Samsung reunites with 20:20 Mobile after three years


New deal was kept ‘under the radar’ to avoid Nokia distribution review conflict

Distributor 20:20 Mobile is understood to have regained its authorised Samsung status three years after it was fired for allegedly handling grey stock. The deal apparently does not include accessories.

Both 20:20 Mobile and Samsung declined to confirm or deny that an official arrangement has been put in place.

Mobile News understands 20:20 Mobile has been working “under the radar” with Samsung for the past few months supplying Samsung devices to a small number of accounts including MVNO partners. 20:20 Mobile customers include Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Phones 4U, Comet, DSGi, Amazon and Argos.

Brightstar Europe will remain the sole provider of Samsung handsets for the supermarket chain Tesco, however.

Executives from 20:20 Mobile attended Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy Note smartphone (pictured) at Battersea Power Station recently.

Samsung will now be added to 20:20 Mobile’s official handset portfolio, which includes Huawei, Sony Ericsson, LG, RIM and HTC.

It also means Samsung is being handled by all major UK handset distributors such as Brightstar Europe, Data Select and Micro-P.

When 20:20 Mobile lost Nokia to Micro-P and Ingram Micro two months ago 20:20 Mobile managing director James Browning (pictured) said a number of manufacturers were interested in filling the void.

The new relationship with  Samsung has been kept low-key for the past few months because 20:20 Mobile did not want the Samsung association to harm its attempts to hang on to the Nokia account.

Apparently the ruse has worked. Nokia is understood to have been unaware of the new Samsung deal, which played no part in its decision to leave 20:20 Mobile.

Three years ago, 20:20 Mobile was fired as a Samsung distribution partner by then Samsung vice president of mobile Mark Mitchinson, who is now masterminding Huawei’s UK device launches to the channel.

The Crewe-based distributor claimed the stock was made in Samsung’s factory and was surplus to previous orders. It was then sold on local markets as unofficial stock.

Mitchinson also axed 20:20 Mobile as an official accessory distributor in 2009 for selling counterfeit chargers to UK customers.