a turbulent time, Newcastle-based distributor Fone Logistics is back in the Vodafone fold, with a
newly inked Vodafone deal under its belt.
The deal comes three
years after the firm was dumped by Vodafone as as part of the operator's move to consolidate
its distribution channels.
good news comes as a welcome change for Fone Logistics. The Newcastle-based distributor has taken a battering over the past year.
March, the company lost a swathe of business when operator 3 took its
third party call centres in-house, forcing the distributor to make
months later Fone Logistics dealer Marmalade went bust owing the distributor over
last week, a restructuring of the company inflamed persistent
industry speculation that the firm is trying to hide financial problems,
despite strenuous denials from the distributor.
it is no surprise that Gillespie is thrilled to deliver news of the Vodafone
deal, pointing to it as clear evidence of Fone Logistics’ financial health.
are here to stay,’ Gillespie says, defiantly, dismissing industry speculation as
continues: 'We have been very open with all our partners about [the
restructuring] and they are happy with us and I think that says it all. Would
Vodafone sign up with us if there was a problem? Not at all,’ he argues.
deal sees the distributor working with a select number of partners to make B2B
airtime connections to Vodafone via Yes Telecom.
Gillespie is keen to emphasise that the deal will not detract from the service it gives its other network partners. He says Fone Log will not select dealers that are already working on its other network accounts.
want to be seen as a distributor of choice with a range of networks. To offer
Vodafone brings real strength to the business and compliments that portfolio. I
believe the dealers can get incremental business for all the networks,' he adds.
new partners will also have to be prepared to go 'beyond voice', as Gillespie
want partners with vision for the future who are prepared to invest in the
technical side of mobile rather than just voice,' he explains.
this end, Fone Logistics will be looking for a 'small number' of both
mobile and internet dealers comfortable with technical convergence.
will also need to be approved by Yes Telecom. Fone Logistics will oversee
their training and support and will closely monitor their performance.
is where distributors add value,' says Gillespie, pointing to Fone Logistics’
online dealer access portal as an example.
was always hopeful of a new deal with Vodafone. He explains: ‘The door was
never closed to us to come back, since it was never about our performance but
about Vodafone’s strategy… I have a 25 year relationship with Vodafone. They
see us as a good distributor and so here we are back again.'
as it was, Gillespie says the loss of the original Vodafone deal meant
the firm was better prepared for hard times when the recession hit.
explains: ‘Losing Vodafone got us ready for the economic downturn. We looked at
our cost base and we took swift action. It wasn’t easy but we have always had a
policy of managing costs responsibly.'
See the rest of this interview in this week's Mobile