6/10/2010 2:08:00 PM
Paul Sisson, A1 Comms and Buymobilephones.net
How long have you been established?
A1 Comms was set up in
1997 as a retail high street business. We opened a small chain of high
street outlets consisting of 14 shops around market towns in the
Derbyshire area. In 1999 we launched A1comms.co.uk. We realized that to
get people interested in buying online, we had to be really competitive,
and this affected the kind of deals we did in shops.
Buymobilephones.net was launched as a white label in 2003 and really
started to get going in 2004-5. Eventually it was selling more than all
of my stores put together. We sold the shops in 2006 and have
concentrated on the online business ever since.
another part of the business?
A1 Comms has been established as a
b2b business for the local area and continues to go from strength to
How has Buymobilephones.net grown?
company has grown enormously. Initially, Buymobilephones operated out of
the cellar of one of the shops and had only three or four members of
staff. The profit from the website allowed us to buy a head office in
November 2004, and we have had to take staff on. We have established
different parts of the business and now employ more than 60 people. Last
year we had a turnover of £30m.
What are the benefits of
The shops barely made enough money between them
to cover their overheads. The internet allows for much more volume with
relatively low overheads. The main cost comes from getting people on to
the website through advertising. The internet gives us the ability to
compete with bigger players in the industry.
What networks do
We connect all of the networks apart from Vodafone.
The key thing is to have a broad range of handsets – there are over one
million separate offers on the website.
Have there been any
other key achievements recently?
At T-Mobile’s conference in
January we won best quality of customer and highest number of
connections. To make this business a success, it is important that we
are profitable. We have a very low fraud rate and do not want to lose
money through clawbacks – we can’t afford excessive clawbacks.
are the plans for the future?
We try to improve as we grow. As
we have made more money, we have had the ability to invest that money
back into the business. Just after Christmas we built our own call
centre, expanded into the building next to us, and employed someone with
management experience. We now have an inbound call centre for customer
service and a separate inbound team for sales. We’re in the process of
establishing an outbound retention team. We want to continue growing the
business. Our turnover will easily exceed £40m this year, and I would
like to reach a turnover of £100m in the next few years.