Brightstar debuts airtime unit


Brightstar Europe is to launch an airtime division in the UK which will process business connections on all major UK networks.

Mobile News understands Brightstar has been granted a distributor code by Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and 3, and that O2 is also considering signing it up for business connections.

Brightstar is recruiting for a head of airtime, as well as a number of new sales and marketing roles for the division. It is expected to appoint 15 staff to the unit.

Its expansion and recruitment drive comes as rival 20:20 Mobile cut 60 jobs at the end of January in a second-phase restructuring of its UK business, which also brought together its disparate divisions under a single brand and new 20:20 signage.

Brightstar’s airtime drive is a strategic counterpoint in the market to its hardware business, and is intended to offer resellers within mobile and IT channels a one-stop shop for SME hardware, airtime and services.

The move intensifies the competition for UK incumbents 20:20 and Data Select, particularly in the SME market. Brightstar lost out to rivals on key Nokia distribution contracts late last year, but it is looking to capitalise on its partnership with IT distributor Computer 2000 in the UK to lead the ‘convergence’ market.

Its US rival Brightpoint, which set up in the UK by purchasing Hugh Symons Telecom in May last year, has also stepped out of straight hardware distribution in the UK recently by agreeing an airtime deal for business connections with Orange.

Brightstar Europe president Rod Millar (pictured) told Mobile News: “I’m not prepared to discuss specific plans.

“We’re happy with how we have progressed in the UK and Spain in the past 12 months and we will continue to expand where we see gaps in the market. We are uniquely positioned to capitalise on the growing convergence market because of our joint venture with Tech Data.”