«We succeeded in achieving very good financial results for all of the Swiss companies. The EBIT of CHF 36.3 million achieved in Switzerland underlined this.»

How would you take stock for mobilezone Switzerland for the past fiscal year 2021?

The fiscal year 2021 was shaped by many positive aspects. For example, we succeeded in achieving very good financial results for all of the Swiss companies. This was underlined by the EBIT achieved of CHF 36.3 million with an increase of 16.2 percent in Switzerland. We are especially pleased we succeeded in clearly exceeding our customer growth target of 30 percent for our MVNO TalkTalk with over 46 percent. The development of customer satisfaction also deserves positive mention. We managed to advance many strategic projects, such as the mobilezone Club or our brand for used smartphones "jusit". We were able to further develop the segment "Device as a Service" in our business customer segment, our offer for companies to rent entire device fleets instead of buying them. The individual online customer portals for our business customers continue to be very popular. 

Our project "Digital Growth", which includes the digital growth and process optimisation of our online channels, also made great strides. 

mobilezone already had positive things to say about its MVNO TalkTalk in the first half-year 2021. What is the way forward here?

We will continue to grow fast in a strongly contested market. We already managed to increase the number of customers in the postpaid SIM card segment in the first half-year of 2021 from 31,300 to 36,100. In the second half-year, we even succeeded in accelerating the growth further so that we were able to chalk up about 45,000 postpaid customers as of 31 December 2021. The online channel made an above-average contribution to net customer acquisition of 13,700 in 2021. In the 2020 fiscal year we gained net 4,500 customers. We thus managed to triple net customer acquisition. By the end of 2022, we want to have 66,000 postpaid customers.

mobilezone operates over 120 shops throughout Switzerland. How would you sum up the shop business?

In Switzerland, we rely on the omnichannel strategy: This means we provide our customers with tailor-made and needs-appropriate information as well as the offer desired across all sales channels so that advice and sales deals can occur at the POS (offline) or online. Accordingly, we continue to rely heavily on physical shops at attractive locations. In order to be able to offer our customers a positive shopping experience, we renovated 37 shops in the fiscal year 2021 and gave them the latest shop layout. The number of our shops grew from 123 to 124 in the fiscal year 2021. A shop was added in the "Fressbalken", the motorway service station Würenlos, including repair shop – of which we operate a total of nine throughout Switzerland. Our customers can also buy used and refurbished devices of the "jusit" brand in a total of eleven shops – here too the outcome was positive. Due to the pandemic, the frequency in the shops in the fiscal year 2021 was at about the same level as 2020 and about 15 percent below that of the pre-pandemic year 2019. Our sales staff on the front line did a great job day by day and advised our customers so successfully that we even managed to surpass the performance in retail of 2019.

By the end of 2022, all of the shops in Switzerland will have been give a great new look. What else is planned for the shops?

As already mentioned, at the end of the fiscal year 2021, the number of our shops was 124. As a result, we have expanded to the maximum extent. Each of our shops is financially successful, which is very positive and confirms that we continue to have a good instinct in picking our locations. Consequently, our main focus in the fiscal year 2022 will be primarily on finalising the conversion and renovation program of our shops. For example, the last 30 shops will be renovated and adjusted to the latest shop layout. 

In addition, in the second quarter we will open a shop at the Zurich airport. We will not extend the pilot experiment of a shop-in-shop concept in the post offices Mont Blanc in Geneva and Aarau, which we launched in October 2020. 

We will also continue to reinforce the interplay mentioned between physical sales and our online presence in the new fiscal year. 

The further development of the accessory product range is an important goal for mobilezone Switzerland. Could you explain the importance of accessories and tell us what the road map is?

In the fiscal year 2021, mobilezone increased accessories sales in Switzerland to CHF 23.9 million (2020: CHF 21.5 million) The sale of accessories plays a very significant role for mobilezone. We reinforced the team in Product Management here in order to be able to continue to grow. We intend to further expand our product range in the fiscal year 2022 and also focus on online business. 

In the past, you often stressed the importance of the repair and second life business of mobilezone – in February 2022, you brought the former mobiletouch and central warehouse to Rotkreuz. What do you hope to achieve with this reorganisation?

We moved the headquarters of mobilezone to Rotkreuz at the end of 2018. In line with the "one-company idea", it makes sense to also move the repair and second life business, the former mobiletouch and current mobilezone reload from Zweidlen and our warehouse from Regensdorf to Rotkreuz. As a result, one service hub was created for the maintenance, repair and refurbishing of mobile devices close to the headquarters. This reorganisation is a logical step to improve the processes. Synergies can be more efficiently exploited due to the spatial concentration and the two segments can be even better supported by the headquarters. We reinforced the strategic focus on the repair and refurbishing business with the move and renaming from mobiletouch to mobilezone reload. Furthermore, we are glad that the employees are now even closer. This not only saves travel, but also allows us to move even closer together as a team. We would like to exploit the momentum of the move to position ourselves even more strongly in the segment repair and second life of mobile devices. 

What is the significance of the repair and second life management segment within mobilezone Switzerland?

It plays an important strategic role with the Swiss organisation. Thanks to mobilezone reload, mobilezone can cover the entire value chain of a smartphone. We sell mobile devices in our 124 shops throughout Switzerland, buy back used devices in the shops and online, have them checked and repaired by our manufacturer-certified technicians and then return them as second life devices online and in selected shop under the brand "jusit" to the device life cycle. Moreover, thanks to this business line, we can support our business customer segment. 

In addition, we operate service points and repair centres for customers in our own shops and also for mobile communications providers, who prefer to rely on a partner for running a workshop and supply the Swiss repair sector with original spare parts from selected manufacturers.

mobilezone launched a customer benefit program in 2020 in the form of the mobilezone Club. What is your assessment here?

The mobilezone Club, launched in autumn 2020, is a classic customer benefit program, which offers our customers the option of benefiting from many advantages as club members. Club members can collect points with every purchase and then use these for payment. They benefit from exclusive offers and are treated with priority when devices are launched. To make the membership even more attractive, we have made assignment of the club points more transparent and created the option of not only redeeming points in our shops as payment, but also soon online. Furthermore, there will in future be personalised offers for Club members, such as birthday and loyalty gifts and other advantages.

What are your expectations for mobilezone Switzerland for the current year?

We will continue to grow organically. In our core business, mobile communications contracts and fixed network contracts (Internet and TV), we also expect intensive competition in 2022 and are confident that we will be able to exploit this for us. In the accessories business, we want to achieve growth in the upper single figure percent range. We aim to achieve further growth in our shops and online – for example, with TalkTalk, where we want to increase online deals. Moreover, we want to reinforce the e-commerce segment and make it even better across all sales channels for our customers in line with the omnichannel strategy. We would like to further develop the second life segment of products with "jusit" – in commercial terms as well as in line with the sustainability idea. We will also do everything in the business customer segment to be able to more than confirm the successful year 2021.