Sharp End: Revenue share

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Revenue share debuts

April sees the biggest change to dealer commissions for quite a while. Both Orange and T-Mobile are moving to reduce upfront payments and give away a certain percentage of customer spend to make up the dealer commission package.

We often moan about the fact we do not get our dealer pricing through in a timely manner from the networks – and sometimes do not even get it until a couple of days into the new month.

But this month is even worse. At the time of writing (March 30), I still have to hear anything official from distributors concerning the new pricing structure from Orange and T-Mobile for April.

We have heard unconfirmed reports but nothing definite about how these new commissions will affect our cash flow and exactly what we will receive up front to off-set the stock we need to supply our customers.

This really is not on. It would be nice to have had a lot more communication from the distribution channel to ease us into this new era. If what we are hearing turns out to be correct (90 per cent upfront and 10 per cent ongoing from Orange; and 80 per cent upfront and 20 per cent ongoing from T-Mobile), then I see this as a good move. It will help the serious independent dealer over time.

I’m just hoping commissions don’t drop off the face of the earth for regular consumer connections, as many fear the networks have decided they are better suited to fulfilling the requirements of consumers and leave the independent dealers to service the small business sector.

Let’s face it, Orange’s commissions have been very favourable over the last few months. If the new package simply reduces this generous commission by 10 per cent but pays an extra 10 per cent ongoing, then I can’t see any dealer having any issues with it.

It’ll be interesting to see how the ongoing revenue is paid. Will we receive full itemised reports of each mobile number, detailing the amount spent and percentage due to dealer? If so, how does this sit with Data Protection issues?

If reports are fully itemised then the customer could take issue insofar as his/her call spend is being divulged to a third party. If the ongoing reports are not itemised, then are we just expected to take the networks word for what has been spent and commission due?

There are lots of questions to be asked and I’ve no doubt there will be teething problems whilst the transition takes place. Only time will tell if this latest change in reimbursements will be beneficial or not. I’d like to think they will be.

Apple 3.0 platform

Apple has announced its new 3.0 operating system for the Apple iPhone. With this new release, developers get more access to core iPhone APIs.

Apple has also given accessory manufacturers access to the iPhone dock port. It might not sound much but there are already some healthy innovations – a plug-in blood pressure monitor  that works with a software application on the phone; a diabetes tester that connects to the iPhone via Bluetooth and gives users up to date information on glucose levels.

Push notification has finally come to the iPhone too, which will open the door for proper Instant Messaging applications to run on the phone. It should have happened months ago – Apple says it had a lot more server work to sort out than it had expected.

One feature I’ve personally wanted for quite a while is a cut, copy, paste function. It should be basic, but it has been curiously missing to date. Like MMS.

Both features have been rectified in the new 3.0 operating system. All in all, most of the enhancements announced this week from Apple should have been in the first release. Most are fairly standard. But it is great Apple can rectify these things as it goes along.

The new platform release should be available from June – which ties in nicely with the Apple Developer Conference on June 8, where Apple has previously announced new versions of iPhone and iPod Touch. There is a very strong indication Apple will announce the next version of iPhone.

This rumour is bolstered by the fact there seems to be a world wide rush to clear out existing versions of the iPhone 3G. Many networks are discounting the 3G and even offering it for sale without airtime contract.

Full article in Mobile News issue 436 (April 6, 2009).

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