Frequency Telecom is convinced, in the mobile phone distribution sector at least, that size doesn’t matter. In fact, diminutive scale means a degree of compactness, nimbleness and efficiency much bigger distribution businesses cannot match.
Gareth Limpenny, John Whitlock, Andrew Cain and Paul Slaven established Chessington-based Frequency as a SIM-free distributor in February 2002. Its remit has expanded dramatically since – it now also provides warehousing, customisation, configuring and fulfilment services for SIM free kit.
In the past two years, it has purchased accessories company Frequency 3G, which now shares the same offices as Frequency but continues to run as a separate entity.
T-Mobile has also awarded it a business partner contract and it has branched out to set up its own B2B arm, branded ‘Jelly’, to focus on airtime sales to small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and corporate customers.
Size doesn’t matter
Whilst Frequency does not compare in size with the likes of 20:20 and Data Select, its managing director Limpenny reckons it is well positioned to exploit the areas in which it plays.
“When we entered the market there were a number of niches, like there are today, which a smaller distributor can deal with far better than a larger one; and that’s what we’ve stuck to,” he says.
“We are far more bespoke. We offer the same service levels as the bigger boys in terms of efficiency, but we have more personality and can cater to very specific customer requirements. Plus, because of our size, customers always get to speak to the same account managers, instead of random staff on the end of an 0870 number.”
Its relative diminutiveness enables Frequency to be nimble in the market place. Limpenny claims Frequency can meet personal fulfilment requirements on limited stock orders better than its rivals. It can also fulfil specific delivery requirements and co-ordinate marketing campaigns on the kinds of purchase orders its rivals would not even consider.
“We deliver a service that allows our customers to compete in a competitive world by giving them choice and flexibility,” says Limpenny. “Because of our size, we can move very quickly and give accurate information, allowing customers the opportunity to build the products and services they need for their customers.”
Accessories and B2B
The acquisition of Frequency 3G and the establishment of Jelly have led the distributor down new avenues. Limpenny explains: “We’ve seen exciting results from these areas and over the next couple of years we’ll be concentrating heavily on them, because we think we could have a big opportunity to attack the market in a different way to our competitors.”
Frequency head of marketing Steven Donovan adds: “We’ve focused clearly on Frequency as a business for nearly five years and have integrated these other two companies as part of the whole. They’re all related to our core activity, to our buying power and distribution processes.”
Its B2B arm, Jelly, offers local businesses a more consultative sale, says Limpenny.
“We find out what they’re about, how they communicate with each other and what their plans for growth are for the next two or three years. We then build a mobile business that suits them,” says Limpenny.
Jelly finds the tariff package most suited to the customer’s calling patterns and their local network coverage. It also makes a point of meeting up with B2B customers to help configure kit and talk through additional data solutions, as well as maintain after-sales support.
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