Wholesale/transport services

Verizon Wholesale Expanding Wireless Reach

WASHINGTON -- Verizon's wholesale unit is preparing to roll out new wireless products, to bring more of its customers into wireless service delivery, for the Internet of Things and business applications, Dennis Elwell, group VP of Verizon Partner Solutions told the Incompas conference opening session Sunday night.

Those new services will include new pricing plans and new capabilities, including IoT contracts and services, as well as streamlined efforts to make it easier for non-wireless operators to add those services, Elwell said in an interview after his presentation. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s wholesale operation has been reselling its wireless services for about five years, he explained, but there is still a lot of growth to come in that market, as more companies grow interested in either becoming MVNOs to reach specific market segments or unserved areas, or adding wireless to the business options they already sell.

"We have a pretty significant base of wireless wholesale customers, mostly on 3G," Elwell said. "About nine months ago, we started offering 4G and we saw things really take off. We think we can offer integrated solutions for IoT, to make it easier for people to buy and we are excited about working with many of our traditional partners -- ILECs, CLECs and rural telecom companies -- that have not dabbled in mobility yet."

Verizon's Dennis Elwell Addresses Incompas Crowd

VPS is part of a development group that is working on new IoT solutions, in conjunction with Verizon's broader effort, under ThingSpace, and will tailor the products it sells to its wholesale audience, in terms of how contract terms and conditions are developed and how capabilities are integrated. For example, VPS can provide assistance with wireless handsets or IoT sensors or devices, and with setting up billing systems for wireless services, areas in which wireline operators may not have expertise. (See Verizon Makes Major IoT Push and How ThingSpace Will Make Money for Verizon.)

Today, in addition to supporting MVNOs, VPS sells wireless services to its traditional wholesale customers, who typically bundle it as a backup offering along with an Ethernet service, to businesses. But that is likely to change going forward, Elwell says.

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Verizon's wholesale operation will also be taking advantage of what the company develops in the SDN arena, to enable its wholesale customers to offer their services on a more "on-demand" basis, dialing bandwidth up and down as needed. The company is also looking to offer more applications programming interfaces (APIs) for access to its wholesale network, which has traditionally been done through electronic bonding.

"The primary advantage of SDN is the ability to offer scalable, reliable bandwidth dynamically, and my customers are going to want that," Elwell said. Verizon Partner Solutions today has a platform called Global Wholesale Pricing and Programming, or GWP, which gives its customers a portal for doing ordering and pricing, and that has been extended with two APIs that enable customers to directly connect to VPS, or to connect through designated third-party vendors that serve as aggregators. The wholesale operator is also offering some service scalability for its Ethernet services.

In future, Elwell expects to be able to offer a wider range of flexible, dynamic services than is possible today, likely as SDN and NFV are more widely deployed. "Everyone is trying to figure out what is the right way to do that, provisioning it and billing for it," he said. "We know the infrastructure needs to be more flexible, and with the prospect of SDN and NFV, through virtualization, we will be able to do that. Then we'll usher in the OSS that will allow us to rationally provide the services, bill for them and provide the return."

One thing VPS will not be wholesaling is Verizon's managed security services portfolio. Elwell said that's not an option, given that providing solid security requires control and direct contact with the end cusomter, which his wholesale unit can't offer.

He treads lightly where the pending acquisition of XO Communications is concerned, saying it will expand the range of things, the fiber optic capacity and reach, and the lit buildings it can resell. (See Verizon Bags XO for $1.8B.)

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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