2/2/2011 12:19:00 PM
Vodafone partner numbers to drop
Vodafone partner numbers will fall this year, according to Vodafone’s UK enterprise marketing director Peter Boucher.
The warning came at Vodafone Partner Services One Net event in Warwick last week – which was attended by around 140 Vodafone partners.
Speaking from the event, Boucher told Mobile: ‘When we launched the Vodafone Partner Programme last year our emphasis was on quality rather than quantity. The industry was quite fragmented and of varying quality.
‘We see us having a slightly smaller number of partners in the future. We are rolling out capability thresholds that our partners will need to hit and that combined with a consolidating market, which will probably see more acquisitions this year, will result in fewer numbers.’
Boucher (pictured) expects further convergence in the market this year, with some partners likely to merge or sell up in 2011.
Last year, Vodafone axed more than 100 dealers in a restructure that saw just 23 partners elevated to the elite Platinum tier, another 75 partners allocated to Gold and 300 to its Silver category.
Boucher said not all Vodafone’s partners are fully committed to delivering Vodafone’s unified comms One Net offering.
He said: ‘Some partners are already fully committed to unified comms and are helping us shape the proposition. Other partners were willing to make the transition but there are some traditional dealers on whom the jury is still out.’
He said partners had to show their commitment. ‘We are investing heavily in this proposition and dealers have to change their attitude as well. The industry is at a T-junction at the moment and our partners have to evolve and move with the times or fall behind.’
Boucher said the unified comms market is estimated to be worth £14bn, giving partners a clear incentive to make the grade. He also believes that 2011 will be the year the unified comms market finally takes off.
He said: ‘We are at the tipping point. I think these propositions will start to gain traction and start to become much more mainstream items.’
Boucher said Vodafone’s One Net proposition gives its partners a head start on the competition which they need to grasp this year, ‘before our competitors inevitably join the marketplace’.
A total of 50 Vodafone partners have become accredited One Net dealers, which includes all 23 Platinum partners and 27 Gold partners.
‘The next wave is about to come through,’ said Boucher, adding, ‘We have spent the winter working through a lot of training. No one will sell One Net until they are ready. This is a very different job – way beyond mobile.
We are lifting the quality bar on the industry, which has to be a good thing for the industry.’