Vodafone claims SME share tied with O2


Operator casts doubt over O2’s SME claims following increasingly strong OneNet sales

Vodafone claims its share of the SME market is equal to O2’s due, in part, to sales of its OneNet product.

Vodafone UK enterprise marketing director Peter Boucher (pictured) told Mobile News sales for the unified comms proposition, which become fully available to its elite dealers last year,
increased ten-fold between October and January and then doubled again between February and March.

It claims as a result to have caught up with rival operator O2 in the SME market, which O2 claimed to lead in September with a 40 per cent share. Vodafone, however, said these claims were “mathematically untrue” suggesting O2 only bases its analysis on those it trades with.

Boucher said: “The fact that they claim they (O2) are the out-and-out market leader is not backed up by any data.

“Our indications suggest that we are neck and neck (with O2) so their idea that they are the only one growing is just mathematically untrue.

“We have some partners who we trade solely with – so they only do Vodafone – so if you want we can tell you we have 100 per cent of the market share, because mathematically it’s true.”

Boucher called on O2 to submit its figures to an independent market research firm, suggesting GfK, for a clear SME market hierarchy to be established.

He said Vodafone along with T-Mobile and Orange had submitted their customer numbers to research companies, to establish more accurate market share statistics. Boucher, however, refused to disclose its own findings.

Boucher added: “We are working with Orange and T-Mobile to clear that one (market positions) up and we just need O2 to join the party. Then we might have a lovely discussion to see who is market leader.”

O2 declined to comment on whether it would submit its SME sales figures, but said it was confident it would continue to perform strongly in the market, highlighting the additional £7 million investment into its partner channel this year, as reported in Mobile News previously.

O2’s new general manager for small and medium businesses Simon Devonshire said: “We continue to invest in our SMB market, both directly and through our partners.
“SME continues to be a key focus for the business and we are looking forward to continued strong performance for the rest of 2011. As a result we have continued to win in this market.”