Tech Pac signs up for Vodafone BlackBerry push

In a bid to stay ahead of the wireless wave, Tech Pacific has struck up a partnership with Vodafone Australia.

The deal will see the distribution giant combine Vodafone's connectivity services with RIM's BlackBerry - a mobile device which combines phone, email, SMS, browser and organiser functions into one offering. The bundle will be pushed by the distributor's 5000 strong IT reseller base.

Tech Pacific PC and server category manager, Josh Velling, said the agreement was an attempt to provide an all-in-one data solution to the SOHO and SME mobile workforce markets.

"We think it will add a lot of benefit to SME companies because the productivity gains of having your emails accessible anywhere is enormous," he said. "This is all part of the world going wireless."

While business relationships of this sort were not new for Tech Pac, this combination was ostensibly a fresh twist, Velling said.

"We've traditionally sold PDA devices and phone connectivity in the past," he said. "What we like about this deal is that it brings plans and hardware together in one offering."

The distribution deal will also cover a Vodafone branded mobile connection card which converts notebooks with a PCMCI slot into a wireless PC. Through the alliance, Tech Pac would enable its SME resellers to integrate mobile convergence solutions into their existing product offerings as well as provide a way for them to differentiate themselves, Velling said.

"Resellers will make margin on both the BlackBerry and Vodafone's plans," he said. "For the enterprise version, there are also enormous opportunities to sell other hardware, like a dedicated BlackBerry server, and services, like installation."

Partners would need to register their interest via Tech Pac's Website, then undergo training on connecting customers online using Vodafone's services options and the PDAs before being able to get in on the action, he said.

Describing the alliance with Tech Pac, Vodafone chief commercial officer, Russell Hewitt, said the telco was seeking to go beyond its traditional distribution channels.

"By aligning ourselves with the largest IT distributor in this region we are expanding our footprint and aggressively growing our market share of the mobile data market," Hewitt said.

Velling said Tech Pac's go-to-market model, which used the web to provision the products, and the training services it could provide for Vodafone, would keep costs and complexity down for businesses.

The deal was limited to two products at this stage but Velling said the market should expect to see further offerings from the two companies over time.

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