A Deeper Look at Tech Data-Brightstar's ActivateIT Venture

Recently we covered news of Tech Data's and Brightstar's joint venture dubbed ActivateIT. But what is it, really, and what will it do for the channel?

Dave Courbanou

April 8, 2011

3 Min Read
A Deeper Look at Tech Data-Brightstar's ActivateIT Venture

TechDataRecently we covered news of Tech Data’s and Brightstar’s joint venture dubbed ActivateIT. But what is it, really, and what will it do for the channel? Tech Data VP Greg Parsonson offered a deep dive on just how resellers will work with ActivateIT and its branded service, TDMobility. Read on for all the details …

First, some clarification: ActivateIT is the name for the joint venture between Brightstar and TechData. Resellers and end customers will work with a front-end known as TDMobility (a name consistent with the nomenclature of the rest of the TD Technology divisions). In a nustshell, TDMobility will be a comprehensive mobile device and service activation for VARs.

Parsonson noted the three major cellular carrier will be part of TDMobility. “Any device from AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint,” will be included in the service, he said, except iPhones. “They are the exception, and the channel is not authorized at this time [to resell them].”

Other devices with embedded activation, such as Qualcomm’s Gobi, Parsonson said, also can be a part of TDMobility. we can activate those over carrier networks, too,” Parsonson said.

So what was the motivation behind the ActivateIT joint venture? “It’s the result of being able to offer a complete solution stack for the first time,” he explained, noting also that resellers traditionally have been able to sell everything up to that “last mile” of connectivity. But now, “… data center, UC and mobile solutions — the whole thing can be brought to end users, [and resellers can] participate on commission associated with the activities.”

Through TDMobility, Tech Data acts as the intermediary between the partner and the carrier, walking the reseller through the process of signing up and activating new customers with the carriers. In telecom resale vernacular, Tech Data is acting as a master agent for the carriers, with resellers acting as agents.

“The traditional peer-master activation model allows the reseller to come to us with a user who needs [for example] 10 devices. We can [provide] just that,” Parsonson said. From there on out, the end user and the carrier continue the relationship, and the reseller is basically out of the picture — unless, of course, the reseller provides services to support its customer’s mobility strategy.

A TDMobility partner portal is in development, which Parsonson said would launch soon.

“[ActivateIT is] a component of the consumerization of IT,” since users have come to expect this kind of service offering and have mobile technology available to them, he said. Because of that, Parsonson believes ActivateIT/TDMobility will have a real impact on the SMB market, helping resellers capitalize on the ever-increasing demand for — and demands of — mobility.

By the way, Parsonson pointed out the joint venture is pronounced “activate I.T.,” not “activate it.” A small detail, to be sure, but one that can make a big difference.

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