IT distributor Micro-P said last week its new 3 mobile broadband proposition, going to IT resellers initially, will arm the IT channel against the cannibalisation of their business by high street mobile phone retailers.
Manufacturers and network operators report entry-level laptops are shifting up to 80,000 units per month at present, thanks to subsidies in the mobile channel. Carphone Warehouse has taken around six per cent of the market in less than a year, according to sources.
Micro-P business development director Simon Woodman said IT resellers have been unable to compete with mobile retailers in bundling mobile broadband and laptops because they have so far not had a relationship with the airtime providers.
He said: “We are offering to the IT channel the ability to sell laptop bundles with 3. This is a huge area of the market – one which players like Carphone, Phones 4U and Dixons Stores Group have moved into aggressively, and opened up to some extent. A couple of network operators are offering their own solutions too.
“Unfortunately, to now, the IT channels have not been able to play in this part of the market because they have not got the relationships with the networks, and have not had the ability to finance the kinds of deals already in the market and they are not used to this philosophy in this part of the market of clawback.”
Micro-P will work with IT resellers on the proposition exclusively through the New Year, when it will open its sales channels up to mobile dealers and independent high street IT kit retailers.
Woodman said it is financing the deal itself to protect IT resellers from the risk of clawback, a concept they are not used to.
“The entry of mobile retailers to this sector has had an impact on traditional IT resellers. The low-end mid-range segment of the market has been taken away from them. We are giving them the ability to compete in this market, risk free, with guaranteed payments,” he said.
“The finance package will see us pay upfront and collect the money over the term of the contract.”
Micro-P claims around 4,000 active monthly accounts, and around 7,500 annually active. It has 131 telesales staff.