Speakers’ Corner: One-trick ponies


2009 is going to be the toughest year since the launch of cellular in 1985. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, we were already in a tough market, where retention is the name of the game. With little new contract business, other than secondary data type connections and new applications, it’s not going to get any easier.

Secondly, the tough market conditions are compounded by the fact we are in the worst recession most of us have experienced in our working lives.

The positive impact will be a reduction in the number of small sub dealers who see the industry as a relatively easy way to make a quick buck and disappear.

The one trick pony is history. The dealer community has reduced down dramatically over the last five years, and if you look at the long term players, nearly all the good ones are aligned to only a few networks, and appear on a key partner list somewhere.

The list of good quality B2B dealers is no more than 100 across the whole of the UK. The future of the dealer community is still strong. The networks need dealers as much as dealers need them – provided they are delivering congruent goals, such as high APRU, low churn, data and secondary connections.

Dealers’ goals should be in line with the networks’. You can’t dictate to a network operator, or be naive enough to think you can ignore their objectives. It needs to be a true partnership. That in mind, network operators should play a major part in helping the dealer community.

Full article in Mobile News issue 431 (January 26, 2009).

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Andy Smith has been in mobile since 1985, and spent 20 years with Vodafone, working mainly on its distribution channels, before a stint as head of distributor Anglia (now Redstone). Smith is currently non executive chairman of B2B dealer Qualitel and channel director of Destiny Wireless. He also runs his own own consultancy business, Wye Marketing.