Utilities provider Telecom Plus is on a major push for growth in the mobile sector with plans to more than double the number of customers taking mobile services.
Telecom Plus, which
trades as The Utility Warehouse, supplies gas, electricity, fixed line, mobile and broadband to residential and business customers.
The company, which is ranked in the FTSE 250, is on a drive to reshape the business from what was formerly an energy business to a multiple services provider. Only a fifth of its base of more than 475,000 customers take mobile services at present, rising to 30% among new customers. The company wants to double this figure to bring it closer to the 66% of Utility Warehouse customers taking energy and fixed line services.
Speaking to Mobile, Telecoms Plus CEO Andrew Lindsay (pictured) said: ‘Mobile is our least successful business because it has the lowest penetration. We want that to increase. Our customers take around 85,000 mobile services with us, rising to just shy of 100,000 if you include prepay. We want that to increase significantly so that at least 50% of our existing and new customers take mobile services.’
Growth in mobile sales is driven by Utility Warehouse’s network of over 39,000 independent distributors. These are largely existing customers who sell Utility Warehouse’s services to friends and family, receiving revenue share of between 2.5 and 5% a month from each customer they introduce. The company is on a drive to help its distributors increase their sales of mobile services.
Lindsay said the distribution model engenders trust and honesty, which he said he believes is lacking in large parts of the mobile industry. He said: ‘We play a very straight wicket. If you are going to recommend a mobile service to Mum we have got to be straight forward, honest and open.’
This approach is supported by cut price Sim-only and prepay mobile deals and a portfolio of phones ranging from basic £1 handsets to the iPhone 5.
Lindsay said: ‘We offer great value tariffs, loyalty discount schemes, flexibility on tariffs and our out of bundle calls are not punitive. We also operate a unique budget control option with anything outside the bundle going on a prepay basis so customers can’t run up huge bills. We’ve seen a huge increase in uptake on the back of that service.’
Sales of mobile services into its customer base has grown from just over 69,000 in March 2012 to over 96,600 in July this year. Lindsay is predicting continuous steady growth this year. ‘It is an iterative process. The challenge is that mobile is a heavily contracted business so customers cannot switch overnight but we are confident we can grow that base with our strong proposition.’
Author: Carol Millett