Request to pump $1.5m into channels

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Request Broadband will spend up to $1.5m on channel development this year, according to executives at the company’s annual partner conference at the Gold Coast.

Request Broadband will spend up to $1.5m on channel development this year, according to executives at the company's annual partner conference at the Gold Coast.  

The amount to be spent followed an announcement of plans to grow Request's business to 28,000 broadband service connections this year from 14,000 today, as it strived to own the “SME IP networking market,” executives said.

At the end of February, PowerTel's $54 million acquisition of Request was expected to be completed, creating a combined entity believed to be worth around $155 million.

Over the next few months, around $500,000 would be spent on marketing and demand generation for its IP VPN products.

“This doesn't mean we're going to put more ads in the paper than Telstra. The goal is to educate customers on how to choose,” said Scott Carter, director of sales at Request Broadband.

The top level Platinum and Gold partners would share in a “dollar-for-dollar” marketing growth fund of $250,000 this calendar year, according to Carter.

“These are joint marketing funds for marketing, telemarketing, channel development and customer acquisition programs,” he said.

Carter said the company through its channel partners would “stimulate a market” for DSL services, targeting a list of between 4,000 and 6,000 small and medium business during the year.

The company also forecast to deliver 2,000 new services via its Wholesale Direct model, introduced in October 2003. Under Wholesale Direct, a Request business development manager sells a DSL service to a customer, but introduces a partner mid-way through the sales process, minimising the partner's customer acquisition costs, said Carter.

Carter claimed this model had been successful, delivering over 300 new VPN end points for the company between October and December last year.

Speaking to iT News, Shane Allan, CEO at PowerTel, said he hoped the newly merged entity could capture around 20 percent of an expected addressable market of $2.5 billion in new broadband IP services by FY2005/06, up from $750 million in FY 2002/03.

Meanwhile, Phil Sykes, CEO at Request shared his vision for a world over the next 10 years where “everything has an IP address” during his keynote on Thursday.

“Every single object has a means to identify itself -- in 10 years time, I see that as a reality,” he said, adding that at the same time, there was an opportunity for Australian software developers to create business software to run on these networks.

“The end game is where every device is connected via private networking, not via the Internet,” Sykes said.

In other news, ISP Techex was appointed on Monday as a new Platinum certified Request partner. Platinum partners were required to do $100,000 per month in recurring Request revenues. At the same time, SecureTel attained a Gold partner certification.

Both PowerTel and Request maintained that there would be no changes to the channel following the completion of the acquisition.

Byron Connolly travelled to the Gold Coast as a guest of Request Broadband.
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