Sims4U in biggest prepay SIM card roll-out


Distributor signs deal to supply network SIM cards to 30,000 newsagents and 800 independent mobile phone dealers

Sims4U is to roll-out around 500,000 prepay SIM cards to all 30,000 UK newsagents and 800 independent mobile dealers by the end of the year, claiming to be the biggest SIM card distribution facility in the UK.

The Birmingham-based prepay SIM card distributor was founded by Ian Watson and his business partner Damian Wingham, who both hold a 50 per cent share in the company. Watson is managing director of B2B dealer Voice Mobile, which is one of four dealers to hold Orange ‘principal’ partner status. Sims4U is a separate limited company from Voice Mobile but is based in the same Fort Dunlop building.

Sims4U distributes prepay SIM cards for all major networks except Three, as well as MVNOs Virgin Mobile, Lycamobile, Lebara Mobile, Nomi-Mobile and Talk Mobile. It has taken four years to launch as a result of trials with newsagents to assess the success rate the operation could achieve.

Its customers include newspaper and magazine wholesalers Smiths News and Menzies Distribution. Smiths News claims to deliver to 30,000 retailers across England and Wales while Menzies Distribution claims to serve some 22,000 customers in the UK.

Before each SIM card is supplied to a shop, it is electronically registered on the same in-house tracking system used by Voice Mobile. The system lets the company track where the card is being distributed, how many a shop has in its possession, the ratio at which it is selling and when they are being connected by the agent.

Agents keep all the money created by the sale of SIM cards. Sims4U is also providing marketing material from the networks in a move director Watson claimed can drive up market share for the networks in the prepay sector.

“We’ve formulated the biggest SIM card distribution facility in the UK, proven by the long-term contracts we’ve signed with Smiths News and Menzies Distribution, both multi-million pound turnover companies,” he said.

“There are around 30,000 newsagents in the UK and that is the mass market for prepay SIM cards. In inner-city areas there are hundreds of newsagents selling these SIM cards. We want to take over the whole route to market for that type of customer.

“Every UK newsagent can have marketing from a network within a couple of days. If a network wants to launch a new offer and get posters into shops or target a demographic such as students and get marketing material into stores around colleges and universities, we can do that as well.

“We’ve designed this around what we think the networks want. They don’t want a lot of unconnected SIM cards in the market, not knowing where they are. There won’t be wasted SIM cards in the channel so this is the perfect solution for them.”