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TT Systems signed a licensing agreement with Sunbeam to produce a line of mass-market home phone products under the Sunbeam brand name.
The agreement will put the Sunbeam name on telecom products for the first time, and it expands TT's branded portfolio, which includes the PhoneMate and Bell Equipment SONECOR brands for home telecom products.
The products are scheduled to hit retail shelves in the fourth quarter of 2002 and beginning of 2003. They will include caller ID adjuncts, trim style corded telephones, a caller ID phone with AM/FM clock radio, and 2.4GHz analog cordless phones with large keypad buttons.
Though more specific product details weren't available, TT Systems sales VP Mark Weinberger said product development centers on several mass-market priorities, with value being paramount. The expected retail prices of the Sunbeam-branded products will range from $19.99 to $59.99.
Phone designs will focus on ease of use, with large keypad buttons and a simplified feature set.
The company has no plans yet to produce any digital cordless phones or 900MHz cordless phones.
"As far as the market is moving, it's clearly going in the direction of 2.4GHz, so that's where we decided to play," Weinberger said. "If you're going with a new brand, you don't want old technology."
As for the decision to eschew digital, price was the overwhelming reason, although Weinberger indicated that the door was not completely shut on Sunbeam digital cordless phones in the future.
With the licensing arrangement, TT Systems will tap into several mass-market channels, such as mass merchants and drug stores, where its other licensed brands have more limited play. Sunbeam, which has traditionally been associated with small home/kitchen appliances, will serve to broaden TT Systems' distribution channels, Weinberger added.
"It's very important, in this market, to be differentiated," he said.
"Drug stores, mass merchants and supermarkets have more exposure to other Sunbeam products, and we think they'll be more receptive to stock phones with the Sunbeam brand," Weinberger said. "It's similar to the success that the Conair brand of phones has had in food and drug stores. Retailers and consumers are familiar with the Conair phone brand because they see it on other in-store items, such as hair-care products, and as such retailers feel confident" the phone products can move. TT Systems is hoping to enjoy similar brand-induced success with its line of Sunbeam phones.
As such, the packaging will be in line with other Sunbeam products so there will be no mistaking that it's a Sunbeam product. "It will come packaged like a Sunbeam hairdryer," he said.
Said Sunbeam's senior licensing VP Linda Morgenstern, "The critical element in the success of our licensing efforts is the careful selection of licensees able to deliver products on time, appropriately packaged for maximum shelf appeal. With a 27-year track record of success in telecommunications, TT Systems has the experience and expertise to ensure the success of the new Sunbeam telecommunications product line."
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