Nokia ends agreement with 20:20 and Data Select


Manufacturer will join up with Micro-P and IT focused Ingram Micro at the end of the year

Nokia has announced it will end its distribution agreements with 20:20 Mobile and Data Select at the end of the year, opting to join up with Micro-P and IT focused distributor Ingram Micro.

Micro-P becomes Nokia’s chosen distributor within the consumer and business telecom dealer channel while Ingram Micro takes on the role of its distributor within the business IT reseller channel.

Nokia has also strengthened its relationship with accessories distributor Kondor, which becomes Nokia’s franchise accessories partner.

The appointments of the three distributors are the result of a six month review process, Nokia says.

The decision is believed to be based around Nokia’s desire to align its strategy with more IT focused distributors and comes after Nokia UK and Ireland general manager Conor Pierce (pictured) told Mobile News last month a review of its distribution strategy was imminent.

In a statement released today, Nokia UK head of retail and distribution James Kitto said the appointments were aligned with its “vision and strategic growth plans”.

“The combination of this new distribution model and the launch of the Nokia UK Partner Network will help drive value for the entire ecosystem, and enable Nokia UK to deliver the best mobile phone and smartphone solutions to our customers right across the marketplace,” Kitto said.

20:20 Mobile reaction

20: 20 Mobile managing director of UK and Central Eastern Europe James Browning said the loss of the Nokia account was disappointing after 20 years, but said the distributor’s “market leading position” would not be affected.

Browning said Nokia had made it clear to its partners that it required a more focused approach to its new Windows Phone 7 operating system, which 20:20 Mobile was unable to provide due to the agreements it has in place with other manufacturers.

“Whilst it is disappointing that our relationship with Nokia has come to an end after many years of cooperation, the most important thing is that 20:20 Mobile continues to offer our customers an end-to-end solution, as well as a wide portfolio of products across multiple operating systems,” Browning said.

He also said 20:20 Mobile’s focus on Nokia had declined over the years as other manufacturers came to prominence.

“Nokia has been a key player in the market but has clearly reduced in importance to 20:20 Mobile due to its declining market share and the strength of our new relationships.

“With this in mind, our partner and supplier strategy is clear and we are confident that our approach provides the best overall market offer to our customer base and safeguards our relationship with our other suppliers.”

Browning added that 20:20 Mobile would continue to offer Windows Phone 7 products via its other vendors and that the distributor’s agreement with Nokia in its other European markets would remain unchanged.

Data Select “disappointment”

Data Select said it was “disappointed” by Nokia’s decision and echoed Browning’s statement in regards to Nokia’s position in the market.

A spokesperson for Data Select said it had achieved a high level of sales success for the manufacturer and had “ploughed” in a lot of investment and energy into Nokia over the course of the pair’s ten year relationship.

“We respect but cannot comprehend the decision Nokia has made. At a time when Nokia’s market share is reducing and their product portfolio relatively weak, not to appoint the UK’s two largest distributors is a surprise,” the spokesperson said.

“With Nokia’s market share in decline for a long period, Data Select’s reliance on Nokia has reduced and growth across vendors including Samsung, LG, Motorola, Blackberry and Sony Ericsson has offset this. As a result, the opportunity for our vendor partners to increase sales within Data Select is considerable”.

The spokesperson said Data Select would continue to support Nokia and its Nokia customers until the end of the year when it expected to have alternative supplies for Nokia devices in place.

They added moving forward Data Select’s strategy would continue to focus on the growth of its vendors and their operating systems, devices and ecosystems.

“We have always been vendor agnostic, providing exceptional service levels to our vendor partners,” the spokesperson said.

“Our customer focus will remain unchanged, supplying to the independent dealer, retailer and etailer channels as the distributor of choice in the UK.

New partner reaction

Micro P managing director Gerry O’Keefe said: “We are incredibly excited to join Nokia on this exciting journey and work with UK dealers to help build demand for the complete portfolio of Nokia devices amongst both consumer and business-focused audiences.

O’Keefe also said he wanted to make it clear that Micro P would continue to focus on the partnerships it has with its existing manufacturing partners.

Ingram Micro UK Managing Director Matt Sanderson said: “There is huge opportunity within the enterprise and SME market for powerful smartphone solutions that offer a simple and easy to manage way of connecting people with the information they need, when they need it.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Nokia, and bringing further mobile solutions to the IT reseller channel.”

Kondor commercial director Michael Bartlett said: “We’re very much looking forward to continuing to work with Nokia at this exciting time in their development.

“With the Nokia Gear Portfolio and our franchise agreement we can deliver a comprehensive accessory ecosystem to the UK market.”