2016: IoT strategy goes multi-network, secure, and vertical," TE0019-000022 (November 2016)
Catherine Haslam, Senior Analyst, Telecoms Wholesale