to 70% connections that have been the case over the last year or two. As I had predicted earlier this year retention deals will start to fade with networks currently not having the cash to keep their old non-profi table customers happy.
Paul Marks, managing director, Fonefi nders & Mfonex:
Dealers just need to think about add-on’s. This appears to be the buzz word and this will bring in the money. Unlocking appears to be a favourite of many dealers and a lot of business is being done there.
2009 could see the end of the dreaded clawbacks and we all hope that the great work of the IMPDA comes to fore next year.
The networks need to talk to the dealers, and this is another of my predictions for 2009. Over 2008, we have been fortunate in starting talks with T-Mobile and 3. I reckon that the other networks will also be there, talking to us dealers in 2009. So we will be able to discuss a way to go and sort out our problems. This is something that we have been trying to do for years.
We can look forward to hopefully ongoing revenue in a form that won’t upset dealers, like a certain other network. If Orange does what is has said it will, I reckon that it will be the network of choice over the others as its solution appears to be so simple.
Hopefully we won’t see any more dealer culls that we have seen in 2008. Mind you, if they do happen, they will still look across the board at both the direct and in indirect ones; no one is safe.
MVNO’s are an avenue that many companies, like Mfonex and Topaz Mobile, are becoming well known for in the mobile market, with Virgin and Tesco in top positions. Do you think that more companies in 2009 will start to expand the MVNO market and target those business and consumers which the networks either cannot or are not bothered about? Indeed, is the MVNO an area that more dealers should be looking to get into?
Marks, Fonefi nders & Mfonex:
In 2009 I can see more MVNOs appearing. They will all give low cost deals, which the main networks won’t do. All will have innovative tariffs that will be good for the customer, and cheap. They will also be both on consumer and business, so all types of customers will be covered.
Dealers should look at MVNO’s in a new light in 2009 and use them to their advantage, for instance, where a customer hasn’t got through a network credit check but they still want a mobile phone. This is where the slightly lower expectations of the MVNO are highlighted and can be used to the advantage of the dealer.
This will give dealers another network to target another audience through. Some dealers don’t pay attention to MVNOs and only give love to the bigger networks. But after the culls and what has happened this last year it pays to look for something else; you never know what is going to happen, and when something comes, it tends to come out of the blue.
Mayers, Border Mobiles:
Virgin has the potential to get out there onto the consumer market, and maybe by talking to many independents, it could come up with a great package for the consumer, one that could be tailored to each individual. All it takes it a bright distributor to lead the way, maybe even have an MVNO of their own?
Ratansi, Fones U Like:
Business MVNO’s will need to strengthen their offerings as business customers expect a lot more than just good customer service. It is important not to make their contract with the MVNO a living hell.
Unfortunately unlike the actual networks, the MVNOs do not have the cash to subsidies the handsets as much; this will again be a disadvantage to the customer and dealer alike. Also services like Blackberry or Seven will need to be available so that push email facilities can be offered.
Like all the networks, the MVNO’s will need to re-invent it self every few months in order to keep up with the competition and maybe to even stay ahead. Virgin already has a huge hold on the MVNO’s with their digital TV, broadband and mobile packages. Topaz is a great concept but until it expands it will need to be more than just another MVNO. To stay ahead it will need to offering a lot of the B2B services that customers want. I do try to offer Topaz to my customer base, but as my B2B clients will only consider 02, T-Mobile Orange and Vodafone. Most of them chuckle when I mention 3, even though 3 has a better data offering than Orange and O2!
The IMPDA (Independent Mobile Phone Dealers Association) is open to all UK dealers and distributors. The aim of the IMPDA is to achieve a level playing fi eld for its members, and to champion quality improvements in the industry for a better future. If you would like to join the IMPDA then simply email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a concern or story then either email email@example.com or call 0844 884 9702.
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