Vodafone partners up in WA

13/03/2007 - 22:00

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Sydney-based mobile phone retailer Planet Com is expanding into Western Australia through an exclusive dealer arrangement with Vodafone to open four branded outlets by June.

Sydney-based mobile phone retailer Planet Com is expanding into Western Australia through an exclusive dealer arrangement with Vodafone to open four branded outlets by June.

It is the first time Vodafone has out-sourced its retailing operations in WA and follows a successful partnership with the company within the New South Wales market.

Planet Com will open its first outlet in WA on March 26 at Whitford City Shopping Centre, followed by Carousel Cannington in early April and Galleria Morley in early May.

A fourth store is on the cards at a location yet to be confirmed.

Vodafone general manager Darren Hayes told WA Business News that rather than wait for critical mass, the company would be ratcheting up its exposure in the WA market.

“Based on current customer demand, I think we’ll have the capability to pollinate more of these gold dealer outlets in the future without cannibalising our fully branded core stores,” he said.

It is understood Planet Com will pay a commission to Vodafone based on the number of product units it sells, and will receive financial assistance to get established.

Planet Com founder Michael Gu established the business in Australia in October 2005, opening an outlet in Burwood NSW.

He now has eight stores in the state, with a ninth store set to open in late April.

Mr Gu said WA was a boom state and Planet Com saw a huge opportunity to grow in the market as Vodafone increased its market share.

“Planet Com will grow as long as there is the market for business and WA will be our first step to becoming a national retailer,” Mr Gu said.

Planet Com will be entering WA at a time when Telstra and Optus are jostling for a bigger slice of the lucrative mobile market through their Testra Shop and Optus World branded outlets.

The market is also getting crowded with dealers such as Crazy Johns, Living Digital, B Digital, 3, All Phones and Virgin Mobile offering connection to one or a number of networks.

Savills divisional director retail services Chris Ireland said if the market for mobile phones had reached critical mass then the level of inquiry would drop, but he had not noticed this happening. 

Rather, he has been fielding significant interest from not only mobile phone shops, kiosks and outlets, but all sectors of retailing eager to get a position in one or a number of existing and proposed shopping centre developments around Perth.

“On the back of the economic boom, everyone wants to get in. We’ve noticed more interest now for space than there ever has been in the past from all the retailing sectors,” Mr Ireland said.

Vodafone plans to open another four core stores in WA this year, to add to its portfolio of 21 stores.

Mr Hayes said the mobile industry in Australia had been increasing its revenue at a rate of five to six per cent a year, a result he largely attributes to falling costs and an increasing consumer switch from land lines phones to mobiles.

Fixed-line sales are believed to still make up 80 per cent of the revenue for phone companies in Australia; however, this is widely expected to shift towards the levels of the United States, which currently has a 50 per cent split between fixed-line and mobile revenue.

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