Wholesale vs Channel Partner - what to be?

Wholesale vs Channel – What to be?

Choosing whether you should be a wholesaler or a channel partner can be hard. The answer is not always as straightforward as we would like it to be – in the end it’s all about your personal (or business) preference. The video below helps find your best option.

What's the difference?

As a wholesaler, you own the client relationship, the billing, and the tier 1 support. 

As a channel partner, Lightwire handles the billing and the support (you may choose to be the technical liaison). In return, you get ongoing referral payments from us. 


Wholesalers are typically larger organisations that incorporate Lightwire solutions as part of their managed services offering. Great wholesalers add value on top of the standard Lightwire services and take control over the end-to-end customer relationship.

To be successful as a wholesaler you need to have solid business practices and processes in place as well as plenty of time to devote to the wholesale partner project.

As a wholesaler you have the end-to-end ownership of the customer relationship, meaning you handle the support and customer communications. As far as the customer is aware Lightwire services are your own and to help facilitate this we have created white labelled material for you to use.

Adding white labelled Lightwire services to your arsenal will help you provide a wider range of services. Make your customers stickier by providing them quality services and lock them in for a 12, 24, or 36 month term.

As a wholesaler you control your margins, you can decide and set the rates yourself. 

Larger wholesale partners generally have a seat on the Lightwire advisory board, which allows them to dictate how and where we should be focusing our development resources on to innovate. 

So what’s the downside?

  • You’re responsible for the finances including voice rebilling.
  • You’re required to have the in-house skills and resources to handle tier 1 support
  • You should have processes in place to handle customer communications like planned maintenance etc.
  • You’ll need to have T&Cs in place – fortunately we have white labelled T&Cs for you to use

The wholesale program is for organisations that are more mature, advanced, and resourced. We have structured our channel partner program in such a way that it can serve as a pathway for you to become a wholesaler. Choosing the wholesale or channel partner program doesn’t lock you into that particular program.  

Channel Partner Program

Typically suitable for the smaller organisations that don’t have dedicated resources or a 24/7 service desk. Lightwire handles the customer communications and admin. That means you don’t have the overhead that comes with handle all the customer support and administration, allowing you to focus on other business matters.

You’ll receive rebates for the duration that the referred client is a Lightwire customer. You’re incentivised to bring customers to Lightwire, regardless whether the customer stays with you or not.

Maybe the best benefit of all? You don’t need to be a network or voice wizard. Lightwire can act as the third party consultancy, help with the pre-sales engagement, or aid in the analysis what your customers’ needs are and what those needs will look like in the future. Basically, we can become a wider extension of your team, working as your trusted advisor to get the end result that you and the client(s) need. 

In a recent conversation with one of our biggest channel partners, Brendan asked them why they chose to be a channel partner even though they are a very large organisation, and it came down to our specialisation in voice services. This large organisation was not a voice shop and doesn’t have staff trained in voice services. They saw voice as something clients need and want to be able to advise clients them and work with a trusted partner, but they don’t see any value in their business in packaging and selling voice services. You can read about this in our Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary case study.

Being a channel partner is not always a reflection of organisation size, it’s a reflection of focus.

So what are some of the downsides of the channel partner program?
  • You’re not going to have total ownership over the customer relationship (you can be listed as the technical contact and receive all notifications in relation to the customer)
  • You’re not going to have the opportunity to mark services up and sell them as your own
  • You cannot set the pricing for Lightwire services (unlike the wholesaler program)

What does a channel partner earn in rebates?
Each month channel partners get a breakdown of how the commissions total is calculated. Channel partners get rebates over the lifetime of the customer. How much this is depends on the customers’ service(s).
  • 10% gross on voice billing excluding GST, each month, every month.
  • 15% of gross profit every month

We generate a supplier generated invoice, so you don’t have to create one. The only thing you have to do is check the invoice and make sure everything is okay. If something is wrong, you can speak up, if not we’ll make the payment to you. Being a channel partner is easy as that.

Want to know more about the partner program?

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