Telecom Plus is putting mobile at the heart of its plans to boost organic growth across the company after seeing mobile sales soar by 25% last year.
The company, which has an MVNO deal with EE, trades as Utility Warehouse and offers energy, fixed line, broadband and mobile to both residential and business customers.
Andrew Lindsay, CEO, said the company’s strategy is to use cut-price mobile deals to drive up customer numbers and increase cross-selling rates. He said: ‘Mobile is a strategic imperative for us. We recently re-energised our entire customer proposition, introducing three bundles of services and putting mobile right at the heart of that. So by taking mobile our customers can now unlock the greatest value across all our services.’
Utility Warehouse customer numbers have risen from 475,000 to more than 565,000 over the past year, with the number of customers taking mobile services growing from around 96,660 to more than 120,000 in the same period.
Mobile sales are particularly strong among new customers, up 10% on last year to 40%, which is 15% above take-up rate for existing customers.
Lindsay said: ‘We are pretty pleased with how our new propositions are going and we would like to drive that take-up rate among new customers to at least 50% over the next year.’
Utility Warehouse customers take Sim-only deals, although the company also offers a range of smartphones including the newly launched iPhone 6.
Lindsay added: ‘This is indicative of our market. Our typical customers are over 35 years old. They are hardworking Middle Englanders who watch the pennies, who are budget conscious and happy to use their existing handsets.’
The company also works hard to keep costs down and promote an ethos of trust and familiarity among its customers, helped by its unusual distribution model, which is based on existing customers signing up friends and families in return for a commission fee.
‘That trust and fairness is important because if you sting your customers none of them are going to recommend you to their friends and family,’ Lindsay added.
Utility Warehouse customers have yet to be offered EE’s 4G services, but Lindsay said he is hopeful a deal will go through with EE soon.
‘We are a significant MVNO for them so hopefully we will get 4G soon, because we need it, particularly as it is increasingly being seen as a standard offering. But we take heart from how we are managing to grow our business without 4G.’
Nor is Lindsay concerned about EE’s ongoing review of its indirect partners.
‘We are a very powerful route to market and we tap into a very different market than that on the high street. So I do not think we are in any way cannibalising EE’s business.’