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Master Agent Benefits to Come Out of Brightstar/Tech Data Agreement

May 04, 2011





There is a market explosion taking place in the mobile world as devices, applications and services are creating demand among the user sect – and vice versa. As a result, solution providers, distributors, manufacturers and more are seeking out ways to get in on the action and drive revenue of their own. 

This recent CRN report recently highlighted a venture between Brightstar (News - Alert) and Tech Data, one in which Tech Data hopes to position itself as a bigger piece of the channel-led mobility sale, offering both the end device and the service. This venture will benefit the master agent in the larger market.

The master agent stands to gain considerable opportunities in the broader market, especially as Tech Data (News - Alert) has unveiled the ActivateIT. This joint venture with Brightstar provides a platform for Tech Data to serve as a go-between for VARs wanting to sell mobile devices and the telecom service to activate them.

TDMobility is the new service, and will be delivered as a platform-as-a-service. This platform will enable solution providers to purchase carrier service as if they would a SKU-ed mobile device from the distributor. As a result, the VAR and master agents can sell the mobile devices to end customers, while adding the last mile of connectivity but leaving the carrier hassle to Tech Data and Brightstar.

ActivateIT actually serves as the master agent in the deal that is based in the U.S. and leverages OTBT, a wireless solution provider Brightstar acquired in 2010. OTBT was previously a single-source outlet for wireless devices, activation services and software.

According to Greg Parsonson, Tech Data’s vice president of corporate development, the company will “SKU-it-ize” activation to a reseller. This has been challenging work for them to directly interact with carriers and it prevents them from wanting to be a full activation platform for their customers. 

VARs and master agents will continue to look at carrier services – as well as the carrier agent model – with a fresh approach. One problem, according to Parsonson, is that many solution providers are discouraged by carrier commission payments that can sometimes take months to arrive. ActivateIT, as the master agent, plans to tackle this problem. 

Solution providers will have the ability to use TDMobility in a number of different ways, such as selling both products and services through a customized portal provided by Tech Data through private-label delivery. The end users would then have access to its hardware, voice and data plans, and the ability to manage them within the master agent ActivateIT-provided, VAR-sold portal.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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