BT 2Q, 1H and Channel Comment

With perfect symmetry BT has reported almost identical revenues for their second quarter as their first – sales are up 5% – or as some wag said ‘five times the increase C&W achieved earlier this week.’

It won’t be long now until the analysts start talking about inflection points again – this time the date on which BT’s new wave revenues pass their traditional minutes business. My guess, for what it is worth, would be Q3 2007.

Broadband is at last starting to go really well for BT – end users of 6.2 million at September 30, 2005, up 89 per cent.

The big issue for Comms Business Magazine readers however is what is happening channel and here readers could be excused for wondering what has happened to BTIC? Since the summer announcement that BTIC was being folded in to the domain of Mark Cornell, Director of Partner Management, BT Business who had to that point been looking after the BT local business ‘franchises’ very little news has been forthcoming.

BTIC reseller RHM told us that it all ‘gone a little quiet’ from BT but that they were confident that normal service would be resumed shortly. It was against that backdrop that Comms Business Magazine received a call from Mr Cornell to tell us about his plans.

Long time servers of the channel can be very cynical – after all this is the fifth BT channel boss I had spoken to in as many years. What’s he going to do? More channel people for a start; over seventy new front line sales and support posts are being added. It sounds good and I am sure it is but are these new posts going to be sales people selling resellers what BT wants to sell them or are they going to listen to what the channel wants. The BTIC marketing team meanwhile has been removed from the mix and put in to a central resource. I would guess that would be further away from the channel coal face.

Meanwhile, and Cornell confirmed as much, the financial targets will keep rising. As Ian Livingstone, head of BT Retail, said earlier this year at the channel partner conference, no excuses will be accepted for missing them.

The trouble is that many resellers could be excused for asking ‘What is going on?” following the announcement last week that BT has bought reseller TNS. Are they going to have to compete with BT for business?

As ever, with any reorganisation, the proof will be in the pudding and Cornell is serving up a dish that will improve reseller support as BT transitions towards that New Wave inflection point.