2012: B2B year in review

2012: B2B year in review


Avenir signalled the 2012 accessories boom as it launched Avenir Accessories in a bid to grab greater share of the UK’s mobile accessories market. Meanwhile, 20:20 Mobile also reflected a new trend by launching a new services division with the distributor looking at recycling, insurance, technical support, call centre and logistic customer services.


Unified Comms specialist Excalibur CEO James Phipps was looking to increase headcount by 25 per cent as the company targeted acquisition. B2b chief Tanny Cordingley left Shebang Business Solutions to set up a new business venture. And XLN Telecom was forecasting a profit increase of 20 per cent as it prepared to change its name to XLN Business Services to reflect the growing range of services it offered small business customers.


Managed comms provider Azzurri Communications’ shareholders voted against an immediate sale of the company. The news came as Azzurri announced two major contract wins to provide unified comms for advertising company Clear Channel and a £900,000 deal for IT services for City & Guilds. Angel Telecom was set to grow its turnover 50% to £1.5m this year as it continued its drive into unified comms. GCI Com raised £32m for its acquisition plans – inking two funding deals with Barclays and BGF. 


Communicate Better overcame fierce competition to win two major unified comms deals with Hatfields and the National Football Museum in Manchester. Savin showed growth as the dealer aimed to almost double connections in a year after rapid expansion. Meanwhile, O2 warned dealers against acting in a predatory manner after a number of companies targeted rivals’ customers for Sim-only deals and re-signs.


The exodus from Shebang continued after two more directors left, while MD Duncan Hay attempted to drive through a major restructuring of the company. It was also confirmed that both Julian Burton, MD of Shebang Consumer Solutions, and Jolyon Bennett, MD of Shebang Logistics, were to leave the company. Excalibur continued its expansion programme with a recruitment drive, and plans to take on 11 new sales and service staff. Fonehouse also announced its intention to move into the unified comms market by pushing for more dealers. MD Clive Bayley told Mobile: ‘It’s not about numbers, it’s all about quality. We are interested in anyone with a customer base who wants to sell mobile.’ Dealers needed to be ‘enthusiastic, determined and have the ability to sell’.


Azzurri’s CEO Vim Vithaldas announced it was set to sign a number of major contracts, although names were not revealed. Vithaldas said Azzurri was close to securing deals in the mobile data and support service arenas.

Accessories distributor Gusto Telecoms Solutions also forecast a turnover of between £5m and £7m in its first year of trading after signing up five major retail partners. Gusto was founded by Jolyon Bennett not long after leaving Shebang. 

B2b telecoms dealer Citytalk Comms was predicting a turnover of nearly 50% this year – the Aylesbury-based dealer said it was in talks with at least two mobile and fixed-line businesses and was also to expand its sales staff.

Carphone launched a new b2b partner portal, which also saw its distribution arm HSC rebranded as Carphone Warehouse Business, with the new partner portal replacing the HSC portal. And distributor Frequency Telecom inked an exclusive three-year deal to distribute Jays audio products in the UK, Ireland and Russia.


The news of a big money takeover of BrightPoint by Ingram Micro sent shudders as the long-predicted consolidation of the UK’s mobile distribution landscape moved a step closer. The £535.7m acquisition provided Ingram Micro with a much-coveted foothold in the global market.

Data Select also announced it was to boost staff numbers after securing new deals – it said it was looking to swell headcount by 60%.


Hosting and cloud services provider Six Degrees announced it was to launch an aggressive drive to grow its mobile base. It appointed Richard Minnis to head up the mobile division, aiming to cross-sell several thousand mobile connections into the group’s 2,500 strong customer base.

Rebranding continued, with Pure Business Services being given a new look. CEO Marcus Richardson said the exercise was to reflect the changing market.


Fonehouse’s move into the b2b sector was strengthened as it hired Russ Wheeler as its b2b director and Richard O’Quinn, former Dial-a-Phone marketing director, as web director. Fonehouse MD Clive Bayley said its b2b business was gaining real traction. O2’s new head of partners, Anton le Saux (pictured), presented a three-year plan to transform the operator’s partners’ division after taking over as head of indirect sales. Excalibur CEO James Phipps became majority shareholder after leading a management buyout that saw the departure of MD and founder Gary Wetherall.


Tech Data Mobile launched an aggressive push for growth, following on from its acquisition by Tech Data Corporation. The mobile distributor, formerly known as Brightstar Europe, was aiming to use the financial strength and reach of its parent group to grow its share of the mobile and accessories distribution market, as part of a wider ambition to become the largest mobile distributor in the UK and Europe. 


Microsoft targeted b2b with a new training plan. It upped its drive into the b2b mobile space with plans for a major training programme through its Microsoft Partner Network in 2013. The move was met with approval from mobile dealers, who had criticised Microsoft’s focus on consumer sales since launching into the smartphone market with its Windows Phone 8 proposition.


BrightPoint launched a new partner programme aimed at providing benefits to b2b resellers. It said it wanted to provide resellers with a comprehensive value-added set of benefits and support offerings for the modern reseller.

Industry veteran Martin Flick announced he was leaving Azzurri to join Olive Communications to take on the role of MD. Vodafone’s One Net experienced delays to its upgrade after software problems caused an overnight outage.

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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