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BT merges networking dealers

Step forward, BT iNet

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BT has folded two data networking resellers, bought last year, into one company.

The new company, called BT iNet, merges BT's TNS and Skynet dealerships, and does all the usual stuff that you would expect - installation, IP telephony, wireless networking, managed services and security services.

Dave Carrington, former MD of BT Skynet, will run BT iNet. Mike Harris, his counterpart at TNS, will manage BT's Cisco account, worth a billion dollars a year, according to the telco. Presumably, this figure includes sales to BT as a customer as well as sales by BT to its customers.

Few companies these days like acquiring product resellers - or even so called VARs (value-added resellers), which flog services on the back of product sales. BT is a rare exception. In the early 90s it was the UK's biggest single buyer of computer hardware. But then it decided to ditch intermediaries - suppliers included Zenith Data Systems and Computacenter - and become a reseller itself.

Through acquisition it has become an active channel player in Ireland, on both sides of the border. In 2004, it bought Belfast dealer BIC Systems for £17m. Last year, it bought Dublin-based Cara, The RoI's biggest computer reseller, for an undisclosed sum.

And in April it got into phone and internet-selling with the acquisition of Bolton-based Dabs.com for an estimated £30m. ®

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