Mobile handset maker Samsung has announced its launch into the Irish market and has set itself the ambitious target of achieving a 10-12pc market share by the year-end and a 15pc market share within 12 months.
The Korean-based company is initially launching five handsets onto the market, which are available through the O2 and Vodafone networks. Two of them – the ZV10 and the Z500 – are 3G handsets and so will be available exclusively on Vodafone’s 3G network; the other three – the E350, E530 and X480 – will be sold by O2.
Speaking to siliconrepublic.com before yesterday’s launch, Mark Mitchinson, director of Samsung Mobile UK & Ireland, said the five handsets had been chosen following consultations with the two networks and represented the right mix for the Irish market.
Interestingly, neither the D500, a bestseller in the UK, or its successor, the critically acclaimed D600, would be available here initially although the company planned to introduce the latter model “if all goes well” said Mitchinson.
He added that the company’s choice of operator did not preclude it signing distribution agreements with the other two operators – 3 and Meteor – at a later date. “This is just phase one,” he pointed out.
Mitchinson characterised the Irish market as very different to the UK with a higher proportion of prepaid users and extremely high average revenue per user. And despite the very high ownership of mobile phones – 94pc of the population – there was still room for a new entrant into the marketplace to make an impact, he felt.
The company would be positioning its handsets at the mid to high end of the market and hoped to become the handset of choice for users looking to upgrade from established brands such as Nokia, which had been selling “predominantly low-end products”, claimed Mitchinson. He also suggested the Irish market – with two strong networks and one dominant handset brand – had become a bit complacent in recent years and therefore presented scope for a hungry new player.
Samsung Mobile has opened a Dublin office to drive business in the Irish market and is backing its Irish launch with an €850k marketing campaign.
Samsung Mobile, which represents just over a third of Samsung Electronics’ annual turnover, already operates across Europe. It is on target to ship more than 100 million handsets worldwide by the end of 2005, which will make it the second largest handset manufacturer in the world.
By Brian Skelly