Mobile Threats & Opportunities
Posted on 12/07/2013
Mobile is a very fluid sector of the comms arena where nimble and forward-thinking resellers are grabbing significant market share – primed to exploit 4G connectivity – and avoid potentially dangerous pitfalls, exacerbated by ‘apathy’.
That’s the view of Mark Curtis-Wood, Head of Networks at Nimans who says some resellers need to get out of their comfort zones and embrace new ways of working.
He feels the mobile word is a mixture of threats and opportunities – where resellers can choose to take greater control and develop their own wholesale mobile operations.
Mark explained: “Some serious challenges lie ahead because any customer that’s connected to a network carries the obvious threat (for a reseller) of losing that relationship or passing the opportunity across. You’ve only got to look at the amalgamation of some of the biggest industry names to see the networks becoming stronger and collaborating together. This will inevitably have an impact on the traditional dealer market where there’s an increased risk of ‘ownership’ of the customer’s other services passing to the networks.
“The networks have got different commercials than we have. There’s still a lot of apathy out there from resellers not realising the threat to other parts of their business – PBX guys, headset guys and even IT Vars. The networks will come and steal their traditional business if they are not careful. A lot of resellers are hearing about it but because it’s not happening to them they are not actively protecting themselves. The biggest danger is that they are not seeing the threat. Most mobile contracts tend to be over two or three years; they will only see a problem when it’s too late. Not only will that mobile customer not renew but his broadband, wholesale line rental and his PBX orders may go elsewhere as well.”
Mark pointed out: “Looking at alternative ways to conduct business is the obvious solution, particularly about how dealers can capitalise on BYOD trends. Without a doubt BYOD is going to have a significant impact from both sides of mobile distribution. From a hardware perspective you will have less people buying mobile hardware because they will be using the same device. Anyone relying on hardware purchases will see an impact.
“The key challenge is how to overcome that. One of the key shifts I see is Mobile Device Management or MDM. This type of solution is critical in the deployment of BYOD and is one reason why you will see IT resellers and Data VARS taking advantage of some of that space because they are currently better positioned than some of the traditional mobile dealers. They will be talking about the security implications of having a mobile workforce. What’s going to happen when a member of staff is using his phone or tablet? Is he on the VPN and what information is he accessing? How ready is that access and is he bypassing firewalls? These are some of the many considerations. That conversation tends to sit in the IT space at the moment where resellers are already engaged at that level. This is a further threat to the mobile dealer market.
“They need to embrace MDM and BYOD and look at working with a provider that can give the right advice around these. These are areas we are focusing on this year as they fit in nicely with our existing wholesale mobile proposition.”
As an official Joined Up Communications wholesale channel partner with O2, Nimans offers a range of compelling solutions from connections to hardware, as Mark continued: “Wholesale Mobile offers a host of opportunities for resellers both from a customer retention and cross-sell position and to increase business value. But it’s not for everyone. Our team will help you identify whether Wholesale Mobile is right for your business and guide you through the pros and cons it represents. We appreciate it is a big commercial decision to either move away from traditional commission based mobile commercials or to take on mobile for the first time.”
Mark concluded: “Nimans is a world away from its ‘box shifting’ roots. The major evolution continues. We have learned from our mistakes and I firmly believe we have one of they best on-boarding processes in the market. We are a fully managed service provider.
“Looking ahead, one of the biggest market developments is 4G. This is going to be a game changer because it’s going to bring mobile into areas that it never was before like video conferencing, applications and so on. The way we sell mobile data is also changing. On the back of 4G people will want to consume more data but consume it in a different way. That’s about us selling terabytes of data to resellers and enabling them to carve it up how they want to as part of their core proposition.”