2009 will see many businesses constrained by a lack
of confidence and consumer spending. Because
of this I think you will see a shift in the balance of power between the
customer and their service provider, with the service providers having to work
harder to keep the customer happy. This is a change for the good and something
you wouldn’t see during more comfortable times.
Certainly the economic climate will be a key driver
over the next 12 months. Small moves have been made to bring down costs for
consumers through slightly lower VAT, but there is a real opportunity to bring
substantial savings by removing mobile termination rates.
Any sensible business will be working to retain their
customer base. Over the past six months we have reduced our churn and over the
next year this will become increasingly important, you’ll see a much closer
alignment between our acquisition and retention activities.
We’re looking to grow – although it’s easy to make
excuses during an economic downturn, there are also opportunities. In telecoms
it’s unlikely there’s been another time in the past 10 years when customers
have been more conscious of the value an operator can offer them.
most businesses, we will be working hard to manage our costs by evaluating our
business and how we can be more efficient. We will do this by looking at ways
we can increase awareness and opportunities for customers to self serve, we
will continue to consolidate our network infrastructure with T-Mobile and we
will look at improving the efficiency of our retail estate.
As a business we’ve had a great year. We’re starting
to see some real changes in consumer behaviour. We’ve seen an explosion of data
use on our network and the growth in Mobile Broadband has been incredible. Data
is what a 3G network was created to carry. Dongles have been selling by the
hundreds of thousands and this month we launched the INQ1 into UK
3Stores – dubbed by some as the Facebook Phone. The INQ1 demonstrates how we
put the internet services people use everyday at home, like social networking,
email, instant messenger and Skype, at the heart of a mobile phone. This in
turn will see more people utilising internet communications on their mobiles
like free Skype, email and instant messaging.