Business Mobile mobile connectivity

I see Vodafone are opening some shops

Vodafone in taxi chargerThe “big” news this morning is that Vodafone are planning on opening 150 shops in the UK creating 1,400 jobs in 2014.

This is an interesting PR headline. The reason Vodafone will be opening the shops is because people want to touch and feel a phone in a shop and check out the different tariff options with a real person. Trying to decide on a mobile package can be a nightmare (how much bandwidth etc).

The big high street retailers such as Carphone Warehouse offer this facility but they are not fixed to a specific network. Because of this the networks have to dangle big marketing subsidies to them to make them want to sell their services. For someone like Carphone Warehouse I imagine it will probably be in the tens of millions of pounds a year. You might think the shop is giving you a good deal but it is the cash being injected by the network that is making it possible.

So the Voda thinking will be to have more control over the offers and direct contact with Joe public which in theory should also give them more control over their spend. That they want to do this is understandable even though there is an obvious additional fixed overhead of running retail premises.

What nobody has bothered to report is that in creating 1,400 new jobs the chances are that they are just moving the jobs from the independent retailers to Vodafone themselves. The market won’t be any bigger. The money is just moving around and the jobs are following.

I don’t really have an axe to grind here. Just observing…

PS the header photo is an old one – it was easier to link to that than find a new one:)

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

2 replies on “I see Vodafone are opening some shops”

Could also be a customer retention drive.

Customer nearing the end of their contract (which they may have bought through an independent dealer offering more than just Vodafone) is texted by Vodafone.

“We notice you are nearing the end of your contract, as you are such a valued customer why not pop into your new local Vodafone store at (address here) to see what we can offer you’

Customer wanders into Vodafone store and is then confronted by Vodafone tariffs and Vodafone employed sales staff, this may just compel them to stick with what they know and sign up then and there as it would be a hassle to go to another shop and Vodafone has told them how valuable they are.

At the stroke of a pen they become a direct Vodafone customer (no more revenue sharing with that dealer) and by the time they realise they might have got a better deal elsewhere it’ll be too late as they are signed up for 24 months.

I’ve always been cynical about phone shops and for this reason I’ve always stuck to Pay As You Go and bought my handsets SIM free, I will explain the reason for the cynicism below.

In the very late 90s I remember a family friend responding to a small ad in the local paper which promised earnings of £600 plus a week working as a self employed courier for a local firm.

He had been recently made redundant and he had always wanted to work for himself so off he went to see the boss of the firm.

He came round that night beaming from ear to ear as of course the guy had told him how the sky was the limit when it came to earnings but that a mobile phone was a necessity so he’d immediately headed to the local branch of that well known independent chain where he’d talked to a ‘very pretty’ sales consultant.

She’d written down her recommendation of a £35 per month business tariff on one of the networks (not Vodafone) with something like 700 minutes, it would be a 12 month contract.

He passed me their brochure and asked me what I thought.

I said at this point that I thought he might be better on PAYG while he worked out whether self employment was for him and what exactly was involved.

“Right, thanks” was his reply.

Next day he apparently returned to said retailer to see the consultant again, he mentioned PAYG but she talked him out of it and got him to sign up for this tariff.

Long story short he ended up getting sent here, there and everywhere and the amount he was paid per mile was only just covering his petrol and after a month he gave up and ended up looking for and luckily finding a job.

He was of course saddled with the contract until it ended.

Opening shops makes complete sense so they can go direct. Mobile companies seek the same things they did 20 years ago. Theu have innovated in giving us more of the same, more minutes, more text and more data. Well done. No wonder they are all looking at eroding revenues and surviving by protectionism activities.

They will have to find another way to grab their pennies when roaming charges disappear.

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