Airtime distributor’s base set to top 150,000
Mainline Communications says it is on track to achieve its target of doubling its connection base within the first two years of being acquired by operator EE.
The ambitious target was revealed to Mobile News by Mainline managing director Martin Tufft, who joined the firm in October, replacing Andrew Boden.
Tufft said the firm has seen monthly connections double since EE completed its acquisition at the end of 2014, while its number of dealer partners has now topped 150, after adding 50 new partners (30 of which were EE direct) over the past 12 months. It also expects similar additions this year.
Mobile News understands the airtime distributor now has a base of 100,000 and is currently averaging around 5,000 new connections per month. Neither Mainline nor EE would confirm these figures.
“By the end of this year, we’ll be doing double the number of connections that we were doing when the business was purchased and operating with double the base,” said Tufft. “I’m aware of the issues with commission payments and we’ve done a lot of work to get those resolved”
He added its recent success had been aided by heavy investment from EE, which has helped change its perception in the market, claiming its customer satisfaction scores are at an all time high.
Investments made include employment of additional staff to better support partners and upgrades to back office systems used by partners.
Tufft also claimed the number of dealers experiencing issues surrounding the accuracy of commission payments from EE has fallen by more than 70 per cent since it acquired Mainline. EE blamed the issues on problems caused by switching partners to payment system “SAP” in 2012, after the launch of 4GEE. The platform, later branded “unfit for purpose” by EE, had resulted in a number of dealers being underpaid, with some claiming at the time to be owed “millions”.
“I’m aware of the issues with commission payments and we’ve done a lot of work to get those resolved. The number of queries we’ve had about these issues has dropped by 70 per cent over the last year, and that is evidenced by our satisfaction scores. It is absolutely vital that our partners are getting paid the right amounts on time, because if they’re not then they won’t give us good scores.
“One of the benefits of being a wholly-owned subsidiary of EE is that we have a close working relationship with EE’s finance teams who are running the commission system. So if we don’t see something appear on our report, we are very quickly on that with the people in EE to make sure it never becomes an issue.”