Cutting Room: Smart O2 move


Ben Dowd (pictured), David Plumb, Maggie Kennedy and the rest of O2’s indirect sales team look to have been very smart.

O2 is making the running in third-party business  connections. Its financial results back that up. The jury is out on its rivals’ strategies. Phone calls into the office last week suggested Vodafone, O2’s biggest rival in the business space, has just recorded a pretty unsatisfactory quarter as far as its enterprise unit goes.

Certainly Dowd et al will have watched with some satisfaction as the recent Yes Telecom fiasco has unraveled around Vodafone. Orange and T-Mobile have meanwhile offered watered-down versions of O2’s revenue share scheme, and perhaps drawn less scorn for them. However, they have also earned less praise. O2 is driving sales in the part of the channel it wants to.

Its new ‘O2 Approved’ scheme is clever because, for it, O2 has requested Fone Logistics and Avenir put up 10 dealers each to enter the scheme. These dealers are not necessarily O2 loyalists; in many cases they have sold O2 only as an afterthought and instead concentrated on Orange and T-Mobile in particular.

Avenir, which has just recently had its Vodafone connector code terminated, will have delivered O2 a certain amount of Vodafone business – in light of the truncated stay of former Avenir boss Tanny Price at Yes Telecom, significantly more than it has lost to Vodafone recently.

Interestingly, Orange also held a dealer summit for its federated partners last week. Little of the information exchanged there has come to light. But perhaps it should worry about its indirect partners, connecting via distributors, a little more.

O2 is confident it has the best direct dealer scheme of any of the network operators. It will put that belief to the test as it courts rivals’ business with the promise of sundry pay and marketing benefits through ‘O2 Preferred’.

O2 has already secured a mid-term commitment from 21 direct dealers to put connections through it exclusively, which no other network has achieved. O2 looks to be capitalising on a confused market place by putting down a clear strategy.