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Chess and Vodafone put bad blood behind them with airtime agreement

Alex Yau
July 25, 2016

Decision marks significant u-turn by Vodafone, having controversially axed the distributor (then Avenir) in 2009

Chess Partner Services (CPS) says it can become the UK’s biggest B2B airtime distributor after being reinstated by Vodafone this month.

The mobile arm of Chess Telecom, formerly Avenir, has a base of around 120,000 mobile connections (O2 and EE), working with more than 600 active resellers.

The decision by Vodafone marks a significant u-turn, having controversially axed CPS (then Avenir) in 2009 following an internal review, going solo with Daisy.

In addition to costing Avenir millions in lost revenues,  relationships were strained further with Avenir hitting a number of its former staff who had moved to Vodafone prior, (including former MD Tanny Jeffrey) with injunctions,  preventing them from working.

A new start
CPS MD John Pett (pictured) told Mobile News the pair have now moved on from its legacy issues – describing Vodafone as the missing piece for the business.

“What’s happened in the past has happened,” said Pett, who was sales director at Avenir during the time of termination.  “I’m only focused on what’s happening now because that’s where our growth plans are.

“This is the one missing link from our portfolio. We’ve been getting a lot of demand and we believe this will make us the partner of choice. We’re already number one with O2 and we aim to do the same with Vodafone by next year.”

Vodafone is understood to have been keen to rekindle its relationship with CPS, as a result of its increased focus on ICT,  fixed line, VoIP and broadband sales as well as fully utilising products and services acquired and developed through its acquisition of Cable and Wireless in 2012 for £1 billion.

Chess has specialised in these areas for more than 23 years and has acquired more than 80 companies in the past decade to boost its portfolio and expertise. It  has an enviable customer base of around 50,000 across its entire business.

“Having lots of products doesn’t make a good business,” said Pett.

“It’s how you support your customers and that’s what sets us apart is our relationships.”

He concluded: “The more we develop our existing relationships, the more likely our partners will connect. It’s a small industry and forging and maintaining those relationships is key to achieving our ambitions.”

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