Despite what AT&T and Verizon would like you to believe, there are many excellent voice and data service providers that can service your business nationwide. Read this guide to know your carrier options and have a smooth telecom procurement process.
CenturyLink, Sprint and Level 3 have excellent networks and are hungry for your business. Now that Level 3 has acquired Global Crossings, they have become a global provider.
The beginning of the telecom procurement process is the perfect time to engage a telecom consultant or agency. An independent consultant or agent has experience with a number of different providers and can help you make the best choice, pit companies against each other (to secure the best pricing and terms), and push and do battle with them (if necessary), so you don’t have to.
As mentioned in a previous installment, one of the methods suggested to build leverage is to move some of your business. Another caution was to minimize your commitments. If you’re limiting your business to two providers, how is that an effective strategy to minimize commitments and establish leverage?
In every region of the country there is an incumbent provider (AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink), national competitive local exchange carriers (XO, TW Telecom, Paetec), regional players (Integra, Telepacific, One Communications), local cable companies (Cox, Time Warner, Comcast), resellers (Airespring, Bullseye, Nitel), POTS aggregators (Granite, Ernest), VoIP providers (MegaPath, CBeyond, Broadview), hosted VoIP providers (Telesphere, OnSIP, 8×8, Alteva), bandwidth providers (Cogent) and wireless providers (Airband).
A telecom agent can help guide you through the maze of options and take on the role of your customer advocate. The incumbents might offer the most complete suite of services but they act like incumbents; they don’t always seem too eager for your business or to solve your customer issues. Their competitors are hungry for your business and can move more quickly.
Converged services, or VoIP, have helped to level the playing field. Smaller companies can better compete with the large incumbents. Incumbents are slower to adopt new technologies and sometimes their initial pricing is less than competitive. The main take away is that there are many options and experts available to guide you through them.
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