BT Wholesale readies partners for an all-IP future
On May 19, BT Wholesale explained what it is doing to help partners maximise growing opportunities in connectivity, voice/unified communications, mobile comms and professional services at a BT Wholesale Partner Plus event at BT Tower.
Featuring guest speaker Kriss Akabusi MBE, who spoke about the importance of teamwork and mentoring in his athletics career, Partner Plus LIVE coincided with a wider push by BT Group to position BT as its lead business brand.
As part of this process, the BT Enterprise division, which includes BT Wholesale, has produced an Enterprise Charter for its 1.2 million UK business and public sector customers based around four key promises: to lead the way in innovation; to be trusted experts; to be easier to do business with; and to put ‘purpose’ (i.e. ESG) at the heart of its business.
The new charter (see box) was announced at the opening of the ‘Aurora’ R&D showcase at BT Group’s new London HQ, highlighting innovative solutions incorporating 5G, IoT, robotics and AI, and the launch of a multi-million-pound UK TV and out-of-home advertising campaign featuring the strapline ‘BT
Partner Plus LIVE gave BT Wholesale Channel Sales Director Gavin Jones the opportunity to address these initiatives through the prism of the BT Wholesale partner programme launched last year to develop closer ties with partners through enhanced support with a greater focus on propositions rather than just products, allied to increased automation through API integrations.
Jones pointed out as well as investing millions of pounds in the products and services supplied by BT Wholesale, BT Group itself was creating opportunities for new products and services through the roll-out of full fibre (it now passes 7 million homes in the UK with fibre and is going past an additional 27,000 homes each month), technological innovation and the transition to an All-IP world, with the ISDN switch-off imminent (15 months to stop- sell and 42 months to network shut-down).
He said: “In Quarter 1 this year, 52% of our broadband orders were SOGEA or FTTP i.e. the new variants. I thought that was the tipping point. In Quarter 4 (2021), it was 42% and in Quarter 3 it was 38%. The fact that it has grown by 25% in a quarter and that it is the predominant service now is a message for all of us. The future is here.”
He added that turning off the PSTN in 2025 will save BT £1 billion by removing the need for 5,000 or 6,000 BT exchanges in UK towns and cities, so resellers should be in no doubt that it is going to happen.
“It’s a massive programme and the message I want to get out there is you need to be at the front; you don’t want to be one of the laggards. Be prepared and be ready,” he said.
The ideal guide
Next up, Bruce Welland, Head of Media, Planning & Performance, Gavin Murphy, Sarah Tomlinson and Wing-Yee Lo from the propositions team and Christopher Wellbelove DL, Senior Partner Marketing Consultant, outlined some of the ways in which BT Wholesale is helping partners to make the most of this opportunity.
Likening BT’s role to that of a guide on Mount Everest, Welland said: “In a world of quantum networking and the edge and security for small businesses what everyone needs is a partner who is a guide. If you were brave enough to go up Mount Everest, what would you want a guide to be? They must be experienced;
you don’t want to be guided by a novice. They must make things simple – you
don’t want to be bamboozled by lots of complexity. You want that guide to explain very simply how you are going to get to the top. You want that guide to understand all the technology you are going to use to get to the top – the ropes, the carabiner etc. – and to know if there’s anything new that’s going to keep you safer. The last point is you want that guide to be considerate of the mountain and the world around them. Those are the four core elements of what a guide is and where we’re taking the brand.”
All this, he suggests, is encapsulated in the message BT Means Business and the company’s new advertising campaign. This includes an advertisement for BT’s Digital Marketing Hub, which aggregates customers’ digital marketing activity across social media into one platform and lets them optimise spending across different channels. An example, added Welland, of BT Wholesale’s expansion into new product areas and new opportunities for partners.
Gavin Murphy, Head of Propositions, highlighted how BT Wholesale is well positioned to take advantage of key partner growth areas including broadband access and wide area 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 (50%), cybersecurity (45%), remote connectivity and content distribution (43%), datacentre cloud and edge (43%) and devices and hardware (41%).
Examples of how BT Wholesale is addressing these areas include the launch last year of Broadband One, which Murphy says will soon be enhanced in an industry- first partnership with Openreach that will enable a BT engineer to run-in cable that might be needed to complete a full fibre network build, rather than having to go away and return at a later date, plus an on-the-day FTTP upgrade capability, so that if someone has a problem with their copper lines they can be upgraded to fibre instead of spending time repairing a legacy service.
Also last year, BT Wholesale launched the WHC Express digital phone line for small businesses, giving it a complete suite of hosted voice products for all customers, from a single user up to multi- hundreds of users, which it is now super- charging with a new portal and Cisco Webex collaboration and Teams Direct Connect, which lets users make phone calls from Teams.
Making life easier for partners, BT Wholesale has invested in its partner
hub, giving users a single location for All-IP/WHC/Broadband One learning and marketing material and, soon, the ability to place orders directly. In early autumn, it is launching Best of Both Digital Experience, bringing broadband One and WHC Express into a single order journey on the partner hub. 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 bandwidth requirements for cloud and IoT.
Another key focus for the Propositions team is BT Wholesale’s portfolio of white-label transformational services, professional services and managed services including survey and portfolio analysis, solution design, service set-up and installation, service migration, number porting and managed de-commissioning.
In addition to new products and services, BT Wholesale is continuing to help Partner Plus partners with their sales and marketing. It is enabling partners to use the BT Wholesale brand in their marketing for the first time and providing a series of ‘campaigns in a box’ that bring together relevant sales and marketing material. It has also introduced a free to use image library and a new learning platform and recently launched its first Partner Plus incentive, with 25 nights for two in a luxury Sussex retreat up for grabs.
These are just a few of the recent and imminent developments cited by the BT Wholesale team. To find out more about the benefits of partnering with BT Wholesale, please visit
The new BT Charter includes a number of commitments to enterprise customers and partners. These include:
Investing almost £100 million over the next three years in BT’s ‘Division X’ unit to accelerate the development of customer solutions that integrate emerging technologies like 5G, IoT, Edge Compute, Cloud and AI. These new solutions will transform and modernise key industries like manufacturing, health, port operations, transport and logistics, driving positive business outcomes and fuelling the UK economy.
Launching sophisticated cyber defence and assessment tools not currently offered by other UK network providers, starting with the Safe Security cyber health check tool, which is available to larger UK corporate and public sector customers today and will be made available to smaller customers in time. n
Developing inclusive tech to boost broadband speeds for small firms not yet served by fibre broadband. BT will launch the first service in the UK which fuses fixed and 4G speeds together to uplift broadband speeds for thousands of small firms currently using copper lines.
Delivering the fastest installation and repair times in the industry for ultrafast business (or Ethernet) connections underpinning the operations of mid to large corporates and public sector bodies.
Forming a new partnership network for small firms, giving customers access to exclusive offers across broadband, mobile, digital marketing and connected devices, plus other benefits, with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) confirmed as BT’s first launch partner.
Pioneering a new suite of smart business tools that 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 all-in-one advertising platform giving small firms all the tools and support they need to reach millions of potential new customers.
Stepping up its free digital skills programme to reach a further 350,000 small businesses and their employees by the end of March 2023.
Accelerating sustainable initiatives to support customers’ Net Zero journeys, including the removal of all single use plastics and using recycled materials for new BT business product packaging and devices by the end of March 2023.