We get the down-low on what actually happened
Alcatel was once a brand that was on its way up in the Philippines a few years ago. There was plenty of variety in its lineup, plus its Flash sub-brand managed to disrupt the local market in a time where Xiaomi was still a relatively unknown brand in the Philippines.
But for some reason, the brand fell off the radar, and Flash went up in smoke. While still present in many regions, Alcatel was, for all intents and purposes, MIA in the Philippines these past few years.
This is what Country Head of Alcatel Mobile Rudolph Santos is looking to address. He invited us over to talk about their brand, what happened, his vision for the brand in the Philippines under his leadership and the steps to rebuild the company’s presence in the Philippines.
First, the elephant in the room: what really happened to Alcatel Philippines. Rudolph says there were a lot of corporate changes and reshuffling that happened the past few years that resulted in quite a bit of disruption for the brand.
Operationally there were lots of changes from the region, lots of re-alignment, and a re-organization was made. There were two country head changes in a year before he arrived.
“There were challenges within the organization, how it was set up and how they were making decisions, it all starts from there,” he said.
Because of the re-organization, Alcatel’s 2018 offerings, which were announced last year during Mobile World Congress, was never properly offered to the market.
But as a result of the re-organization, Alcatel Philippines is a much leaner organization, with only 3 people currently working full time for the brand.
This means decisions can be implemented quickly, without any corporate red tape slowing the team down. Being quick and agile in the extremely competitive mobile landscape is key. It’s the same formula that other companies like Honor and Xiaomi utilize to great effect.
And Rudolph knows exactly what he’s in for. An industry veteran that cut his teeth on Nokia (when Nokia still made their own phones) and Star Mobile, he knows exactly what kind of opposition he’s facing in the mobile market.
But despite all of this, he’s still optimistic about their chances in the hyper-competitive market.
“I feel optimistic about it, with how TCL is rebuilding and how things are in store for us in a year or two, and it’s only a matter of time before TCL will be able to flex its muscle,” he said.
TCL is the parent company of Alcatel.
And despite stiff competition, Alcatel has a solid plan in place to appeal to consumers.
“At the end of the day I want to get users back, we want to play the volume game. One good thing going on for us is that we have a good after sales arrangement,” he adds.
Rudolph doesn’t want people waiting for a long time for their phones to be repaired if there’s a problem, and he’s willing to make customers’ lives easier by simplifying the repair and warranty process.
“If the users find a real problem about the device within the warranty period, and if we feel that it’s more economical for us to just swap the device with a new one, we will do it,” he elaborated.
Alcatel’s current roster of phones includes the Alcatel 5V, 5, 1x, 1, U3 and 3026G, a feature phone.
The Alcatel 5V and 5 are pretty, affordable phones with tempting price tags. The 5V is powered by MediaTek’s Helio P22 processor, has 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and 6.2-inch HD display. It has dual cameras on the rear, led by a 12-megapixel shooter plus an 8-megapixel selfie cam.
The Alcatel 5’s claim to fame is its pretty body and dual-selfie camera. It’s the most affordable smartphone today that has a wide-angle selfie camera.
The 1x, 1 and U3 are all entry-level devices for first time Android users, and the 3026G is a feature phone meant for people who still want to use a cool clamshell phone that’s tough and easy to use.
So why buy Alcatel when there are other options already in the market?
Rudolph is confident that low price and solid aftermarket support will draw people to the brand.
“We’re really looking to put Alcatel back in the map. At the end of the day the Alcatel brand is still synonymous to being your first phone, being a very reliable brand,” he says.
It’s an uphill battle for Alcatel this year, that’s for sure. But if they play their cards right, they may just be able to carve out a place in the market.
- Alcatel 5V: Php 9,990
- Alcatel 5: Php 8,490
- Alcatel 1x: Php 4,990
- Alcatel 1: Php 3,990
- Alcatel U3: Php 2,690
- Alcatel 3026G: Php 2,490