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Cellhire’s coming home: UK firm is a World Cup winner with £1.5m revenue from Russia event

Manny Pham
August 2, 2018

More than 7,500 connections were made, down from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where connections totalled 22,000

Cellhire reaped in excess of £1.5 million in revenue from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, where it supplied airtime and hardware to more than 150 customers, including 10 football associations.

More than 7,500 connections were made, down from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where connections totalled 22,000, taking £4 million in revenue. This was due to customers such as the American, Italian and Dutch national teams not qualifying for the tournament.

The York-based firm qualified for the World Cup semi-finals and final through the English, French and Belgian football associations. More than 500TB of data was used by customers during the tournament, which ran from June 14 to July 15.

Cellhire supplied airtime, SIM cards, MiFi devices and smartphones to customers including media associations such as the BBC, beIN SPORTS, Fox and TF1. Megafon was the Russian operator partner connecting customers during the global event.

Cellhire has more than 100 network partners in more than 40 countries. Operations have begun for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Cellhire opened a base in Tokyo in 2005, joining other main offices in the USA, France, Germany and Switzerland.

Middle east expansion

A permanent base will be set up as part of expansion plans in Qatar, where the company will use the 2022 World Cup to “springboard” its expansion plans. Bases were open in China and Brazil during the 2008 Olympics and 2014 World Cup respectively.

The company recorded £23 million in revenue for its 2017 fiscal year. Its 2018 financial year ended in April, and Mobile News has enquired for the latest figures.

Speaking to Mobile News, Cellhire CEO Martyn Stevens said: “We’ll take more than £1.5 million in revenue from this successful and profitable World Cup despite lower connection numbers due to lower client count. Clients in Russia were keen for MiFi devices due to the security offered from a GSM network opposed to public WiFi networks.

“Qatar opens the Middle East to us so we’ll need to open a local office. We’ve used sporting events as a springboard to open local offices in China and Brazil previously. Qatar will be another springboard for us.

“We have an excellent track record in the sports and entertainment fields for providing data connections and telecom solutions through the close relationship we have with network providers around the world.”

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