3/16/2009 3:27:00 PM
Concerns around the future of distributor Advantage Cellular
Dealers are waiting on clarity from Advantage Cellular over the future of the business and whether Polish billionaire backer, Roman Karkosik, has pulled his investment in the b2b and handset distributor.
At the time of writing, there was no confirmation on this. Although questions were put to the business, there has been no reply.
The distributor was not taking calls this morning (Monday 16 March), with several dealers claiming their contacts at Advantage were told to go home at the end of last week, and today (morning). This was also unconfirmed by Advantage.
Several dealers said they haven’t been paid and were looking for clarity on the Advantage's situation, as many are looking to make alternative distribution arrangements if necessary.
There have also been reports that a delegation from Karkosik is due to arrive at Advantage’s Didcot offices tomorrow (Tuesday).
It is also believed that representatives from 3, Advantage’s main network partner, is having emergency talks with Advantage today. Rival distributors are also understood to have started targeting Advantage’s dealer base.
If true, it would leave the distribution of purported new mobile handset entrant, Hyundai, in doubt. Sources suggested Hyundai could either take over the Oxfordshire premises or move the operation to another distributor ahead of its previously stated September launch.
Hyundai launched in January this year, using Advantage as its vehicle into the UK mobile market, and immediately installed Advantage’s marketing director, Graham Jelfs, as Hyundai Mobile’s UK head of marketing and communications.
Mobiletoday has tried to contact the company through its several phonelines since last Friday, but has failed to get through.
Managing director John McFarnon failed to reply to questions on Friday and wasn’t available on Monday, and Jelfs said he ‘couldn’t comment at this stage’.
The distributor, which had McFarnon and Simon Earle (CEO and chairman) at its helm, was set up in September 2007 with grand ambitions to take on incumbents in the b2b market.
Earle left the business at the end of last year.