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A small telecom lands a big deal

A tiny telecom startup snags a partnership with one of its largest competitors.

By Patricia B. Gray, FSB Magazine

(FSB Magazine) -- Lisa Hanlon and Kelley Church, Co-owners Teltech Communications teltechcomm.com.

Before it inked a deal with Lucent (Charts) this fall, Teltech Communications had a client base of small, rural cellular companies drawn to its low-cost used telecom equipment.

Hanlon (left) and Church, flanked by a Lucent filter that transmits signals for cellphones.

Now Teltech will resell Lucent gear to some of the biggest names in the industry, including Sprint (Charts). Revenues should hit $25 million this year, up from $16 million in 2006.

Direct Dial: Kelley Church, 39, and Lisa Hanlon, 36, started their company in 1999, after one of Lisa's babysitting clients suggested that she get into the telecom business. Winning a deal with Lucent took five years of concerted effort: calling executives almost every week to suggest a partnership, wooing the company's chief diversity officer, and working with Lucent's internal security force to help it recover stolen telecom equipment on the "gray market."

Collect Call: Hanlon hopes the Lucent deal will create new opportunities for her Edwards, Colo., firm, including federal contracts. And Lucent is also thrilled with the alliance. "This deal makes one of our toughest competitors into a partner," says Don Olson, a technical manager at Lucent. "Teltech will be a great asset to Lucent."

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