Monday, 18 February 2008

I think Vodafone gets it

Below is an excerpt from a Press Release from Vodafone:

Vodafone Group Plc today announces the creation of Vodafone Internet Services which will lead the development and delivery of Vodafone’s current and future consumer propositions for the internet. Vodafone has appointed Pieter Knook, a senior vice president of Microsoft, to the newly formed role of Director of Internet Services.

I think this is a smart move from Vodafone which again demonstrates its strategic maturity compared to its peers. To be more than a bit pipe it needs to be a portal of choice for the end user. In fact, I would argue for its stock market valuation it needs to be a portal first and an operator second. I think this hire is an excellent statement of intent in this direction as well as bringing top tier resource again into its management structure.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

User tenacity: why operators need to shape up

Some of the team members have returned from the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There was one anecdote that I found fascinating and another wake-up call to the operators - are they listening?

On T-Mobile the cost of mobile data roaming when abroad is £7.50 per MB - this means the BBC homepage alone costs £2.25!!!! Sensible as they are the guys recognised this as a rip-off and bought local SIM cards to pay local rates while they were there. By the by, this is now standard practice for any sustained trip in our company.

They went further. They downloaded JoikuSpot which allowed one of them to establish their phone as a Wifi hotspot using the local data connection and then routed all other WiFi enabled phones through that.

Granted that these are techy savvy users I will take the point that this will not worry T-Mobile too much. However, what tech savvy users are doing today is test prototype methods for avoiding costs tomorrow for the mass market.

If T-Mobile had charged less then the team would not have gone to such efforts, but their pricing is well above the sweetspot and this behaviour ensued. Remember that SMS evolved only because it was cheaper than voice calls - one can hardly call the interface user friendly.

As a result of their pricing T-Mobile did not receive one cent of revenue from a significant number of high using early adopters.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


In the midst of the noisy flurry from this year's annual jaunt to Barcelona for the mobile industry was this announcement concerning the purchase of Danger by Microsoft. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed but I hope that the Danger guys are happy - some of the nicest, happiest and most genuine people I have met in the industry. At times I know it was a hard slog but this would appear to be a great outcome for their efforts. Well done to Hank, James, Jamie and the rest of the team.