8/20/2008 10:56:00 AM
20:20 explores new Middle East growth plan
20:20 Mobile is looking outside its home market for the growth necessary to sell the business at its target price in two to three years’ time.
The UK’s biggest distributor has earmarked the Middle East market as its top priority, and has made 20:20’s MD, Trevor Price, responsible for the Middle East business.
The distributor will start with Dubai, following a broad-ranging distribution deal with the leading operator in the United Arab Emirates, Etisalat.
20:20 has switched the focus of its Dubai office from grey market trading to become a major distributor for Etisalat. The distributor is now looking to extend its reach into other countries where Etisalat has subsidiaries, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria and Pakistan.
20:20 CEO Meinie Oldersma said: ‘The incumbents [in the Middle East] are not operating at the value proposition level we are here in the UK or other developed, mature markets.’
Observers close to the Dubai market described local distribution as ‘quite weak’, and added: ‘There’s no-one really doing what 20:20, Data Select or Brightstar are doing in the UK in terms of fulfilment, packaging and the like. But 20:20 could find a very political, relationship-driven market with local nuances in business practices.’
Prepay represents over 90% of the Dubai market and Sims and handsets are typically sold separately.
Oldersma said: ‘The Middle East is the biggest opportunity in the organisation. Asking Trevor to head up the Middle East was an easy decision as he has real strengths in relationships and sales.’
Oldersma conceded that the global giants of Brightpoint and Brightstar had offices in the region, but claimed they ‘haven’t really put significant resources in’.
He also said that he has been buoyed by new deals in Spain, taking the tally to 14 Spanish supply contracts. The biggest recent win is a no-frills brand called Simyo. 20:20 also supplies Yoigo, the fourth largest network behind Telefónica, Orange and Vodafone.
20:20 is now trying to win MVNO deals in France, which is its other major European market.
Oldersma has set up an international organisation that aims to capitalise on 20:20’s key assets - the BlackBerry distribution deal, trading websites and accessories distribution. Oldersma is looking for an international MD to oversee the division. It follows the short tenure of Morten Steen Pedersen who lasted a few months in the role, after trying to do the job from his home in America.