Look to the 2008 recession as a template for 2020 and beyond.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

August 17, 2020

3 Min Read

5G is more than its fast speeds, according to AT&T.

Todd Zeiler, AT&T’s assistant vice president of network services, shared six pillars of 5G. Devices, cell site hardware, access software, transport, a next-generation core and content comprise those pillars. Zeiler was speaking to partners at TBI’s Big Event on Monday.


AT&T’s Todd Zeiler

Zeiler clarified that fiber will still play an important role in the 5G world.

“There’s a misnomer out there that 5G’s going to get rid of the need for more fiber,” he said. “Quite the opposite. We have to take fiber further and further to the edges of the network.”

AT&T’s low-band 5G network hit nationwide status this summer, reaching more than 200 million people. Low-band AT&T 5G speeds pale in contrast its growing millimeter-wave (mmWave) network – which exists in 35 U.S. cities – but provides better coverage.

“Embrace this next generation – the roaring 20’s with me – as we go tell a story about six brand new pillars of architecture,” Zeiler said.

A Teachable Moment

The 2008 recession offers lessons for COVID-19 business disruption, according to sales expert Ryan Estis.

Estis kicked off the keynote sessions by reflecting on the 2008 recession. He said his company at the time failed to see the full urgency of the situation.

Keep up with resources for supporting partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We were slow to make decisions and accept the reality of the impact that this would have on our business,” Estis said.


Ryan Estis

He encouraged partners to think of their customers in three tiers: satisfied customers, who consult with a variety of providers and frame decisions around price, loyal customers, who will only reach out to you firm, and evangelists who talk to other perspective customers about what a good job you did.

Estis noted that while 83% of customers are willing to make a reference or recommendation, only 27% actually do so.

“Close that gap,” he said. “Earn the right to ask for referrals. Then ask.”

He said the industry is nearing a “second window of opportunity.”

“… the decisions that you make and the actions that you take over the course of the next six months are going to have a dramatic effect on the success of your business,” he said.

Going Online

TBI, which normally hosts its annual Big Event in Chicago, shifted the May conference to a virtual format this week.


TBI’s Corey Cohen

Corey Cohen, vice president of marketing, said her team debated how much content an online audience could consume before the onset of boredom. They settled on scheduling two main keynotes each day, in addition to breakout rooms, a virtual fair and a white hat hacking session. Attendees can also find entertainment through an online poker tournament and a mixology course.

Cohen said TBI is the first of its master agent peers to host its flagship event virtually.

“There are a lot of eyes on this event to see how it goes,” she said.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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