Spotlight

Spotlight

Elizabeth Sparrow, O-bit Telecom’s

Elizabeth Sparrow, O-bit Telecom’s sales and marketing director

Under the spotlight this month is Elizabeth Sparrow, O-bit Telecom’s sales and marketing director. O-bit offers a full range of telecoms products and services. The business has expanded to include voice, data, broadband, SMS, VoIP, mobile, mobile content, geographic and non-geographic numbers, software, global calling cards and conferencing solutions, and it has its own voice and broadband networks.

MB: O-bit Telecom expanded its portfolio with the launch of mobile products and services last October; why did the company decide that mobile would be a good addition, and will it enable the company access to different channels to market (ie, mobile dealers), or does it simply provide more stuff for existing resellers to sell?

ES: The reason O-bit Telecom has entered into the mobile market is not only due to its natural coupling with fixed line telephony, but it is the first time that we have been able a competitive white labelled solution to resellers.

The move is also part of an ongoing process to expand our portfolio with higher margin products and long term contracts, which have practical benefits. With the margin squeeze we’re seeing, with minutes and line rentals being

given away at cost, we’re always looking at ways we can add value for the reseller market, and mobile is a perfect fit for that.

Mobile traffic now makes up to 70% of call volumes over its network, and with mobile network operators moving into the fixed line market, traditional resellers have to make similar advances in the opposite direction.

Introducing mobile and diversifying your product set in general is a natural way in which resellers can lock out the competition. It’s about constantly creating new vehicles in which to engage with new and existing end users. If you already have a pool of people who have bought into your message and values, you should be able to comfortably introduce them to a new aspect of your portfolio. Mobile is not only relatively easy to understand, but has healthy margins. The key to success is finding different ways to add value to your service, which is what O-bit is here to help resellers do with our white labelled solution.

MB: How important is it for resellers to bill all services, including mobile, in their own brand, and is it of more relevance now the market is more competitive?

ES: Our market research has told us that resellers want to bill all services, including mobile, in their own brand; in order to build value in your business it is imperative to have customer ownership and to be able to demonstrate sustainable future revenues and profit. The best way to do this is to own the contract. Yet until now this has been a great drawback of reselling mobile, as the operator owns the billing, so it has prevented many businesses from diversifying into this area.

The ‘one bill’ solution is the ultimate in service wrap for a reseller and this allows them to build in a contract term to services that are usually sold on a 30 day rolling period. If a mobile has a 24 month contract and the end user receives all services on one bill, this essentially wraps the rest of the products into the same contract term.

On top of this it allows the reseller to brand all products under their own brand and build value into their proposition. As far as the end user knows, the reseller becomes the carrier and the end user doesn’t need to deal with anyone else.

Ultimately, whitelabel billing is a key growth area; an increasing number of companies are recognising that in order to compete, they must be able to send out invoices on behalf of their resellers, displaying their logo and collecting the monies on their behalf, enabling them to realise their own revenues. If they are able to support it, billing companies should also be offering services such as credit control that help to alleviate much of the back office administration that resellers can often find difficult to manage. This allows them to focus on the sales, revenues and margins of their organisation.

MB: Does offering mobile as well as voice, data, broadband, SMS services, IP telephony, geographic and non-geographic numbers, software and audio conferencing solutions, allow O-bit to catch up with its competitors, or differentiate itself from them in this already rather crowded marketplace?

ES: The challenge for our resellers and for ourselves when selling mobile, is to find out how to add value if the tariffs and products are basically the same. The key to differentiating yourself is being an existing supplier for other services and being able to offer to meet your customers’ whole communications needs. O-bit is able to set itself apart from its competitors by not only offering a full suite of products and services, but wrapping them in a way that adds value for the reseller.

While mobile does provide the opportunity to wrap it with other solutions, capture higher margin products and win long term contracts, this should be coupled with choosing the right supplier who will also help them take it to market in a unique way. By working with O-bit to find a USP, resellers can wrap their products in a way that is going to be unique to them.

In order to do this, and differentiate ourselves in the marketplace, O-bit is producing whitelabel marketing collateral and providing inhouse and on the job training to accompany our new mobile range. The aim is to get partners to a stage where they can take advantage of new opportunities in mobile as and when they arise.