Operators are not doing enough to promote the business benefits of 4G, and confused messages could even lead to ‘mis-selling’, it was claimed this week.
The criticisms were made by dealers and came as O2 and Vodafone launched new propositions to compete against EE’s previously unchallenged 4G service.
O2 partner Abtec Network Systems toured businesses in Leeds, one of the network’s three launch cities, to demonstrate the new technology. However, Abtec head of marketing Chris Topham said consumer offerings had put business in the shade. ‘From a business perspective, neither EE, O2 or Vodafone have driven any sort of conversations of education or any sort of mindset change with 4G,’ he told Mobile.
Topham wants networks to push ‘tangible business benefits’ such as remote desktop access and superfast internet connection for field staff as attractive features of 4G. Instead, O2 and Vodafone are marketing their new propositions on content such as Spotify, Sky Sports and gaming.
‘Many of our clients were asking very consumer-orientated questions. They were enquiring about video-streaming and 4G’s capabilities as a possible home broadband replacement. We had to really work hard at bringing those conversations back to their business needs, even though a lot of these people were decision-makers in their organisation.’
Neil Arkwright, director of telecoms operator Signal Telecom, said there was ‘confusion in the proposition, which could lead to mis-selling’, while another unnamed b2b source added: ‘The operators have missed a huge opportunity. They’ve been banging on about how you can upload videos quicker, and how you can watch TV on it - all the things you really don’t want your staff to do, when the real message is that it is all about apps and software and being able to integrate with systems. Then they wonder why businesses don’t want it.’
An EE spokeswoman responded that the company had ‘invested millions in educating consumers and businesses’, adding that half of its new and upgrading business customers are plumping for 4G.
She said: ‘We began educating businesses through our 4G Britain campaign months before launching…now, from demonstrating how 4G is tangibly transforming business, we continue to educate British businesses on how 4G can benefit them.’
O2 went one step further, launching a £30,000 competition to develop an app to help business customers understand 4G. A spokesman added that the operator ‘held a number of seminars and webinars for both partners and some larger business customers’ to improve understanding.
However, Topham also said the lack of coverage is holding 4G back as a universal business proposition. He added: ‘O2 launching in thirteen cities by the end of the year is all well and good, but I think a lot of businesses are holding back until there is a wider network out there. We can actually make it much more business focused – there are some really great business benefits, but we’re just not talking about them well enough.’
Author: Matthew Campelli