PlanetOne, T-Mobile Launch Wireless with Recurring Commissions

Master agency PlanetOne Communications is hoping for a game-changing chapter for its agents and channel partners with the launch of a new package of enterprise wireless services from T-Mobile USA, with the option of making residual commissions on the sale. The model turns the typical wireless channel approach on its ear.

“Wireless providers haven’t been historically channel-friendly, given their retail model and territorial approach to account protection,” said Ted Schuman, founder and CEO of PlanetOne. “It’s been frustrating for the channel given the popularity of wireless in business. Now, all of that changes with the introduction of T-Mobile’s new approach. We finally have parity between the direct and brick-and-mortar sales forces, with a compensation plan that rewards partners monthly for our commitment. I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that this is the most exciting thing to happen to our industry since the iPhone.”

The offering, first announced by T-Mobile’s channel vice president Damian McCabe at PlanetOne’s Foxwoods, Conn. telecom tour stop, includes unlimited voice and text messaging with scalable data plans, a range of phone options, no-contract options, and flat-rate international roaming with unlimited data and text and a $0.20 per-minute voice rate in 132 countries. Customers can also bring their own compatible device to the plans. Partners meanwhile can choose from three models of compensation: traditional, one-time, upfront payments; a strictly residual option with a percentage in the double digits; or a hybrid of both. This is in sharp contrast with the standard wireless compensation model of one-time up-front payments per line.

“T-Mobile’s executive leadership comes from the wireline industry, and they understand the channel community and that they need to take a different approach to the pricing models,” McCabe said. “The T-Mobile channel program also offers extraordinarily aggressive incentives to help agents acquire new customers. It’s clear that T-Mobile has delivered the wireless Holy Grail – wireless residual comp and all the tools to enable the channel community. We are changing the game!”

The move is timely as wireless service continues to become a critical part of the business landscape.

“We wanted to expand our B2B efforts into new sales distribution approaches,” explained Joe Conlon, director of channel partners for North America at T-Mobile. “Everything we do is about rewriting the rules on a broken industry, delivering simplicity and transparency, and enabling the channel to sell wireless business solutions. After attending several events and interviewing scores of partners, it became clear that we needed to make a transformation.”

While offering monthly recurring commissions was one significant change, the other has been an investment in support tools and platforms. To that end, T-Mobile has launched a B2B partner portal that includes online sign-up and provisioning, along with features like a coverage checker, total cost of ownership calculator, special initiatives and promotions, and a range of training tools.

“We’re excited about the ability to go to market with a company like PlanetOne, which has a status as a true trusted advisor, impressive partner support and a belief in enterprise wireless as the next great channel opportunity,” Conlon said. “We have a really strong program here, and our network and service is unparalleled, with the fastest LTE in the nation. Our joint effort with PlanetOne and the broader channel is the next frontier of success.”

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