Sigfox operator Heliot reengages UK channel with flexi pricing, hefty bonuses

European Sigfox operator Heliot Europe is ramping up its UK channel activity following its acquisition earlier this year of Sigfox networks in the UK and Ireland from Latin American Sigfox specialist WND. The UK arm of the Switzerland-based firm, which also runs Sigfox networks in various countries in mainland Europe, said it has come up with a new business model for partners which is “predictable and profitable”, to help Heliot make a better fist of new-look Sigfox-based IoT than its predecessor. 

Heliot Europe also runs Sigfox networks in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, and Switzerland. It serves a base of 1.3 million IoT devices across the region. It completed the “integration” of its new UK and Danish operations, acquired from WND and Danish outfit IoT Denmark respectively, last month. The wider Sigfox community, working with new Sigfox-parent Unabiz since the start of 2022, has been emboldened by Unabiz’s tie-ups with various rival factions, most notably with Semtech, which owns the LoRa technology.

Sigfox operators are increasingly inclined to sell other cellular and non-cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) IoT solutions alongside Sigfox, as a consequence – in pursuit of wider- and deeper-ranging IoT contracts. Heliot Europe’s strategic rejig in the UK is geared to attract more sales partners; it cited figures from analyst firm IoT Analytics that the overall IoT market is showing continued growth in the market, up 18 percent globally in 2022 to 14.3 billion active IoT endpoints, scheduled to jump a further 16 percent in 2023 to 16.7 billion endpoints. 

It said it wants to “recruit… partners across the UK and Europe [with] the best and most reliable basis for successful IoT projects”. Part of this claim is just to do with the fabled battery life of Sigfox devices, which the firm puts at “up to 10 years”; certain no-fuss maintenance benefits and energy savings come with this, it said. But to this end, Heliot Europe has revised the terms of its contractual agreements with IoT resellers, under a new business partner scheme, which splits dealers into four categories (authorized, silver, gold, and “integration”).

The key benefit, it appears, is to give partners access to a so-called “connectivity price grid”, offering some flexibility around “solution pricing”, plus “immediate rewards” for “sales efforts”; longer term enterprise contracts of more than 12 months, for example, provide some kind of sales discount (“up to 10 percent”). Heliot Europe is also promising access to “exclusive products and offers” and a new rewards and incentive scheme. Base-level ‘authorized’ partners get access to the connectivity price grid, plus support in terms of training and co-marketing activities. 

Silver-level dealers, required to pay a “small commitment fee” in return for a “inviting and lucrative bonus” for selling connectivity on top. Gold partners, also on a “commitment”, are rewarded with greater bonuses on connectivity sales. Both levels are to encourage partners to commit to activate an agreed number of devices under contracts within three years of partnership, the company said – “generally secured by a one-off down payment, the amount of which varies depending on the partnership level, and the underlying volume commitment.”

It said: “The commitment fee is 50 percent of the token price for the committed volume and is due with the beginning of the partnership. Later, when activating a device, 50 percent of the first year’s token price is taken from this down payment.” Top-level integration partners, which are obliged to “launch prototype(s)… based on Heliot’s technology within six months”, get close consultancy and sales support from the team at Heliot Europe, plus all the gold-level gains. 

Gareth Mitchell, UK partner manager at Heliot Europe, commented: “Heliot is committed to the channel. We rely on partners to be our sales distribution network, so that we can focus on operating and extending our world-class radio network. Our dedicated channel team and partner program is devoted to supporting your sales and marketing activities. The more you grow your sales, the more benefits you earn. With all channel partnership levels we offer extremely attractive prices for connectivity.”

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