The phone house 2000-2007 : case study
Whereas the mobile phone service market in France is a clear cut case of oligopolistic competition, the mobile service distribution market is much more competitive thanks to the presence of a greater number and variety of players. There are roughly two major categories: first the physical retailers which can be defined by opposition to the internet based retailers. They are by far the more numerous at the time of this case study elaboration. Second the internet based distributors which remain in the shadows of this study. As a matter of fact, it seems better to focus our attention on the physical distributors.
These distributors fall mainly into three categories. They are either the MNO’s own distribution network, or mass merchandisers. Finally, they can be independent distributors whose sole business is to sell telephones, telephone services and various consumables linked to the telephones they sell.
The MNO’s own retailing network are dedicating to the promotion and retailing of the MNO’s services. They represent 55% of mobile services sold in France in 2007 thanks to the fact that they offer a direct access between the service provider and the final consumer. They have a tight national network: the smallest, Bouygues Telecom, has about 500 outlets. On the top of that, we must add many independent retailers who sell MNO’s services and who, in exchange are used by the MNO’s as an extra advertising and promotion base to reach their customers.
In second position we find the mass merchandisers such as Auchan, Carrefour. They use their national network of well known hypermarkets to reach customers that may escape the nets of the MNO’s retailing network. They represent about 10% of the distribution but they also use their network to distribute their own telephone services using different differentiations strategies but with a common aim: cutting a slice of