Three’s CEO Dave Dyson has told Mobile he believes that ‘coverage is king’. The network’s boss was responding to a question about Vodafone CEO Jeroen Hoencamp’s statement that ‘content was the real driver’ at a press event on the future of mobile networks hosted by Three. He said: ‘Coverage is king, if you can serve content in a user friendly way, exclusive content will help but it’s not going to be the major driver. If you have access to the internet you will be able to find the content you want.’
Dyson pointed out that as the influence of handsets on consumers continued to decline, network differentiation is becoming increasingly important: ‘Handset brands used to dominate the market, but as this market has slowed, network quality has become more and more important to customers. Our strategy when it comes to network is the same as when it comes to service – it’s about breaking down barriers. We believe that these will be the two key areas going forward.’
The network was keen to point out that it had drastically improved both in the network infrastructure and in customer service rating in recent years. The operator has gone from having a presence at 7,500 mast sites in 2007 to 14,200 in 2014, and is aiming to hit 17,000 by 2017. Dyson explained that this increase in the number of sites would continue with its site-sharing agreement with EE, but would be part of a greater plan to improve connectivity through different technologies such as Wi-Fi and VOIP.
He said: ‘Three’s approach to connectivity is multi-faceted; we are improving the macro network but we are also using other solutions to improve the customer’s experience. We now have 3.5 million customers on 4G, which shows how successful that service really is. We’ve really improved our customer service so that back in the first quarter of 2012 we were rated as the worst for customer service, but by the first quarter of 2014 we were in joint first place with O2.’
Dyson also revealed that the network was trying to expand the number of countries where it offers roaming at no extra cost: ‘We want to make global roaming a good-value proposition and our goal is to have 100% of customer trips covered by our services – currently we cover 65%.’