Cellhire signs £3m deal with World Cup media companies


BBC and Sky among those using 14,000 Cellhire-run SIMs in Brazil

International SIM rental company Cellhire anticipates it will generate between £2-£3 million in revenues from the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

The York-based firm, which also rents handsets and satellite phones, is providing around 14,000 SIMs and a lesser number of handsets to global media outlets covering football’s biggest event.

Its customers will include the biggest global media companies such as the BBC, BSkyB, Reuters and Getty Images. Up to 15 members of staff will be on the ground at any one time and it is providing more than double the amount of SIMs it sent to South Africa 2010, when it provided 6,500 connections.

The £22 million-turnover firm has partnered with Brazil’s fourth-largest operator and FIFA partner Oi to provide reduced calling and data rates for media and multinational sponsors attending the World Cup. It says that while 70 per cent of the services it offers will be data, it has negotiated preferential rates for calls back to participating countries, with a call to the UK costing around 40p per minute as opposed to a charge of £1.50.

“We are all-systems-go for Brazil and we’re still selling now to a few unorganised customers who are yet to make decisions,” Cellhire UK managing director Matt Bennett (pictured) told Mobile News. “We have chosen Oi because they are the official partner, and generally speaking it’s better to go with FIFA’s telecoms sponsor if possible.”

It will be the first time Cellhire will be offering services under its own brand and that of its telecom partner.

Safety measures
Bennett explained that the volatile situation in Brazil, where there have protests against the large amounts spent on hosting the tournament, and high mugging and crime rates, means that security was a huge issue. It will be offering an in-house location app to track staff movements in Brazil and will be keeping additional stock across the country.

“There’s definitely a concern from a lot of the organisations that are going out there. There will be quite a few journalists on the news side of the organisation going there to report on the environment and civil unrest. There is a heightened level of security for this event and we will be stocking additional devices and SIMs at various locations throughout Brazil.”

The firm says that the London Olympics, where it provided 23,000 connections, has established it as the “dominant player” in the sector. It provided 14,000 SIMs for the Sochi Winter Olympics and has sealed a partnership with Rio Olympics telecoms partner Claro for the 2016 event, where it expects to have more than 20,000 SIMs.