Vodafone reveals six-month plan to topple O2 B2B lead

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Enterprise director Peter Kelly reveals three-step mission to overtake O2’s business market share as dealer partners are assured One Net problems are now resolved

Vodafone last week celebrated the first year of its restructured VPS indirect business by telling dealers it is on track to overtake O2 for B2B business share.

The claim came from Vodafone enterprise director Peter Kelly (pictured), who appeared alongside CEO Guy Laurence, small business director Tim Stone and head of partner services Tony Bailey at a Vodafone partner event held in Hook, Hampshire, last week.

O2 claims to have a market share across SME of around 40 per cent – a figure it claimed last year was between five and 10 per cent higher than Vodafone. Vodafone refused to confirm its own B2B market share.

Bailey told Mobile News connections and revenues from the indirect channel have increased 20 per cent since the partner programme was launched last December. Churn has reduced by one per cent also.

Bailey said Vodafone was “winning” against its rivals in the indirect channel – particularly those from its platinum and gold tiers, which were responsible for a “large proportion” of One Net and One Net Express sales.

Kelly told dealers the independent channel accounted for between 40 per cent and 45 per cent of the business won in 2011.

Stone said indirect is now “outperforming” Vodafone’s own direct channel.

Stone said: “We have larger growth in our indirect business, and our partners are right at the centre of that.”

Bailey added: “We have been port-positive for the whole year. We know we are winning against our competition. What we have done over the past year is a credit to our partners.”

One Net and Cloud
Laurence told dealers the operator has a three-step plan focused on data services, and is a year ahead of its rivals for market- leading Cloud-based services such as One Net and Microsoft Office 365.

The remarks seemingly reject comments made by O2 business director Ben Dowd in October, when he stated Vodafone was not competitive in the IT and ICT space. Vodafone refused to respond to Dowd’s comments, however.

Stone also said Vodafone was on track to hit its internal One Net target, which it told platinum partners at the same event in January 2010 was 175,000 by 2015. Vodafone refused to confirm this figure.

Stone did say there are “tens of thousands” of One Net customers in the UK today. He claimed there are 1.7 million users across Vodafone’s European markets – an increase of 700,000 in a year.

Dealers in attendance told Mobile News Vodafone was “adamant” all issues surrounding One Net experienced this year have now been fully rectified and complaint ‘tickets’ were virtually zero.

A number of dealers, who had heavily criticised the product previously and stopped offering it because of complaints, claim they now have a renewed confidence. One Net targets were scrapped in September.

The product will receive a number of updates, which Voddafone says will be implemented during Q2 and Q3 next year. Dealers will also receive additional training and accreditations.

Stone said there was “unilateral” support for One Net from the dealer channel.

“Our partners almost unilaterally believe this is the right product and Vodafone is doing the right thing. They can see the opportunity to move out of mobile and into adjacent markets, which gives them an opportunity to grow their business.

“We are investing in it month on month. The product is working and we are investing on a day-by-day basis. It is a groundbreaking product and it is working as we expected it to work. This gives us a real lead in the market.”

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