B2B dealers and distributors fume over Samsung S6 snub

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Indirect channels were not part of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 smartphone launch plans last week. Samsung “working hard” on bringing device to more channels.

B2B resellers and distributors have been left “angry and frustrated” after learning Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 edge handsets will not be available through the indirect channel until at least the end of the month.

The devices, unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February,went on sale through all major UK mobile retailers and operators last Friday.

However, sources at a number of Samsung’s hardware distributors,which include Brightstar, Exertis, Ingram Micro Mobility and Data Select say they do not expect to receive stock until next month – leaving them and their customers at a “significant disadvantage” for what is the biggest handset launch of the year so far.

One distribution source, who requested to remain anonymous through fear of repercussion, told Mobile News: “It’s important to ensure the channel gets the handset at the same time as the networks and retailers so everyone is on a level playing field. The decision not to do that immediately puts us on the back foot.”

Second Class Citizens

Another source from a rival distributor added: “It’s very disappointing, especially for resellers, as they will feel they are being treated like second class citizens by Samsung. Samsung-Galaxy-S6-edge-web

“We should receive stock at the end of the month, although we haven’t been given a clear idea on exactly when or what quantities we can expect.”

“Phenomenal interest”

A Samsung spokesperson said the manufacturer had received “phenomenal interest” in the new devices and was  “working hard” to ensure all channels will have access to stock in the near future.

“Samsung UK is working hard to ensure that all colour variations for pre-orders and sales across all channels can be fulfilled as soon as possible.”

Dealers have also voiced their concerns, claiming the “snub” could have a significant impact on their business to the point where they could lose customers.

Failed promises

Despite high demand, with pre-orders said to be more than 20 million globally, dealers say Samsung has gone against its promises to support the channel, following similar issues surrounding poor availability of the S5 last year.

Many that spoke to Mobile News say they are already seeking alternative measures to acquire stock, including through Samsung’s official website (£599 SIM free) or via international grey market traders to reduce the immediate impact on their business.

“It will have a massive impact on us,” said one dealer. “Allocation of stock for the Galaxy S4 and S5 was particularly bad as well but Samsung had been making positive noises about this launch but you always had that fear the high street would get priority. Those fears have now been realised. ”

Another added: “The big manufacturers have always snubbed B2B for consumer. It has been the same with Apple products. We’ve seen a lot of demand for the S6, on par with some iPhone launches. We’re going to have to look at what other routes there are to market. If a customer can’t get it from us they’ll get it from somewhere else – we have to be prepared for that.”

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