3/27/2008 12:32:00 PM
Samsung: 'Door is closed on 20:20'
Samsung is poised to block warranty requests from handsets bought outside the EU in a bid to tackle grey market buyers.
It comes as the manufacturer dropped 20:20 for buying ‘an unacceptable amount’ of phones on the grey market, and, after Samsung discovered 20:20 was pushing grey stock through a Samsung specific channel.
The matter was brought to light after IMEIs on handsets were brought to Samsung’s attention.
It is the latest landmark in Samsung’s struggle to curb grey market handsets in the UK.
This revelation is believed to have been the final straw in Samsung’s decision to revoke 20:20’s distribution licence.
Samsung UK VP Mark Mitchinson said: ‘I am not going to support an organisation that is actively working against us. That isn’t what I call a partnership approach.’
Asked if the door would remain open for 20:20 if it demonstrated a turnaround in its buying, Mitchinson said: ‘The door is closed.’
It has left Data Select and recently installed distributor Brightstar as the only two distributors in the UK market with an official Samsung distribution licence.
20:20 sources claimed that the price between official stock and grey stock make it impossible for any distributor to remain profitable and buy stock only from official channels.
The distributor has claimed that Samsung prices are 20% cheaper on the grey market because Samsung’s global business is cutting prices for operators in emerging markets to build market share.
20:20 said it will continue to supply Samsung handsets through the grey market, and it won’t suffer any impact on its profits.
However, some big retailers and MVNO customers only buy official stock because of the lack of recourse for handset returns.
20:20’s new CEO, Meinie Oldersma, said: ‘We’re really disappointed that Samsung has taken such a short-term view, but the customers are the real victims here. Samsung have some beautiful products, so it’s a real pity.’
Samsung has 23% market share in the UK, and operator sources who have seen Samsung’s products for the second half of 2008 have described a phenomenal range.