3/5/2008 11:30:00 AM
100 franchises to open for O2 in 2008
O2 will open around 40 more franchise stores in 2008, according to new CEO Ronan Dunne.
The operator has already opened 66 franchise stores this year, but is now looking at a more aggressive period of growth and plans to reach 100 by the end of 2008. It has no plans to open any more of its own stores.
The company currently achieves 70% of its consumer sales through its own direct channels, with the remainder pushed through Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u.
Dunne said O2 pulled the management of new contract customers that signed up through Carphone in-house last July. Carphone will continue to manage the billing and service of those existing O2 customers.
Sources said O2 has sharpened its billing and service infrastructure over the last 18 months. Dunne said: ‘We like the fact we manage the experience end-to-end.’ But he added: ‘We work very closely and collaboratively with Carphone.’
Commenting on going back into Phones 4u before last Christmas, Dunne said: ‘We put the iPhone into the market, and the balance of our traditional handsets was slightly skewed away from non-iPhone handsets.’
He disputed suggestions that the decision to pull back from Phones 4u was due to financial constraints from O2’s parent company, Telefonica.
Dunne’s comments come amid speculation that operators are struggling to make a success of their existing store base. Orange appeared to counter this suggestion with the revelation that it was opening 45 more stores in 2008.