A merry dealer Xmas?


Manny Hussain
managing director, Intek

This Christmas could have been very bleak on the back of recession, unemployment and commission changes. But we’ve made tremendous strides with revenue share, and we are looking forward to a boom in sales.

The contract market of course tends to decline in December as prepay takes focus. But we have strong contract handsets, and there will be plenty of gift-related offers. SIM-only should convert some prepay users.

Christmas number one?
Smartphones, generally. Data has finally captured the public’s imagination. There will be much fuss around the iPhone and BlackBerry.


Andrew Boden
managing director, Mainline

Christmas is a hindrance to business sales generally and most of ours are B2B. December is a short trading month, with decision-makers focused more on festivities than changing their mobile fleet.

That said, we have a number of initiatives for the season – including ski weekends in Bulgaria, iPods and high street vouchers for dealers making the most connections and upgrades.

Our 14 m-viron stores will get seasonal in-store merchandising too, promoting a number of Christmas offers including free PlayStation 3s and free prepay handsets with selected purchases.

Prepay sales normally triple at this time of year, and we expect them to do so this year too. Accessory sales get a boost also and we’re dropping some prices by up to 36 per cent.

Christmas number one?
The Blackberry 8520 and Samsung Genio B3210 and Genio Touch S3650 (pictured) will be popular despite the downturn. The iPhone 3G S is bound to be a big seller for Orange.


John George
managing director, JAG

We’re feeling a lot more positive about Christmas this year – last year sales fell at around the same time the banks did, and we are only just starting to see recovery now. Things are picking up even if consumers are making fewer impulse buys.

Smartphones are more popular among all kinds of shoppers and the iPhone has created an interest in this multimedia market. We have had big sales of HTC devices and new Blackberry handsets will also compete for space. It seems people are still willing to spend on the hardware, but are are cutting back on the their tariff spend.

Christmas number one?
There is a major switch towards smartphones across and HTC and BlackBerry devices should do well.


Phil Rider
chairman, Digital Phone Company

We won’t go down the gimmicky gifting route with lots of freebies. Instead, the priority will be to add more [contract] value.

The market is saturated, competition is huge, and demand reflects that; it is a buyer’s market. This Christmas is going to be a tug-of-war. People want highly specified handsets for less money, which is not easy to provide.

Christmas number one?
The iPhone on Orange will be number one but supply/demand could prove tricky.


Roger Butterworth
chief executive, Expansys

I’m positive about sales where we have strong value propositions – newer handsets on good prepay deals and top Android and Windows Mobile smartphone offers.

But I don’t expect a lot of mid-range handset sales; the value just isn’t there. I expect a lot of people to switch to SIM-only over the next year – it’s better value and that’s going to hurt dealers who rely on upfront commissions.

Christmas number one?
HTC Touch HD2 and the Nokia N900.


Nick Atkinson
general manager, Bizitalk

We are feeling much more positive this year than last. This is the first time, in my experience, that people have enquired about taking out contracts as Christmas gifts.

It is mostly the lower end tariffs – £15 or £20 per month; sometimes £25 – and is mostly people buying them for their kids. But there is interest in this as well as in prepay.

Promotional gifts feature heavily in our Christmas forecasting – we are giving a free iPod with every connection, and free Acer netbooks with certain purchases. We have decided to use this sort of promotion as consumers have requested it. The interest is generated by Carphone Warehouse, which tends to set the standard for this sort of thing.

Christmas number one?
The Nokia 6700 is our best seller on prepay and contract; it’s a little ‘blingy’ and people like it. There is a lot of early interest in the Sony Ericsson Satio and Blackberry Storm 2 also.


Jamie Tomlinson
marketing manager, Buymobilephones.net

We have had record sales despite being in a recession. We plan a range of Windows 7 laptops as free gifts which will boost things even more.

T-Mobile is increasingly popular due to the strength of packages we can put together. The low tariffs combined with high-end free gifts is a winning formula. When times are tight, people look for the best deals. Free gifts essentially mean two gifts for the price of one, so sales surge at Christmas.

We will expand our range of gifts so we continue to offer something unique. We also have high-end audio equipment from Vita and Sony eBook readers available free on new contracts.

Christmas number one?
The Samsung Tocco Lite has a nice touchscreen at a very good price, and is currently a top-seller.