EE CEO Olaf Swantee has told Mobile that the network will ‘do everything’ to keep Virgin on its network.
Speaking exclusively following the EE’s latest set of results Swantee reacted strongly when asked whether it was unrealistic for an BT owned EE to provide wholesale services to Virgin: ‘Absolutely not, BT is also very committed to wholesale, for them it’s a big business. The Virgin account is a very big account it’s a very important driver for us. BT and EE will be absolutely committed to retaining Virgin on our network, we will do everything to keep them.
‘Tom Mockridge [Virgin Media CEO] may not tell you this directly, but I believe that their customers will confirm that they are very happy with our network and with the improvements. Even though they only have 3G they are still very happy with these improvements. They benefit from the same transmission, the same low dropped call ratio, and they benefit from wider coverage.’
Swantee reaffirmed the operator’s commitment to the MVNO market and said he was shocked that Vodafone and Sainsbury’s had decided to close their joint venture MVNO: ‘We were surprised that the joint venture between Vodafone and Sainsbury’s was stopped. The MVNO market is typically a very healthy environment, one that amounts to around 40% of the acquisition on SIM only.
‘We support a number of MVNOs, we have 33 on our network. If you talk to our MVNOs you’ll find that they are very happy with our network. They’ll say they’re really pleased with the performance with the support that they’re getting. So we feel that we’ve got the MVNO leadership under Jason Bellman’s leadership right.‘
The EE CEO added that the fact the network had won the BT MVNO contract before talks between the parties had begun demonstrated its wholesale capabilities: ‘We won the BT account, which is the largest b2b MVNO before we started the project talking about acquisition. We always wanted to win that account because it had both the b2b business and with 80,000 it had the largest number of employees on the mobile network.’