Voda plan to hike 40pc SME share


Vodafone is in continuing talks with fixed line and IT dealers to sell its unified communications SME proposition, Vodafone OneNet.

Vodafone enterprise director Peter Kelly said cross-selling the fixed mobile convergence (FMC) product into its existing customer base would be a key part of the strategy to gain new connections of the product, but it would also look to expand its reach through the indirect channel.

It is to focus heavily this year on penetrating the SME market, of which it currently ‘owns’ 40 per cent and said the indirect channel plays a vital role in securing connections in that space.

Kelly said: “This year, we will continue to invest heavily in winning share in the SME market place through the indirect channel. This may involve recruiting more dealers and our unified communications package allows us to now attract dealers in fixed line and IT who can potentially sell One and OneNet. The dealer channel is critical to us.

“We are number one in the enterprise market today. Our corporate market share is 50 per cent and our SME market share is 40 per cent. The SME market place is very important because it provides high ARPU.
“Am I happy with the market share we have? No. You can’t be happy with the share you have. We must remain respectful of competitors but not be content with our market share.”

Vodafone’s customer base is split 70/30 between consumers and business users. Kelly said the launch of Vodafone One and OneNet will encourage more of a balance between consumer and business connections.

It said 800,000 of its business customers use smartphones to read emails and the number is “rapidly growing”, providing it with an angle to market the iPhone to business users.

The iPhone has been a key focus for Vodafone’s business division since it launched on the network on January 14. Kelly has rejected claims the ‘hero’ phone has inferior security capabilities to other smartphones on the market, claiming the device is a top quality, business-grade mobile.

Said Kelly: “I was surprised at the capabilities of the iPhone especially in terms of the security services it offers businesses. Security is a hot topic for all businesses and Vodafone has an understanding of businesses’ security needs, as does Apple.

“We have spent a lot of time with Apple discussing the needs of business users and have found that the security functions the iPhone has are up to scratch with their needs. The iPhone protects against viruses through a firewall and it is constantly encrypted. A business’ IT department can configure the device and if it is lost, the device can be remotely wiped.”

Head of large customer sales Amanda Baker added: “If a network is to deploy smartphones for businesses, it has to be reliable. We have been investing heavily in the 3G infrastructure and deployed over one thousand sites last year. We will continue to invest in the network capabilities this year to make sure we have a robust network.

“Vodafone has a strong heritage in the business market, while the iPhone has its heritage in the consumer space until now. But, with the growing amount of business applications on the device, more business users are requesting it. It’s no longer just a social networking device.”