3/23/2009 10:20:00 AM
Opal Telecom's head of reseller and distribution talks to Mobile Dealer Extra
Tell us about Opal.
We have been actively servicing 150,000 business customers over the last 12 years. We have the financial backing of Carphone Warehouse and have invested over £200m in developing a next generation network.
Is Opal adopting the same challenger position to BT on business that TalkTalk did in the consumer market?
Absolutely, we make no apologies that this is an aggressive move for the business broadband market. And the question is; why has BT kept prices so high? The day we released the £10 broadband package, BT reacted by dropping prices.
BT really dominates that market, what are your targets?
Our share of the b2b market is currently 2%. Our plan is to achieve a 10% share by the end of 2009.
That sounds quite ambitious. How will you achieve that?
At this time of economic uncertainty we are driving value to the trade, and value to the customer. You can buy bundles – unlimited national and local peak rate calls costs £6, or unlimited evening and weekend calls costs £6. For another £6 you get inclusive minutes to mobiles.
So, why are you going to use mobile dealers?
The mobile networks are moving away from upfront commissions. It is a very uncertain time. We have seen an opportunity here to sell to dealers.
Why do you think dealers will start selling fixed line?
It is a horrible economic climate and finding sales is tough. It is easier to sell the same stuff to your existing base, rather than trying to find new customers.
Why use dealers when most telecoms providers are marketing directly to customers?
The independent dealer is best placed to understand the local market. They have typically built up a reputation in the local SME and SoHo community. And that community relies on simple, honest and impartial advice.
I’ve heard that slogan before. Is the relationship with Carphone a stumbling block with dealers?
We’re part of TalkTalk group, which is separate from Carphone’s retail and distribution business.
How are you reaching dealers?
We have signed up a distribution network of EBS, Hugh Symons, Avenir and DMSL UK since the start of this year. The feedback we’re getting from their dealers is that our service is exactly what they need at the moment.
The big question: how much will they get paid?
The 24MB broadband for £10 per month with a 100GB usage allowance, and a free high-quality router, earns upfront commissions of £100 per contract. That is pure income. We do the fulfilment of the router and all the subsequent customer care. The dealer is not forking out any hardware upfront.