3Com has strengthened its push into the voice and data distribution camps by signing Rocom as the second distributor for its NBX product in the UK.
Traditionally a voice distributor, Rocom joins data distributor Westcon in offering NBX. 3Com wanted to keep its distributors down to two, and said one data and one voice distributor would be able to supply and add value to resellers.
"This is a logical extension to our channel because it give us access to more voice resellers," said Buddie Ceronie, UK head of 3Com. "This is proof that the voice and data channels, as well as technology, are coming together."
The networking equipment vendor disappointed data distributors with its decision to hand Rocom a contract to supply the sought-after product set.
Kevin Vine, director of networking services at distributor Ingram Micro, said he would have liked to be chosen but understood why 3Com would select a voice distributor to sell its NBX.
"3Com already works with Westcon on the data side selling the NBX product, so Rocom will give it a foot in both camps," he added.
Mark Davenport, sales director at 3Com reseller Starwand Computers, said 3Com had kept tight control of NBX distribution, and the impact of the deal would depend on what access data resellers were given.
"With more competition at the distribution level, resellers could benefit from lower prices. But if more telephony resellers get the product through Rocom it may not be so good for data resellers," he said.
3Com said it is unable influence where resellers buy, but added: "Rocom's focus is on the voice channel."
Bob Old, chairman of Rocom, said that with thousands of voice partners at different stages of adopting voice and data convergence the distributor is unlikely to look to sign up data resellers.
"It will give convergence broader appeal and everybody will benefit from increased take-up," he added.
Separately, 3Com said it will introduce its enterprise-level IP telephony soft switch, which can scale up to 50,000 telephones, later this year. "The plan is that Westcon and Rocom will distribute these when they are launched in the UK," said Ceronie.
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