11/5/2009 12:05:00 PM
O2 braces for dealer backlash over 'Approved' scheme
O2 is facing a backlash from partners on its ‘Approved’ programme after ?a host of problems over the last few months.
Dealers unhappy with the programme have raised several complaints, including difficulties sourcing the iPhone.
The network has been accused of creating ‘a lot of hype followed by a lack of action’, after dealers were unable to get hold of the Apple device during a £50 subsidy period advertised by O2, which ended on 31 October.
The operator launched the programme, the first of its kind, in a bid to draw dealers closer in the face of growing competition, as it also looked to build on existing relationships with distributors.
The Approved programme requires dealers to do 80% of their business through O2, in return for ‘benefits’ such as the iPhone.
However, dealers told Mobile that they are ‘not getting any value’ for the commitments they have made to the network, which recently lost its exclusive iPhone deal.
One senior distribution source said: ‘A lot of dealers were disappointed because there was a £50 subsidy on the iPhone that ended in October, but there was a stock shortage during the time the incentive was on offer.’
Meanwhile, one dealer said: ‘I am at the end of my tether with the O2 Approved programme. They said it would be an exclusive club, but it now includes 60 to 70 resellers.’
Another added: ‘O2 says it is a privilege to connect to the network but it isn’t – I can easily get the iPhone and Palm Pre elsewhere. There is no value attached to being part of it.’
Another dealer said: ‘The benefits have not been there so far because there have been quite a lot of problems.’
O2 said that iPhone stock had been ‘in better supply lately’.
O2 head of indirect partners Maggie Kennedy added: ‘We enjoy a close working relationship with all our partners and hold regular roundtables. ‘These sessions are an ideal opportunity to update our partners and gain feedback.’