Big Changes at the Big Bell

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Big Changes at the Big Bell

The agent that dragged me into Telecom back in 1999 sold his telecom agency on New Year's Eve. He was a Gold Partner for many years but met with me in November because he saw the writing on the wall. Things were constantly changing behind the wall of the Big Bell, but this time it was going to be disasterous.

2009 marked huge changes with 50 hours of training; separate divisions walled in; and a major push into mobility. And a major shift in commissions to a one-time upfront payment. In 2010, it got worse. 

One of the biggest problems with the Bell program has always the numerous promotions and how they are applied. Most big solution providers for Ma Bell cold call ISP's promising a great rate on Internet bandwidth. What they are really offering is the TWT promotion. There is supposed to be a competitive environment and the carrier the agent is competing against is supposed to be TWT. Well, in quite a few cases I have seen, TWT doesn't even have network in that region. And how do you call with the best promo quote first?

Big Bell is trying to cut out all but the value producing agents. Umm, to do that, your own channel management would have to give a hoot about more than quota. Big Bell in Florida has had the same jack, er, people running the show for years. Want to know how well that has gone recently? Look here. Slamming as an Agent Strategy to scoop commissions. This is exactly the kind of behavior that TCA forbids with membership, since you have to sign the TCA Code of Ethics.  

It's a corporate mentality though. Big Bell has promotions to squash competition; agents who when favored can do no wrong as long as they are bringing in the sales; and lobbyists to insure state and federal agencies are in pocket. The management that looks the other way until someone higher up the food chain says something. Then the agent will be thrown under the bus. And on to the next one. When will all this end?

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