PlanetOne Communications is Level 3 Communications Inc.’s newest Elite partner.

The designation “is further validation of our ongoing dedication to delivering the most innovative, next-generation set of products to our partners,” said Ted Schuman, CEO of PlanetOne.

PlanetOne earlier this year earned “fastest sales growth” recognition from Level 3, and this week’s announcement indicates the Scottsdale-based company is positioning itself for top honors at the service provider.

“Our partners know that Level 3 is focused on providing active engagement and ongoing support for our channel efforts,” said Lauren Shapiro, president at PlanetOne.

To be sure, industry observers don’t expect any of that to change as Level 3 prepares to take on tw telecom inc. Level 3 said in June it plans to buy tw telecom for $7.3 billion, including the assumption of debt, and analysts told Channel Partners the deal stands to create an even “stronger channel program.”

Level 3’s partner program includes three tiers: Elite, Premier and Authorized. Each must meet specific performance goals.

“Level 3 is pleased to recognize PlanetOne as our newest Elite partner within the channel partner program,” said Garrett Gee, indirect channel chief at Level 3. “PlanetOne’s commitment to our partnership and support of their partners continue as a key enabler of our shared success.”