Competitors are hot on the
heels of the Vodafone 360, with other operators close to launching similar
services, according to IDC analyst Jonathan Arber.
The Vodafone 360, launched
this week, integrates a host of social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter,
and includes an app store that Vodafone aims to make available to its 315
million global customers.
Unlike Nokia’s Share on
Ovi, Vodafone 360 is not a new social network. Instead it allows users to bring
together contacts and content from their existing social networks, and to share
content to these networks.
Arber commented: ‘This focus on enhancing, rather than
replacing, customers' social networks and services is something we expect to
see more of from other operators in the coming months.’
Arber said competing
services were in development but declined to say which operators were developing
Arber said the move allows
Vodafone to use its network assets to pull in new customers from ‘a rapidly
growing’ demographic of twenty-something consumers using their mobiles to
access social networking sites.
‘It’s not new but it is a
refinement which pushes up to the next level and which will incorporate other
social networks, allowing it to lock in new and existing customers.’
However Arber said Vodafone faces a
tough challenge. He commented: ‘The question is whether consumers will consider
the enhanced Vodafone 360 experience enough reason to choose a Vodafone handset
over the current "hot" devices. Given the increasingly fierce
competition in the mid-to-high end touchscreen space, we think Vodafone will
have something of a fight on its hands.’