MWC 2017: STK aims for third spot in smartphone market

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Giving customers control is a key differentiator for STK to achieve its targets

STK is aiming to sit behind Apple and Samsung in the UK’s five biggest smartphone manufacturers by 2021.

This was the bold target revealed by the company’s global commercial director Henri Salameh (pictured), who was speaking to Mobile News at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

According to analysts Canalys, the UK market in Q3 last year was dominated in terms of share by Apple (44.63 per cent) and Samsung (33.57 per cent), followed by Huawei (7.26 per cent), Sony (3.53 per cent) and Lenovo (2.84 per cent).

At the heart of its drive is STK Care, a monitoring tool which allows owners of any of its smartphone to self-diagnose their device for any problems. For example, users can access a tool which lets them check if their touchscreen or speakers are working to their full potential.

They are also able to access an online messaging centre built into the phone which puts them in live contact with a troubleshooting team in the UK. This team includes six employees among STK’s total base of 100. Launched in a beta stage last year, it had been made standard on all commercial STK devices at the start of 2017.

Unique services

Salameh claimed giving customers such control of these devices would help differentiate STK and achieve its goals.

“It’s not enough having a device that’s affordable. You need a product with features that stand out.

“STK Care can help us do that. Users have absolute control and can see any problems their devices have. That makes us unique because I don’t know of any other handset with similar features.

“Our customers can simply avoid the hassle of having to take their phone to an operator or a third party repairer when there is a problem. This reduces the steps and will be at the heart of all our products. I’m confident having unique features like these can help us get into the top five in the UK in the next four years.”

STK specialises in sub-£200 smartphones. It has four devices in its range: Hero, Galactic, Storm and Sync. It was formed in 1993 as accessories distributor Santok before moving into internal manufacturing six years later. It rebranded to STK last year.

In the UK, it partnered with mobile industry consultancy Our Perspective to expand its sales reach in the region. It is currently in talks with a number of retailers and B2B distributors about stocking its devices.

At last year’s MWC, Salameh told Mobile News that striking the right partnerships with UK distributors was key in growing STK’s presence.

Most of its significant growth has been outside of the UK in some 150 markets, which include Mexico, the US and Spain. Last year saw the firm record revenues of £15 million in the UK, part of a global £50 million figure. Total worldwide shipments stood at 1.8 million, up from 1.6 million the previous year.

New appointment

STK has also appointed former Kazam vice president of sales Rakesh Odedra as its new UK and Europe head of device sales.

Odedra joined STK at the start of December last year. He had been at fellow challenger manufacturer Kazam since September 2013. He was previously Lycamobile UK and Ireland sales director (June 2012 to June 2013) and Lebara Mobile head of sales (April 2011 to May 2012).

Duties in the newly created role will see Odedra drive sales throughout the UK and Europe,whilst also leading the sales team.

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