O2 scraps rules of engagement


O2 is to scrap its ‘rules of engagement’ in January after receiving negative feedback from indirect dealers.

O2’s new rules of engagement came in to play the same time as its ongoing revenue share on October 1. These rules, already reported to Ofcom, are to be scrapped in their present form on January 5.

O2 had sent a letter to partners on November 14 to modify its rules of engagement so direct partners could no longer sign customers originally connected via its indirect dealers – the original update to the rules ringfenced direct dealers’ customers, and went so far as to request indirect dealers to  “disengage” with customers signed by direct partners within the past two years.

Dealers complained they had lost huge amounts of business.

But O2 has changed its mind again. Its decision to scrap the rules of engagement completely was passed down to its distributor partners last week.

An O2 spokesperson said: “Following feedback from our stockist base we are currently carrying out a review of our rules of engagement.
“We are still working through the detail of this and want to ensure a fair process is implemented that will work for everyone. We will be communicating these changes to our stockists shortly.”

The changes mean O2’s Advance dealers and indirect channel partners will have equal rights and abilities to connect  customers through re-signs, regardless which channel the customer originally connected through.

One indirect dealer said: “Common sense has prevailed at last. We have lost a lot of business these past few months because we have either lost customers to direct through no fault of our own, or had to refuse business because the customer signed with direct originally. At least customers can make their own mind up as to who they give their business. It will put us all on our toes again which I think is great.”

Another dealer said: “O2 has suffered with sales, in particular re-signs, which has prompted it to act sooner rather than later.

“It will now be a level playing field for us and O2’s direct partners. And more importantly, whoever re-signs the customer will inherit the ongoing revenue, which is crucial.”

Another dealer added: “This is a good move. We won’t have to churn customers, which is bad all-round really. The only people who may be unhappy are the O2 direct partners who no longer have everything in their favour. But they will be required to win business on merit now.”

Indirect dealers had been instructuted to “disengage” with any customers they had re-signed within the past two years that had previously signed with a direct partner.