Vodafone is expected to confirm more approved iPhone dealers by the end of the month, and will bring on board 20 more in total by the end of May.
It has already partnered with 20 dealer partners for sale of Apple iPhone devices, including 10 direct ‘premier partner’ dealers and 10 Yes Telecom ‘gold partner’ connectors. It is the first UK operator to launch the iPhone via direct and indirect channels simultaneously.
Mobile News understands Vodafone originally submitted all its 25 premier partners and most of its 40 gold partners last month to Apple, which checked each business and approved a number based upon their track records in the SME market and their attendant market plans.
Prospective partners are requested to submit a business plan to Vodafone for Apple’s consideration, and to enter a training and accreditation process subsequently.
Other Apple stipulations for sale of the iPhone demand all shop staff must own an iPhone themselves. Some dealers have complained it requires considerable investment on their part to get staff kitted out.
Vodafone UK enterprise director Peter Kelly told Mobile News: “The next 20 partners are lined up. They are currently going through Apple-approved training, and will be able to sell iPhones by our Q1, which ends in May, subject to approval.
“Yes Telecom is very effective as a distribution arm, and this is shown through our close relationship, and its support of dealers. The end result for a Vodafone and Yes Telecom dealers will be the same – you will get the same level of training required.
“Our indirect partners that are currently selling the iPhone have done very well. The network is ready to support the high number of customers we will gain on the back of the iPhone deal.
“Although today the iPhone is very much a consumer device, more and more enterprise customers are asking for it. We have got the phone at a critical time, when uptake of Apple in the business market is increasing. The quality of the service is a differentiator. We can provide business customers with a ‘sure signal’ (femtocell). We have included Wi-Fi in partnership with BT.”
Kelly said 30 per cent of revenue from enterprise business comes from the dealer market, and that 50 per cent of SME business goes indirect.
“Historically, we brought products out direct and then indirect, but the power of the enterprise play with the iPhone means a simultaneous launch.”
Yes Telecom is expected to be set up as its distribution agent for all connectors in the coming months. Kelly said: “Yes is performing very well. It is a vehicle dealers rate highly.”