Jobs boost as telecoms firm prepares for launch

Robert McKechnie, managing director on TenTel, based in Selkirk
Robert McKechnie, managing director on TenTel, based in Selkirk

Up to 50 people could be employed by Christmas at a new firm which will start trading on Monday, the company’s managing director has said.

TenTel, based at Ettrick Riverside, currently has 18 employees, but Robert McKechnie told The Wee Paper that if everything goes to plan then that could increase to 50 by the end of the year.

The company will be the first to offer same-day telephone and broadband services without holding customers to long-term contracts.

It will target customers in rented accommodation and aims to work in partnership with landlords and letting agents, offering them a commission.

Mr McKechnie anticipates signing up 20,000 customers in TenTel’s first year, generating a turnover of around £9million.

It is estimated that in five years it will have 100,000 customers.

Mr McKechnie, said: “This is a brand new approach in the telecoms market that offers customers a less expensive and more convenient service, while also providing a new income stream for landlords.

“Because we don’t spend large sums on marketing campaigns or sales commissions to switching sites, we can pass on those savings in the form of cheaper deals to our customers and commission to our partners. It’s a win-win.”

He added: “It’s a business opportunity that is currently being missed and we can help landlords and letting agents take advantage of it by partnering with us.”

The company was founded by P.J. Darling, who also created Spark Energy, which has its headquarters in the town and employs 200 people, with plans to grow further this year.

Mr McKechnie said that the Mr Darling’s involvement with TenTel was partly behind the decision to establish the headquarters in Selkirk.

However, he added: “Part of it is also the cost to run a business from a property perspective, and it is absolutely value for money here at Ettrick Riverside, and that is down to Scottish Enterprise ... we have had great support from them.”

The company claims to have the most competitive prices in the market and believes that letting agents with 1,000 properties could generate a commission of £25,000 a year.

“This would be the equivalent to them managing an extra 250 properties without incurring any additional workload or expense,” Mr McKechnie said.