Alcatel One Touch is a brand on a mission to revitalise the sub-£100 smartphone market.
Having launched its first Android devices with O2 last year and seen market growth of 94% over the last five years – from 95,000 units shipped in 2005 to 1.6m units for the UK and 36.2 million units globally in 2010 – the TCL-owned company is looking to make a big impact with the launch of a series of low-cost touch-screen smartphones, ranging from 4.3-inch devices to the more traditional 2.8-inch offerings, within the first half of next year.
Speaking to Mobile, UK and Ireland country director William Paterson said the company has firmly established its brand credentials following its rebrand nine months ago.
‘People know our phones because they are built with a series of aspiring features, accompanied by beautiful designs that are available at low price points and come with extra value assets like interchangeable back covers.’
Much of the firm’s customer base – predominantly 18-34-year-olds, with around 74% of these women – has been acquired through its decision to offer retailers and networks a series of exclusive products.
Paterson says Alcatel One Touch’s new Android phones will also come in this fashion and he hopes its investment in 3G will see it working with Three in addition to the other main operators.
‘We will continue to customise our products to offer our partners some sort of exclusivity and more reasons for the product to stand out on the shelf and in buyer guides.’
The firm has also invested heavily in PR with product placement in magazines such as Grazia and social media competitions offering secret concert tickets on Facebook and Twitter run in association with Phones 4u.
Paterson explains: ‘We’ve done three gigs so far with Professor Green, Miss Dynamite and Eliza Doolittle. The feedback we get online for these is fantastic and really connects us with customers.
‘We want to carry on pursuing these opportunities and presenting the next best artists under our brand identity before they breach into the mainstream.’
TCL’s acquisition of a Sagem plant in Ningbo, China for research and development (R&D) will also be central to global growth plans, including ‘watching the progress of Windows Phone 7.5 to see if
we should be using it next’.
Alcatel One Touch’s debut tablet (the One Touch T60) has been released in Asia and some parts of Europe, but Paterson concedes ‘it will probably come to the UK next year, but only if the market looks right’.
Alongside its growing smartphone business, Alcatel One Touch is also known for its novelty factor, producing unofficial souvenirs to mark various events, including the World Cup and the Royal Wedding. Paterson hints that more products may follow next year.
‘The World Cup England phone we did with The Sun last year is our fastest selling prepay product. We’re in conversations about potential London 2012 and Euro 2012 products.’
It is clear to see why Paterson boldly declares ‘we are pushing the market to new levels’, but all eyes will inevitably be on the R&D findings to see what’s next for Alcatel One Touch.