EE sets three year plan to lead market for B2B connections

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The operator’s CEO Olaf Swantee told Mobile News it will strengthen indirect channel partnerships to drive business connections

EE is to ramp up its focus on B2B connections made through the indirect dealer channel, after the launch of its 4G network sparked a six-month high for sales.

This was the message from EE CEO Olaf Swantee, who was speaking to Mobile News following the release of the firm’s Q1 financial results last week (see mobilenewscwp.co.uk for more details).

Sources at EE claim the past six months have seen the highest number of B2B connections in recent years.

At the end of June, EE had more than 2,400 corporate accounts using 4G, with sales in B2B the highest, Mobile News understands.

Swantee said around 50 per cent of all business connections have been on a 4GEE tariff in recent months, compared to one in four at the start of the year.

He added EE will look to form closer relationships with existing indirect partners, as well as improve its marketing communications to ensure growth continues.

“We recognise the importance of indirect partners in this area, particularly in SMB but also medium-sized accounts,” Swantee said.

“We want to work even closer with the indirect channel and strengthen our relationship to drive this forward.”

Support boost

Swantee’s remarks echo those made by EE director of indirect sales Nathan Vautier and sales director Marc Allera at a quarterly dealer event held in London earlier this month (July 18).

An audience of more than 60 dealers and EE airtime distributors heard the operator would be placing a greater focus on the indirect channel, the firm vowing to boost support levels for dealers, it was claimed.

EE is also looking to increase the number of key dealer partners it has after announcing five new top-tier ‘principal partners’ – BridgeOne Telecom, Abica, Advanced Mobile, Rainbow Communications and JHL Communications.

This followed an earlier announcement that it was to reduce this number by two-thirds to around 600.

The operator has also identified Scotland and East Anglia as key areas for growth.

Three-year plan

Sources close to EE also claim the firm has set a three-year target to “capitalise” on being the market leader for 4G and become the UK’s “number one choice” for business customers.

One source said: “Partners have been out in the market talking about 4G since it was launched in October 2012, and in recent months they’ve seen that hard work pay huge dividends as business sales reach volumes in excess of anything they’ve seen on any one of its previous brands over the years.

“Growing the team now is vital to meeting demand and delivering on its ambitions.”

Apology

Vautier is also said to have apologised to dealers following the well-documented problems surrounding the firm’s ongoing revenue share model,which have resulted in some partners being owed “hundreds of thousands of pounds” in commissions since EE’s launch last October.

He revealed that a recent “multimillion-pound” upgrade of its ‘SAP’ system on July 1 has been completed and will see all revenue share for new business paid on a monthly basis starting from this month.

The backlog of payments due to dealers, however, may not be fully resolved until the beginning of next year, dealers claim.

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