EE wants to maintain its growing momentum in the b2b sector and displace market leaders Vodafone with ‘proven’ network leadership, industry first propositions and an increase in partner support teams.
The operator has made steady inroads into the market since launching 4G in 2012, quickly becoming the second most popular operator among SMEs and enterprises. EE’s chief marketing officer for business, Gerry McQuade (pictured) wants to better that. However, he told Mobile becoming number one may take time.
He said: ‘We’re growing where we believe others aren’t. Overtaking Vodafone for the top spot may take some time, but that is our ambition. Our target this year is to take another 1-2% share of the business market.’
McQuade pointed to EE’s 4G reputation as a key catalyst for the growth, as well as making its proposition accessible for large, medium and small businesses in both the private and public sectors. He said: ‘With 4G we have proven network and innovation leadership, both of which are primary buying considerations for businesses. Our newest business propositions, many of which are industry firsts, have been made possible because of the strength of our network.
‘4G has broadened the conversation we now have with business customers, because although it means they can now think about a truly mobile workforce, they also need to consider a number of other operational aspects. And we’re very well positioned to respond to these,’ he added.
EE confirmed it would continue to improve its Partner Programme by growing the number of teams supporting partners and bringing on more accounts. Last July the operator cut its dealer base by two-thirds, and director of indirect partnerships, Noel Hamill, said looking for quality over quantity had helped to grow its share in b2b.
He said: ‘Focusing our efforts on supporting fewer, more dedicated business dealers has proved to be a very successful move. We have increased our base, as well as growing our market share, and we’re building stronger partnerships that are enhancing the overall EE offering to businesses.’
In the wake of EE’s results announced last month, CEO Olaf Swantee emphasised how important the b2b market was. The operator now has more than 4,100 4G business accounts, and has recently won major deals with Hoover, National Grid and Tate and Lyle.
He told Mobile: ‘Vodafone is still the number one operator in the business market, but we’re gaining quite good momentum. Businesses tend to look at network capabilities when they decide to go with someone; it’s a lot less emotive than a consumer purchase, and our network is better than our competitors.’
Swantee added that the b2b sector was more dependent on the economy than the consumer side of the business, and that as the UK market perked up the business mobile market would correlate. He said: ‘We have a lot of targets in the business sector. B2b is big, and it will improve as the economy gets better. The consumer market is not as affected, but the b2b market will really pick up as employment opportunities increase and companies reinvest.’