Rider on the storm

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Great Yarmouth dealership Digital Phone Company (DPC) is currently celebrating 15 years in the business, serving consumers and businesses across East Anglia.

Chairman and chief executive Phil Rider is in suitably cheerful mood for one marking a decade-and-a-half in the game. “There’s no recession on our high street,” he says. The business turned over more than £4 million last year. Rider expects revenues to surge again this year on the back of a concerted drive on B2B sales.

But despite an annual turnover of more than £4 million, the company has set the foundations to increase its business even further, with its chairman and chief executive Phil Rider claiming he has never been more excited.

The Norfolk born company, based 20 miles from Norwich, started trading March 21, 1994, and immediately aligned itself with Vodafone, with which it remains very close.

“We are Vodafone’s biggest independent dealer,” says Rider. “We have always had a fantastic relationship with it. We refer to Vodafone as ‘big brother’ because it has been there from the start. I would be happy to put 100 per cent of business through it.”

Presently, 98 per cent of its business (upwards of 20,000 consumer and business customers) goes to Vodafone anyway, reckons Rider. DPC is one of 10 Vodafone ‘premier partners’.

It has 13 stores decked out in Vodafone point-of-sale material across Norfolk, Suffolk, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. Its shops sell contracts only, and also do a nice line in SIM-free handsets (it shifts 500 SIM-free handsets per month on average). Rider has shunned the pepay market from day one.

DPC also has direct relationships with Orange, T-Mobile and 3, and is a ‘platinum’ partner for SIM-free stock with Data Select.

At present, Rider claims retail connections remain its “bread and butter”, accounting for more than 75 per cent of its business. But he wants to double B2B sales, to 50 per cent of new connections, by 2010.

It is connecting Vodafone fixed line and broadband, and has signed up to service provider Timico’s nascent VoIP project.

“There is a lot of growth in B2B sales and we hope to become the number one choice for people in East Anglia,” says Rider. “The retail side is still very good for us, which is mainly because the team I have is very focused and switched on.

“We thought the stores would decline this year, but they haven’t – we are up £100,000 net profit compared with last year.”

Full article in Mobile News issue 437 (April 20, 2009).

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