Comment: O2 rushed out a good idea


Three weeks on from O2’s sweeping changes to dealer commissions, the most common reaction in the channel is dealers don’t grasp the system, and are just waiting to see what happens.

Business can’t operate on guesswork, and without the knowledge of what it should receive in return for connecting a 24-36 month contract it’s impossible to budget properly.

If customers aren’t interested, or simply don’t need data, the dealer either has to say no from the off, or say yes and hope they overuse their minutes, go online with out a bundle or – better still – go abroad and do both to help up ARPU levels, keeping clawback to a minimum.

Some dealers even suggested the only way to make money is to miss-sell their services, so customers pay more for something they don’t need – effectively the opposite of what they’ve been encouraged to do.

Of course, these concerns no longer lie with O2, but affect everyone else. Distributors can only work with what they’ve got and have the almost impossible task of satisfying everyone. But they still have a responsibility to provide the basic information.

Ongoing revenue is without doubt a good idea, but there are too many spanners in the works to operate it successfully with so few details.

And, if reports on O2 B2B sales being heavily down this month are true, the decision may well come back to haunt them, especially if other networks decide to capitalise on the ill feelings surrounding it.

The credit crunch has yet to give its worst to the mobile industry, but the reason the world is in a crisis is largely down to companies or homeowners paying out more than they are bringing in, and this situation is certainly reflected here.