Claure: Brightstar 20:20 to rule Europe

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Exclusive: Firm to leverage relationships to win new business in the European market

Brightstar chief executive Marcelo Claure says he will turn Brightstar 20:20 into the leading wireless service provider in the UK and Europe.

Claure (pictured) told Mobile News during an exclusive interview at Mobile World Congress the firm will look to leverage and extend its service and distribution supply agreements with existing partners which have operations both in and outside of Europe.

Brightstar claims to have relationships with more than 200 network operators (including Telefonica and Vodafone) and 40,000 retailers. Brightstar 20:20 has around 8,000 active customers including network operators, MVNOs, retailers, independent telecoms specialists, distributors and insurance providers.

Claure added Brightstar, which he describes as the biggest mobile distributor on the planet, will increase handset shipments to around 138 million this year (no year-on-year comparison available), of which around seven million with go through its European arm.

“When you compare us to the other pan-European distributors, I believe we are larger or at least the same size as the likes of Ingram Micro and Tech Data, so we are all competing to be number one.

Local knowledge
“We have good knowledge of the UK market, because we created what is now Tech Data Mobile today and companies like Ingram and Micro-P are all good players, so it’s a very diverse market. But we are aggressive, and we will grow our business not just in the UK but Europe and take a position of leadership.

“Acquiring 20:20 gives us a great platform. Brightstar is the world’s largest distributor in the mobility space and we have deep relationships with all OEMs. This year alone we are going to purchase more than 130 million devices – and if you add 20:20 to that, it will rise to around 137-138 million phones.

“In many cases we are the world’s largest buyer of mobile phones, so we will look to leverage that and make sure 20:20 is distributing phones and products where Brightstar has a good relationship.

We offer a lot of services to the market (channel management, logistics and manufacturer services), and by bringing these in to 20:20 and leveraging that platform we can go after the operator business in Europe.”

Claure said he expects revenues at Brightstar to more than double to over $20 billion this year with at least $5 billion coming from the acquisition of 20:20 Mobile and SBB in Japan.

Revenue boost
Around 10 per cent ($2 billion) of those revenues are to come from Brightstar 20:20. Claure added that Brightstar has been boosted by a number of contract wins since selling a 57 per cent stake in the business to present majority owners Japanese firm SoftBank last year for $1.26 billion.

The Japanese telecom and internet giant has a healthy annual turnover and employs more than 62,000 people globally, and recently acquired a 72 per cent majority stake in US operator Sprint for around $21.6 billion.

Claure said the partnership with SoftBank will open a lot of doors for Brightstar, regarding service and supply contracts.

“The SoftBank investment gives us tremendous financial strength and access to customers we didn’t serve.”

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