Home is not only where the heart is for Simply Telecom owner and MD Matthew Morrow, but a hotbed of opportunity as the Northern Ireland based dealer attempts to trump its rivals by stepping up its efforts in its homeland.
Several local competitors are venturing into new lands, but the ambitious Morrow believes they’re missing a trick and hopes to capitalise. He told Mobile: ‘A lot of our competitors are moving their focus away from Northern Ireland, which means they are not necessarily delivering the best service to their current market which represents an opportunity for us. We are the local face of the networks and some of our rivals are looking at the grass being greener on the other side.
‘Maintaining our progress in the Northern Ireland market is going to be key for us in the next 12 months. If we were going to explore new markets, it would be in the Republic of Ireland, although at the moment we don’t need to be all things to all men.’
The company has ‘progressed rapidly’ over the past 12 months. It officially rebranded to its current guise from Simply Mobile in April 2013 and the past year has seen its customer base more than double to ‘just over 2,000’. However, the diversification of products is not something that happened overnight with the rebrand, according to Morrow. He said: ‘We already had a lot of products and services like fixed line and broadband and we wanted to educate customers about us providing these. The portfolio was there before the rebrand, although we were primarily mobile. The suite of products has developed.’
Simply describes itself as a ‘small business specialist’ and the owner agreed its sweet spot is ‘organisations with 5-30 mobile connections’, although clients vary from ‘the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker to companies with excess of 100 connections’. To move with the expansion of products and services, Simply has worked hard to bring in ‘industry specific staff’, hiring employees with experience working for O2, Vodafone, and now individuals with telecoms expertise. Premises have also been expanded, which has given Simply more autonomy in its operations.
Morrow added: ‘Historically we worked through distributors, but since we moved to larger premises we have cultivated direct relationships with vendors. We want to use this opportunity to implement customer experience areas in the office, providing training sessions and presentations for customers. We want to encourage clients to have a hands-on experience and that’s where we truly add value.’
The former O2 employee talked of Simply’s ‘keen relationship’ with the operator, but although the ‘majority’ of its customers are on O2, Simply prides itself on its ‘impartiality’. The prospect of 4G as a universal proposition also makes for exciting times. Morrow said: ‘4G is a massive opportunity for us. We have a client who won’t sign a new deal until O2 4G comes over to Northern Ireland. If it doesn’t come over soon they’ll transfer to EE – that’s how crucial it is.’
Morrow has worked quickly in trying to get the firm’s name out there, and earlier this month signed a sponsorship deal with Belfast’s Grand Opera House. He is optimistic growth will continue, although he doesn’t see any acquisitions on the horizon for the time being. He said: ‘We want to continue to grow organically as we’ve been successful with what we’ve done to date, but who knows what will happen in the future.’