Alcatel eyes mid-tier move

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Manufacturer drops OneTouch brand as it launches new Idol 4 premium handset 

Alcatel claims its decision to ditch OneTouch from its brand name is part of plans to advance itself from being a low-end manufacturer into the mid-tier.

The vendor revealed the rebrand at Mobile World Congress, as well as a whole host of new devices, including its “most premium ever handset” the Idol 4.

Alcatel portfolio director for global products, William Dowie (pictured left) explained the thinking behind the rebrand at Alcatel’s MWC stand, where it exhibited the Idol 4, along with the POP 4 series of devices and Plus 10 laptop/tablet hybrid range.

Dowie told  Mobile News the brand is most popular among the under-35s, a segment that made up more than 75 per cent of global sales last year, while under-25s made up half of all sales.

Rebrand

“Our biggest market is millennials, and we definitely skew to that segment, so the rebranding is meant to help us focus our communication and how we position the products to that demographic and capture more of that share,” he said.

“One reason is to simplify our brand, but it also helps that Alcatel Lucent is now part of Nokia, so there is no confusion around the two brands.”

Part of Alcatel’s plans to promote the rebrand will be increasing global marketing spend. Last year, the firm announced its first ever above-the-line marketing campaign as it splashed more than $100 million on ad spend across 40 different countries.

Dowie confirmed the Chinese manufacturer will spend even more money this year, though he declined to reveal exact figures, in more than 50 countries within three months. of the Idol 4 launch.

Idol 4

The money will be used to promote the Idol 4 flagship, which was launched at MWC to a packed audience on Saturday February 20.

The reversible Idol 4 is Alcatel’s most expensive ever phone, retailing at an entry price of €279, although the launch bundle does include a VR headset, a pair of JBL earphone s (worth €40) and smart cover case.

Designer C.W. Park (pictured right) claimed the device was also Alcatel’s most premium handset in terms of design, including a fibreglass body, 13MP rear camera and 3.6 watt speakers.

Dowie explained that in 2015 the UK became its number one market within Europe, driven by the growing SIM-free market, though he declined to share figures.  Mobile News understands Alcatel sold nearly two million devices in the UK in 2015.

He also claimed that around 10 per cent of all customers taking up an Alcatel handset had moved from an iPhone, with nine per cent moving over from Samsung.

Mid-tier drive

“The growing SIM-free market has helped the UK become the most valuable country in Europe for us, but we’re also driving more products into the mid-tier as well.

UK pricing and availability for the Idol 4 had not been disclosed as  Mobile News went to press – the entry price in Europe will be €279.

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