Vodafone cards offer margin boost to notebook dealers

Vodafone cards offer margin boost to notebook dealers

Vodafone is encouraging take-up of its latest 3G mobile broadband offering, touting juicy margins and cross-sell possibilities for notebook dealers.

The telco launched a 3G network in Australia last month, announcing a Vodafone Mobile Connect (VMC) data card for notebooks, which is distributed by Ingram Micro.

Vodafone general manager for business, Mark Iles, said the telco had decided to push the product through the IT channel to take advantage of the dramatic rise in notebook sales.

With notebook margins continuing to slide, Vodafone channel manager, Jason Murray, said the cards offered resellers new cross-sell opportunities that could potentially double or treble their profits.

Vodafone estimated resellers would make margins of up to $180 on a single VMC sale. It retails for $399 with users having the choice of three monthly subscription deals: an entry-level $29.95 plan with 100MB downloads; a $49.95 plan with 300MB; or a $99.95 unlimited plan.

"There is a real opportunity around the convergence of telco and IT," Murray said. "This is an opportunity for the channel to keep relationships by expanding their portfolio."

For Sydney-based reseller, DPI Systems' Michael Blumentals, the cards were an opportunity to tack extra margin onto a basic product sale.

"We make almost as much on the cards as we do on just about any brand of notebook," he said. "One of our primary focuses in the New Year is to find more products we can attach to bolster the margins.

"VMC is a very complementary product. It is also a fairly new thing to have broadband on a data card, which is something every notebook warrior has been looking to achieve."

Blumentals said it was now attaching a VMC to all of its notebook quotes.

While initial response had been slow, he predicted a forthcoming marketing campaign from Vodafone would see sales grow.

With more than 600 dealers now registered to sell its Blackberry service, Vodafone has also launched a new Activation Service via Ingram Micro to help partners activate customer accounts.

Murray said one of the biggest concerns expressed by traditional IT resellers about taking on the Blackberry service was the difficulty of completing the SIM activation requirements.

Vodafone was also looking to give local systems builders OEM access to the VMC cards via Ingram, Murray said.

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