Former Phones 4U executive John Whittle has revealed plans to enter the b2b mobile market, claiming the segment is under major threat.
The ex-CCO explained that the combination of consolidation and low margins had brought about dramatic change to the industry, claiming that the b2b space was increasingly under pressure as a result. This, he said, had left a gap in the market for a new player. Whittle spoke to Mobile at the launch of Unshackled.com, an online mobile phone shop that separates a customer's monthly device bill from their monthly tariff bill.
First mover advantage
While the business is heavily focused on the consumer side of the market, Whittle said that there is huge opportunity for the business model when it comes to b2b. Revealing his plan to get rid of 24 month contracts, he said that the Unshackled.com model could hand back greater control to businesses.
‘Consolidation has been a challenge and margins are under pressure across entire industry and as a result that is threatening the b2b segment of the market’, he said. ‘We have been approached about looking in b2b, that market is undergoing dramatic change and I believe there is gap in the market. Succeeding in this space will be down to first mover advantage and some will be more agile than others, that change will create opportunities for some and threats for others. There are already examples of players such as Plan.com who are already starting to do things diffferently and use technology to disrupt the market play. We see ourselves as a tech business and our tech could complement in that b2b space.’
Phones 4U experience
Unshackled.com will cover every UK network and MVNO and offer smartphones and SIM-only deals. Whittle explained that it will also work similar to comparison site, using its 'mobile watch' platform, he said the brand will monitor deals across the industry to recommend the best tariffs to its users. The former Phones 4U CCO said that the new business will involve a number of ex-Phones 4U employees, claiming that the wealth of experience will make the brand stand out.
‘We have a huge amount of experience within Unshackled. Many of our employees are ex Phones 4U and with that we know what the consumers ultimately want. Customers aren’t being served in a way that’s right for them, they are unnecessarily locking themselves into 24 month contracts.
‘We are flipping the mobile phone contract into its component parts which gives consumers more control. There’s nobody else incentivised to do this, when it comes to revenue flows many competitors are all aligned to network operators so everyone is incentivised to get customers to pay more for their line rental.’