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B2B dealers accuse EE of lack of respect following upgrade cuts

Paul Withers
February 26, 2013

Dealers question network’s loyalty to the business channel after move

B2B dealers have questioned  EE’s loyalty towards the channel after the operator reduced the early upgrade period for Orange business customers from 90 days to just 30.

The changes will take effect from April 1. EE said the move brings Orange in line with T-Mobile across all channels, as well as being broadly in line with the industry.

Partners upgrading Orange customers to 4GEE plans will still be able to take advantage of a 90-day loyalty period.

In addition, EE has also reduced commission payments to dealers retaining customers on the network by 10 per cent, according to dealers.

EE said last week: “We are advising our partners of these changes now to give them time to update their forecasts.”

However, dealers Mobile News contacted after the announcement was made have accused EE of showing the dealer channel a “distinct lack of respect”, with some claiming they have never felt so unwanted by a mobile network.

One dealer even accused EE CEO Olaf Swantee of being poorly advised on the changes, which they claim increase the chances of rival operators poaching their customers.

“We can no longer upgrade customers until the point where they won’t be poached by someone else, and then we haven’t got as much money to do that as we did before, so we are already fighting a losing battle,” they said.

“It feels like EE doesn’t care about us any more and that there is a distinct lack of respect being shown. Either CEO Olaf Swantee is being poorly advised or he just doesn’t care. We are becoming insignificant to them. In fact, I’ve never felt so insignificant.”

Another said: “In a world where we are under so much pressure to retain customers, this is a very negative move. EE is alienating the customers it currently has and takes an option away from them as there are now not many other ways to upgrade.

“We should be looking at bigger windows of opportunity to retain them, not making them smaller.

“If the EE proposition was one where every customer fitted moving to it, that would be fine, but there are customers who may not want to move.”

EE declined to comment on the story.

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