… On price competition
‘TalkTalk’s [£12 a month unlimited SIM contract] offer is incredibly aggressive, the UK market is probably one of the markets with the highest number of MVNOs, it’s a highly competitive market. Prices are probably a third of what they are in the United States. The ability to provide more products is a differentiator and we are able to offer EE broadband and TV - we can compete very well with TalkTalk on that kind of level. The other thing we have is network differentiation, TalkTalk has no access to a double-speed 4G network, and it’s not relying on a network that has the same level of coverage.
‘There’s a lot of other benefits for our customers; services, retail stores they can pop in to when things don’t go right to plan, on-shore customer service. You get what you pay for and with EE you get a combination of network quality, service quality and retail quality. That’s how you compete with them.’
… Retail plans
‘We now have 550 retail stores in a number of locations, although we have reduced the number of stores, we are making progress. We are seeing the results of our new look and feel, as well as the training and development we’ve done with our store staff. We connect more customers in our stores than we did a year ago; we have had a 22% increase in connections in our retail stores. This is good because it means we can sell additional products.
‘We are growing in our b2b area where we rely more and more on indirect partners. We are probably the fastest-growing B2B company in the space - we had 8% growth in the total number of connections and we recently signed up Azzurri. You saw that we purchased Mainline. All these activities are trying to drive a stronger, better, more powerful indirect channel for B2B.’
… Indirect review
‘We’re looking for fewer long-term partners, and partnerships with companies that are really endorsing our network strategy. Organisations that can see that there’s more to the market than pricing and discounts, it’s about network differentiation and service differentiation. If we don’t focus on that then this market will become less and less attractive from an investment perspective.'
… The implications of the BT deal
‘Most of our employees can see the benefit of this deal, firstly because we’ll have a really stable British shareholder base. Secondly, because we are becoming a more powerful company in terms of investment. BT has also endorsed EE’s strategy to move on-shore jobs from the Philippines to the UK – it has been very supportive in our strategy to keep jobs in the UK; in Scotland, in Wales, in Northern Ireland and in England. A combination of BT and EE will offer more potential career opportunities because the company is larger, has different businesses and is even operating outside the UK. At the beginning of this year we were number 13 on the Sunday Times top 20 companies to work for - there’s not a single telco on that list by the way - we were minus 26 three years ago.
‘It’s exciting, a British champion joining with a giant with fixed line and broadband assets. EE is absolutely focused on delivering its results and we feel really good about the combination with BT. Orange and T-Mobile were two mobile companies coming together, BT is buying something it doesn’t have today - an essentially mobile company. It doesn’t have retail stores so it’ll be buying 550 retail stores. But it is not the same as putting two mobile companies together.’
… On the wider consolidation
‘We have our own agenda, we don’t look too much out of the window. I can’t really comment on the O2 and Three deal, but I can certainly say that EE has changed the mobile industry forever. We have moved the UK from legger to leader in mobile networks. The UK was trailing the US, Korea and many other markets; today we are ahead of many markets and have the biggest 4G customer base in the UK compared with any other European country. We will continue, when the authorities allow us, to come together with BT; we will continue with that investment strategy to bring benefits to the market on consumer and business.’