3/3/2008 11:04:00 AM
T-Mobile chief: net share critical to mobile internet plans
T-Mobile’s UK chief, Jim Hyde, said the company will be targeting fixed-line broadband subscribers this year as it looks to grow its data business.
The company saw 20% of its customer income come from non-voice activity in its results last week.
Speaking to Mobile, Hyde promised a ‘step change’ in the take-up of mobile internet this year, claiming the combination of affordable propositions, and new services as well as its network sharing deal with 3 will kick start mainstream adoption of mobile broadband.
‘That fixed-line broadband market is absolutely up for grabs,’ he said. ‘You will see a continued shift in traffic. A great, dependable network will be critical, and our network share is key to that.’
T-Mobile’s customer spend revenue has risen 10% to almost £3bn.
Both T-Mobile and 3 have been selling large numbers of USB dongles, with anecdotal reports claiming an increasing number of customers are spurning fixed-line broadband providers because of bad customer service experiences and because they live in shared or temporary accommodation.
Industry figures showed that USB modem sales are up 25,000 per month on contract and prepay, more than double since September.
Hyde said networks would in time compete over propositions, partnerships and the quality of the service, rather than network quality.
In the short term he said T-Mobile had a big advantage over rivals because of its network share deal with 3.
Pointing to the diluted arrangement between Orange and Vodafone, Hyde said: ‘It’s been reduced to nothing more than co-location. It’s not got the depth and nature of ours.’
O2 was criticised by Ofcom last week for lagging behind on the progress of its 3G network. Hyde said: ‘One has to assume there is a challenge for them. They have fallen just short of the minimum of 3G coverage. And they also have a less than complete roll-out of EDGE. It gives a less than robust experience of iPhone.’
He added: ‘They are a little way behind, but they can certainly step up their network investment. They made a strategic investment on their network, but no one can say it has slowed their business so far, because they have performed very well.’