Three has set its sights on growth in 2014 with a continuing focus on customer experience, the company said today.
Speaking during a conference call with reporters, Three's chief financial officer, Richard Woodward, said: ‘We’ve now got the momentum and a trajectory and we don’t intend to stop. How do we do that? The mobile industry talks a lot about technology and devices. We really want to continue being the challenger talking about customer experiences and removing some of the barriers in an industry that is less trusted than banks.’
Woodward added: ‘Our focus is very much around building a brand that gives customers a fair and enjoyable experience. A great example of this has been our decision to rip up roaming charges in eleven countries. This has been great for customers. We’ve seen data usage go up as customers are now doing with a £500 smartphone all of the things they were prevented from doing because of roaming charges.’
During a frank and revealing discussion, Three's CEO David Dyson (pictured) commented on the company’s high profile split from Carphone Warehouse late last year.
He said: ‘We were introduced into the market by a government that wanted a new entrant to challenge and innovate in the mobile industry. To do that we had to do things differently and, in effect, reinvent the rules of the mobile industry.
‘One of the rules was that you had to deal with one of the big independents to be successful. We tried to break away from that. We clearly made a move and our results show some success. Carphone is an example of that.’
Dyson said, for Three, the result of splitting from Carphone Warehouse was twofold.
He said: ‘It allows us to deliver on the customer experience that we’re trying to achieve. And that is a high quality, consistent experience across all of the channels that our customers deal with us. Having a significant volume going through independent channels that we have less control over was not the right approach for Three as a business.
‘From a customer acquisition perspective, we are managing to live without the big independents. There are benefits in terms of cost structure which is an important focus for us so that we can maintain profitability. We’ve made the transition quite seamlessly.’
Three caused eyebrows to be raised in the mobile industry when it introduced the idea of offering customers 4G at no extra cost. The move was later adopted by O2 but drew fire from EE CEO Olaf Swantee who warned that offering 4G for free was devaluing the service.
Dyson said Swantee’s comments called to question whether the EE chief was in touch with the British public. He said: 'I was really flattered when I heard that Olaf was talking about us, as it probably means we are doing something right.
‘But I would point you to the comments coming from mobile users in the UK. The answer to the question of whether we are devaluing 4G will come from customers.’