Brighter star

Brighter star

Nathan Mitchell

Nathan Mitchell, IT channel manager for mobility, Brightstar Europe

Brightstar Europe was created around three years ago, the result of a joint venture between Tech Data and US-based firm, Brightstar. Now, Brightstar Europe is ready to hit the channel. Here, Nathan Mitchell, IT channel manager for mobility at Brightstar Europe, gives us the details.

Brightstar Europe is feeling plucky and fresh as it makes its official debut into the UK channel. Of course, it has been around as a mobile distributor to the big guys, including Vodafone, Orange, TMobile, Tesco, Argos, Carphone Warehouse and Fones4U, for some time, but it is only now that the business is ready to work with the channel.

This relatively new entrant into the channel has the backing of its heavyweight global parent, Tech Data Group, which has a predicated turnover for 2011 of £24.4 billion. Mobile distributor Brightstar Europe, enterprise specialist Azlan, design software and autodesk specialist Datech, and audio visual distributor Maverick, are all divisions of Computer2000 in the UK, which is part of the Tech Data Group.

Specialist extraordinaire

“We are a collection of specialists,” says Mitchell. “If you are a mobile dealer and you want to sell a phone system, we can bring another part of Computer2000 in to get you accredited and trained. If you want to sell laptops, tablets, Cloud technology, unified communications, telephony systems or audio visual equipment, we can help,” states Mitchell.

“Brightstar Europe concentrated on the very big players in the mobile channel initially, and those really big players wanted to deal with us because of the strength of our business, systems and logistics,” notes Mitchell.

“We have the ability to help dealers and resellers from mobile, comms and IT move into any other area they choose to; it’s a very healthy proposition.”

“We have the biggest portfolio of mobile vendors out of any mobile distributor in the market, buying direct from every single mobile manufacturer bar Nokia – for now. And we have the ability to help dealers and resellers from mobile, comms and IT move into any other area they choose to; it’s a very healthy proposition.”

 

Strong growth

The business has strong forecasts for its growth this year. Brightstar Europe currently sells to around 300 IT and comms resellers per month, and about 300 mobile dealers; Mitchell intends to grow that 600 and double it by the end of 2011. One place where he may find some of that new batch of enthusiastic dealers and resellers is within Computer2000, which currently sells IT products to a huge 6,000 resellers per month; Mitchell intends to tap into that and find out who is interested in selling mobile, while also recruiting from outside the company.

Mitchell adds: “We are recruiting mobility partners now. As well as increasing our partners by 100% by the end of this year, we would also like to double our revenue. We have some big plans for this year. We want to launch airtime across all the networks soon, and we want to major in tablets,” he remarks.

Explaining, Mitchell continues: “Tablets are a priority for us, and they will really excite the IT reseller channel. I think tablets are more of an IT play than a mobile one. The people that sell laptops seem to be the ones showing the most interest in selling tablets. But, it is a new market, so we are waiting to see how it develops.” Logistically, Brightstar Europe benefits from its parent company’s infrastructure; it boasts some of the best logistics in Europe, claims Mitchell. “Our logistics is second to none,” he says.

“We utilise Computer2000’s systems, and that company is the largest It distributor in Europe. We use its returns system, and have online portals for software, hardware, and support, all of which are integrated services that have been set up and running for a long time, and designed for the IT channel, which won’t take any rubbish IT, let me tell you.”

 

Ed Says

All in all, Brightstar Europe will be one to watch over the next few months. As with a couple of years ago when we watched Micro-P edging into the mobile and telecoms space, so we now watch another fat company making its first tentative steps onto our turf. It will be interesting to see how it does, and how this increased competition from a player with big backing affects smaller mobile distributers in the UK channel. Let’s see if this bright star shines prettily, or turns into a supernova….