With Carphone Warehouse’s announcement last week that it is dropping its Opal brand, is the channel’s choice of carrier partner becoming limited? The Opal brand, which was CPW’s offering for channel partners, has been rebranded as Carphone Warehouse Network, which appears to be focusing heavily on local loop unbundling and selling direct via Carphones own sales channels, predominantly into the residential market.
Richard Bligh of Gamma Telecom believes that this is further demonstration that the carrier market is losing interest in supporting the channel. He commented “Gamma believes that the only business model that can sustain future growth is one that heavily supports the channel. Right from the start it has been our policy to only sell through the channel, and we have never seen any good reason to change that”
Carriers are increasingly dropping their reseller support in favour of keeping more of the margin internally, but Gamma feels that this is not a strategy that will benefit the industry in the long term. Bligh added “The fear is that the move toward IP telephony is driving the margin out of the minutes market, but both resellers and carriers need to be looking beyond that and finding ways of creating new margin from the value added services that can now be offered with the new IP solutions. We have been working hard with over 200 channel partners to find new ways of unlocking margin and we are constantly surprised and impressed at the creativity and imaginative ways our partners have found to improve their customer’s business whilst maintaining and even increasing the margin for their businesses, and ultimately for Gamma”.