I met with Telefónica along with some other media analysts at ITEXPO just a few moments ago. At ITEXPO Telefónica is announcing they are launching a channel partner program. Telefónica has a very strong presence in South America and Europe, but now they want to come to the U.S. market. They see Miami as a "gateway" to South America and Europe and have a data center in Miami to act as that bridge between continents.
Telefónica explained that as one of the world's largest carriers they realized they couldn't do it all if they wished to crack into new markets, such as the U.S. and they want to increase brand awareness. They explained that they knew they needed to open their network to ISVs, channel partners, etc. With 6 data centers in South America plus two in Europe (Madrid & Prague) Telefónica is looking to be a global carrier offering cloud-based solutions to channel partners.
What is available for channel partners to sell? They said SIP trunking, MPLS/IP transit, private cloud, public cloud, instant servers, M2M platforms, ability to manage SIM cards leveraging M2M and more. So what's their competitive advantage over say HP, IBM, Amazon, Rackspace, or any other hosted data center?
Well, Telefónica can offer end-to-end SLA due to their network pipes, which includes thousands of miles of undersea cables. Telefónica can offer the end-to-end SLA since they have large network presence in South America and Europe, as well as Miami, U.S. One example they gave was a customer who wants to have virtual machines, with PBX software, plus SIP trunking to their customers. You need a quality network with low latency when dealing with latency-sensitive voice.
Provisioning and renting "instant servers" from a carrier is an interesting concept. Usually I think of Internet companies like Amazon or hosted companies like Rackspace or 1and1.com when I think about hosted computing - not a stodgy carrier like AT&T, Verizon, or in this case Telefónica - that I always looked at as the "provider of dumb pipes" and not applications or hosted computers. Certainly the carriers have an advantage over traditional computer hosting providers since they own the bandwidth pipes and have lower latency.
In any event, Telefónica is currently looking for 25-50 partners. If interested, you should reach out to them and if you're at the ITEXPO show, you can stop by their booth.