Vivio MD: ‘Small dealers need to diversify to survive’

Vivio MD: ‘Small dealers need to diversify to survive’

Vivio has warned small dealers that only ‘the strong will survive’ in the consolidating UK
mobile market.

The unified comms dealer, which recently won O2 Partner of the Year for the third time, stated that consolidation and the rollout of 4G will change the mobile landscape, with MD James Wright explaining to Mobile that smaller companies need to diversify. 

He said: ‘While it is a very exciting time to be in the industry, I think there is going to be a situation in which I wouldn’t like to be starting up now. I think that consolidation will affect the smaller dealers. In a merging marketplace only the strong will survive and the good guys will survive and the important thing is to do the right thing by customers. The only people who will survive are the ones who will listen to their customers. 

‘It will become increasingly difficult for the smaller companies to keep up; there will be fewer players in the dealer space. There are still enough players to make it a very competitive market but what it will do is make it increasingly difficult for the smaller dealers to survive, unless they diversify into other niche services - but they will struggle to keep on going on the mobile front.’ 

Wright explained that customer demand is increasing as greater responsibility is being placed on smartphones. He believes that in order to match the level of service customers are looking to receive, a ‘certain critical mass’ is required from a company, one that a smaller dealer may not be able to provide.
He said: ‘The clients are becoming more demanding because their mobile devices are becoming more important to their comms strategy, more responsibility is being placed on the mobile device and then that comes back on us in levels of service and the variety of services and support we need to give those customers. I think there’s a certain critical mass required to provide that level of service. 

‘You’ve got some good guys who are doing the job, and some not-so-good guys who are struggling, particularly the smaller guys and the people not delivering a good level of service for customers. It will become more and more difficult - customers are more demanding and we’re definitely seeing that with our clients.’ 

Wright warned that as 4G connectivity is adopted, demand for it will put the dealers in a ‘completely different environment’ within the next year and that it’s time to ‘get match fit’. He said: ‘It never ceases to amaze me how the mobile industry keeps on reinventing itself; it’s an exciting place to be, and it is changing at a rate that we’ve never seen before. 

‘I think all change is a good thing, but you’ve got to embrace the change, and I think the networks are doing that, but in different ways. Each has slightly different strategies in terms of what they want to do but they’re all well positioned as mobile centric going forward. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out over the next 12 to 18 months, and during that period, with the rollout of 4G, we will be in a completely different environment.’

Wright described the huge consumer demand for connectivity, as ‘game changing’ and explained that Vivio are focusing on new products that boost data usage, saying that ‘it makes the customers a lot stickier’. He admitted that the comms dealer needs to ‘control the mobile side’ of the business, explaining that Vivio are working with O2 to make sure it gets its mobile offering right.

He said: ‘We’re using mobile as a platform into the customer base and mobile device management. We want to continue the growth in the same way but get deeper penetration in our current products. I think the strategy of putting more digital products into our mobile customers is a good one - it’s just trying to make sure we get it right. There’s still an element of jack of all trades and master of none and we still need to control the mobile side. 

‘I’m very excited that mobile will be at the centre and we are very well positioned. For me that’s the big play at the moment. As more people get 4G that will be game changing and that’s what will make the difference. The networks seem to be focused on getting multiple products but they are working on the assumption that as 4G gets rolled out, that will give them the ability to roll out more digital products and that’s where the opportunity lies going forward.’


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