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Wed 8 Mar 2006 04:00 AM

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Axiom joins global mobile distribution quartet

The Middle East largest mobile handset retailer has joined forces with three other major global players to form Braxda, an alliance that resells over 50 million phones each year.

Four of the world’s major mobile phone resellers, including the Middle East’s largest retailer and distributor Axiom Telecom, have come together to form a purchasing alliance. The quartet is made up of Axiom, US retailer RadioShack, Danish wholesaler and supply chain manager Dangaard and US reseller Brightstar.

The alliance is called Braxda – seemingly an amalgamation of the four company names – and has combined access to 70,000 points of sale across 52 countries, reselling over 50 million phone a year, as much as many of the world’s largest operators.

Faisal al Bannai, Axiom Telecom’s founder and CEO, says the new company is looking to expand its reach with new members. "The founding companies are excited about the potential for this new alliance, and we are actively seeking high-growth companies in the wireless arena to join us in this venture. Increasing the reach of the alliance will benefit both consumers and manufacturers."

According to Michael Kohn, COO of Dangaard, the four companies will exceed the purchasing power of all international operators, with the sole exception of the UK’s Vodafone. “We can now go to Nokia, Motorola and Samsung and offer them to launch one product across the world in one introduction, through only one point of contact,” he adds. With the top five mobile handset manufacturers launching almost one new model each week, such launches are extremely important.

The four companies will remain independent, but the move is expected to give them better negotiating strength with manufacturers.

Earlier this year Faisal al Bannai said that he was looking to make Dubai-based Axiom Telecom a provider, rather than just a handset supplier, across the Middle East. Similar to the Virgin Mobile model, he said Axiom would become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), utilising the infrastructure of another provider.

“The question is will it be a year or three, this is the timeframe,” he told CommsMEA in January, adding that he expects the first Axiom MVNO to be launched before the end of 2007. “But I hope it is sooner than that.”

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