OK, so it wasn’t the most stimulating conversation we’ve ever had in marketing. In our defence, most of us haven’t had a lot of social interaction in the last year and our conversation skills are a bit rusty.
Rather than guess what this mysterious “wholesale” could be, we called Jennifer Wald. Jen is VP of Wholesale at Fibernetics and we figured that if she couldn’t explain it, then someone had given her the wrong title.
Like magic, Jen made sense of it all. And, like all great teachers, she was able to school us and entertain us at the same time. Because, as we found out, Wholesale is actually quite interesting, and we thought that this month you might want to learn more about it too.
Wait… we do that?
Jen admits that even among Fibernetics employees, Wholesale is a bit of an unknown. She often hears, “I don’t really get what you guys do…”
In case you hadn’t heard, Fibernetics is a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC). In other words, we’re not an incumbent (i.e., we don’t own actual infrastructure like the Big Guys do), but we purchase pieces of the network from the incumbents. This means we have our own network; but in order to provide the network we have direct connections to the incumbents. We offer services in both TDM (it’s a method of transmitting multiple signals over a single channel, in case you didn’t know. Just me? OK) and VOIP (Voice over IP). We can buy blocks of telephone numbers, and we own the inbound structure which can handle calls coming into our network. And it doesn’t stop there – we are also a Toll Free Resporg (Responsible Organization) so we own and manage our own Toll Free numbers and resell those to our wholesale customers as well.
Fibernetics home and business internet divisions, Worldline & NEWT, are essentially Wholesale clients
Worldline and NEWT make use of the Fibernetics network to deliver phone and internet services, which makes Fibernetics the Wholesale provider for both of them. Our residential and business communications divisions have the product, and Wholesale handles the administration. For example, NEWT sets up a PBX on the customer’s end and Fibernetics can terminate (send out incoming traffic) to that network switch. For a Wholesale customer, we offer the same thing. We handle the inbound piece of their call and all we require is that the wholesaler can accept those calls from us. Along with delivering the inbound call to our wholesaler, we can also terminate calls from their customers anywhere in the world.
Any company that sells the same kinds of services as Worldline and NEWT (internet, SMS, phone, etc.), but doesn’t have their own network, can use our network as the backbone to deliver the same services that we sell. In a nutshell, Fibernetics Wholesale empowers resellers and partners for success.
Why would a reseller choose Fibernetics over another wholesale provider?
Fibernetics has a very stable network with great uptime. Our network covers 99% of Canada; we’re always aiming for 100%, and our network is up 99.989% of the time.
The entire team focuses on finding out what our customers need to grow their business, and then delivering it.
For example, Wholesale built a portal which offers customers the ability to do their own ports, even to the point where they can manage it by time of day. That was a big win for customers who are nervous about porting numbers in the middle of the day in case there is a complication. Now customers can port their numbers on evenings and weekends when it’s convenient and less stressful for them.
What our Wholesale clients have to say:
I initially signed up for services with Fibernetics as a reseller and have worked closely with all of their teams. Their professionalism in dealing with any concerns has always been 1st class. Their Voice Team and LNP Team are responsive to tickets and have also assisted me with any questions or concerns that I have. With their new portal now in place I can monitor network status, review my ports, order new phone numbers as well as open tickets in one central location.
In August of this year I made the decision to become a Type IV CLEC. I first reached out to their VP of Regulatory about Fibernetics working with me to be my Type 1. From there I was able to get the ball rolling very quickly. They answered my questions and assisted with any paperwork that was required by the CRTC. Within a short period of time I was able to get all of my paperwork filed. I look forward to continuing to grow my business with Fibernetics.
Even though our portal was a big win, we haven’t been resting on our laurels. In the last few months, we’ve introduced a 24/7 on-call line for customers to call if something does go wrong while they’re porting. Jen says this is a big step forward and, currently, no other provider offers this service. That doesn’t mean they never will though. The truth is, all the CLECs in Canada offer basically the same services and if one pulls ahead, the others tend to quickly catch up. There’s no one provider that consistently has the leading edge over all the others. A lot of what determines a customer’s choice to stay with us is based on relationship, reliability, and listening to what our customers need.
Our mad listening skills
In Wholesale, customers submit orders daily, whether it’s for toll-free or porting or new phone numbers. That’s a very different relationship than the commercial or residential side where a customer submits a ticket once or twice a year. The entire division interacts with customers every day, and they’re focused on being available when the customer needs them.
“Customers want to hear a voice at the end of the phone,” says Jen. “Whether it’s me, or Larry, or Karen, or Francisco, we always try to make ourselves available. A customer can call me at 2 in the morning and I’ll pick up the phone and help them. It’s the same on the NEWT side; they’re there for the customers, they’ve built the relationships with them. We pride ourselves on keeping our customers for years because we work on the relationships, we value the relationships, and we show we value them by listening. They are part of the Fibernetics Family.”
What our Wholesale clients have to say:
Fibernetics is our best partner and we are long term friends. I appreciate all they do for my staff and my business.
On a regular basis, Jen makes sure to “ask my customers what changes they want made in the portal, or what new services they’d like to see added, and then I add their requests to a list.” Every two months, Jen puts in a sprint for new services and makes sure to include requests from the list.
“We have our own goals for the portal, but I actively listen to our customers because we don’t necessarily know what they need,” says Jen. “We want to give them as much self-service as we can so they’re not reliant on sending us a request and waiting for us to get back to them. We want them to be able to control what’s going on with their service as much as possible.”
Wholesale is basically like supporting 100+ Fibernetics. We’re supporting customers who are reselling to another 10,000 customers. We’re giving them the backbone to deliver those services and we’re always trying to add more services. For example, until a few years ago we didn’t offer SMS, and in the last few years we have grown that business substantially by listening to our customers’ needs. We’re always looking for new services to layer on because basically we’re supporting our wholesalers’ businesses. We’re giving them what they need to run their business.
Our commitment to our Wholesale clients:
“We’ll continue to grow, we’ll continue to listen to you and innovate and deliver what you need, because ultimately you, our customers, are like us: you want your business to be successful, you want your customers to be happy, you want to be able to offer more services. So, we’ll work to support you in the best way we can so that you can serve your customers better and stay ahead of the curve.” Jennifer Wald, VP of Wholesale
You mean, Wholesale helps other companies to compete with NEWT and Worldline?
Yes, basically we give access to other companies to compete with us. Obviously we think NEWT & Worldline offer great products and services, but NEWT may not have what a business customer needs, and a competitor will fit their needs better. Funnily enough, that competitor may still be using our network; our NEWT Sales Team confirms that occasionally they hear of a customer moving to a competitor who is a reseller of our network. By the same token, sometimes one of our Wholesale resellers will lose a customer to NEWT. At the end of the day, the end customer is using the same network but just making use of different products and services on that network.
So, why exactly do we make our network available to competitors? Because we have a capacity of hundreds of millions of minutes/month and not all our customers are going to make use of it all. We manufacture dial tone, we route communications over our network, we’ve got gigabytes of data and bandwidth and we’re paying a monthly bill to keep that network live across the country. It only makes sense to sell a portion of it to resellers so that their customers can utilize it. It’s like a plane scheduled to take off. Even if there are empty seats which haven’t been sold, the plane is still going to leave.
Wholesaling allows us to fill in where we have extra capacity on our network. Having more volume moving over our network allows us to build out better relationships and negotiate better vendor agreements, which creates better pricing for our customers. It’s no different than what the incumbents do when they resell parts of their network to Fibernetics and the other CLECs. Then we compete with the incumbents by selling phone and internet services through Worldline & NEWT. All that competition within the industry is ultimately better for the consumer, which is one of the founding principles that Fibernetics was built on.
If you’re a Fibernetics employee reading this, we hope you understand Wholesale a bit better. And if you’re a reseller just finding out about our Wholesale services for the first time, or you’re an existing Wholesale customer, give Jen a call at 519-489-6700 ext. 668 – she wants to hear from you!