Retail king Harvey Norman moved closer to its goal of 50,000 connections a year yesterday by awarding the tender for its mobile phone connections business to Optus and Vodafone.
The mobile phones business now complements existing product areas within Harvey Norman's communications department, including faxes, office automation equipment, mobile phones accessories and multifunction products.
According to Tony Gattari, Harvey Norman's general manager for computers and communications, the Optus/Vodafone deal signals the start of the retailer's bid to attack the comms market. It also serves a warning to Telstra and AAPT along with the plethora of mobile phone speciality shops that dot the landscape.
"We want to make mobile phones more hands-on; to take the products out of the glass cabinets," Gattari declared.
Harvey Norman officials claimed Optus and Vodafone snared the deal as they were the only carriers which could change their model in order to suit the mass market retail channel.
Both Optus and Vodafone officials are confident of increasing mobile phone sales through Harvey Norman with Optus' national manager, retail marketplace, Matt Davey, claiming the carrier expects to triple current mobile phone sales figures over the next couple of years.