IMPDA – Looking at 2008

It certainly has been a turbulent year for the industry, first with European Telecom going into administration and Phones4u sacking 250 staff. then we had Orange axe 150 dealers, then many companies going bust over cash back, with still many thousands of customers still owed money.
 
There was some joy in the market, with the launch of the iphone even if it was a bit of a flop in the way it was launched.  Then 3 network launched the Mix & Match tariffs which pleased all dealers, and sales increasing as a result.

We have seen MP’s have meetings with the networks over cash back and an invite from MP’s and the regulator to the IMPDA for meetings with dealers in January, so a mixed bag really for dealers in 2007.

What’s the future in 2008?  Well we will certainly see other dealers go down through cash back as more struggle to pay customers, and I would not be surprised to see one or more distributors in difficulty should a large cash back company hit the buffers.

The certainty is that dealers in 2008/9 are not going survive in this industry unless they diversify and sell other products other than just mobiles.  A lot of dealers already do, but many others don’t so next year is the year to start if they haven’t done so already.  The IMPDA is growing and the hope will be that the networks will start a dialogue and move forward the industry.  Increasingly the consumer should start to see that there is movement within the industry and gain confidence in dealers once more, although it might take some time.

We would hope that next year the networks will review their commissions to help dealers bring in sales, and give greater support than they have this year.  We will be wondering if 2008 is when Orange bring in a tariff to challenge the T-Mobile and 3 network tariffs, which would give consumers greater choice and bolster dealer sales only time will tell.

Although dealers have had a tough year and may experience difficulty in Q1 of next year, there is light at the end of the tunnel, how quickly we spring into the daylight depends on the Networks and results of meetings with Ofcom.  Meanwhile we wish everyone a very merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

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