From August Cisco will change the way it charges its partners for support services, moving from a one-off to an annual fee.
A company spokesman said users would benefit from better support services and should not see an increase in support costs.
However, top-tier gold and silver Cisco resellers contacted by Computer Weekly warned that the new programme would affect the price of support for end-users.
Peter Titmus, managing director at NetworksFirst, a Cisco reseller going through silver accreditation, said, "Pricing is now annual, which means it will cost us more. Where before we would be charged for the life of the product, we now have to buy support each year. I suspect fees will be passed on to customers. The cost over time will have to go up."
Peter Halls, chief executive at network management company Omnetica, said that for a three-year transition period some of a user's equipment would be supported under the old arrangement, and new equipment would be based on the new scheme.
The scheme, which requires users to provide Cisco with the serial numbers and location of all new equipment, will complicate asset tracking and add to users' management costs, he added.
Halls also warned that Cisco wanted to start charging resellers for support once network equipment was shipped, even though some enterprises do not deploy equipment for six months. "Most users will not want to pay for day-one support," he said.
One problem is that Cisco resellers may be unwilling to offer users fixed-term, three-year contracts - currently the most popular form of support - because under the terms of Cisco's new partner support programme, it is able to review the price it charges resellers for support every year.
Georges Karystineos, business line director at reseller Nextiraone, said, "We do not think support will change dramatically. We do not know how it will affect our costs."