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D-day for Yes as Voda restarts B2B channel

Michael Garwood
August 16, 2010

Vodafone subsidiary Yes Telecom is rebranded as ‘Vodafone Partner Services’ (VPS), as Vodafone looks to inject new life into its SME activity in the sales channel

Vodafone unit Yes Telecom is to be re-branded Vodafone Partner Services (VPS) next month, when Vodafone unites its various ‘enterprise indirect’ channels and sets about taking share from O2 in the SME market.

From September, all Vodafone dealer partners will work on a single billing, commission reconciliation and stock ordering platform via VPS.

Dealers that have previously worked with Vodafone ‘directly’ will now go through VPS. Daisy Communications’ duo of Vodafone airtime distributors Anglia Telecom and Fone Logistics will also work via VPS, Mobile News understands. Traditional Yes Telecom connectors will deal now with the VPS-branded unit.

Direct dealers, currently connecting via a number of Vodafone billing systems, including DISE and Gemini, will be moved on to Yes Telecom’s superior Zygo system.

Vodafone is expected to reorganise its tiering system as it brings its channels together, which has until now banded its best direct dealers as ‘premier partners’, its best Yes Telecom connectors as ‘strategic partners, its secondary group of direct dealers as ‘certified partners’, and its secondary Yes Telecom element as ‘gold partners’.

It is unclear, still, how new gradings will develop, or which club brands will survive.

Vodafone has also been attempting to recruit from parallel fixed line and IT markets for resale of its OneNet unified communications service, which it is releasing slowly among the mobile channel.

Vodafone’s business division, led by enterprise director Peter Kelly and SME director Rob Shardlow (pictured), has been thorough in its reshaping of its indirect business sales channel.

Financial stability of partners has been made a prerequisite for their continuing status with the operator.

It recently shut down its relationship with Gateshead-based Fone Solutions, which has since gone into liquidation; its Vodafone base of 5,500 lines has been passed to VPS for redistribution to strategic partners Phonebox Solutions, Wish Communications, Olive Communications and Pure Communications. More terminations are expected.

Vodafone has also sought in recent months to tie key partners into longer-term strategic contracts with better commercial arrangements for a guarantee of business from dealers; on an exclusive basis where it can get it.

Rival operators claimed last week Vodafone has been aggressive lately with its commissions in the dealer market.

Vodafone is expected to launch an ongoing revenue share programme for its broader base shortly, beyond the trial scenarios it is is running with certain of its major partners.

Vodafone issues its next dealer commissions in October, when the revenue share detail is expected.

Vodafone is to take its plans on the road in a series of dealer conferences towards the end of September.

The company is now referred to as VPS internally, both within Vodafone’s Newbury headquarters and Yes Telecom’s Manchester base. All Yes Telecom branded materials have been removed.

The changes have fuelled speculation Vodafone will reduce its dependence on dealer support function in Newark and customer support centre in Banbury.

Vodafone said in a statement: “The indirect channel is set to play an even greater role in the future of Vodafone UK. As we bring Yes Telecom and Vodafone’s indirect activity together.

“We’ll continue to work closely with partners of all sizes to hear their thoughts and help them deliver an outstanding customer experience. It is set to be an exciting time for partners.”

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