3 is to focus on social networking and location based
services this year, and will expand its Skype based services,
according to director of products and services Charlotte
Blanchard was a keen supporter of the 'Rage Against The Machine'
campaign, which prevented musical entrepreneur Simon Cowell and
his latest The X Factor protégé from dominating the 2009
Christmas hit list.
Her support came because the campaign underlined her belief in
the power and potential of social networking sites.
Blanchard told Mobile: 'This is an example of how there is
already a shift in the way people consume media and we can see
great opportunities in that.
'We believe media consumption will be a social activity and we
are already working towards that with Spotify, Twitter and
Facebook. Going into 2010, we will keep agile and maintain the
ability to act when these things explode. It is all about how we
can capitalise on that.'
Blanchard recently attended the Mobilize 2009 conference in San
Francisco, which looked at the future of the mobile web, and is
now convinced that location based services on social applications
will figure large this year.
With social applications accounting for 40% of mobile data usage,
the revenues could be significant.
Blanchard said: 'Location is going to be key and that came over
very strongly in California. There will be a lot of noise about
location based services in 2010.'
She foresees a host of new location based apps being developed,
built on the backbone of Layar, the groundbreaking
Blanchard said 3 plans to increase its focus on internet services
this year. 'We have already done an amazing job of building new
services in music, video and gaming. We will continue to pick
services we think will have strong momentum in the market.'
She pointed to its recent deal with Spotify as one area that 3
will expand this year. Announced in November, it saw the operator
team up with Spotify to offer the music streaming service free on
HTC Hero devices.
3 is also hoping to expand its Skype offering. Blanchard said
predictions that Skype, which offers free calls, would hit the
operator's revenues, were wrong.
She added that recent in-house research shows Skype
customers are more profitable compared with 3's average
customer. In addition, Blanchard said Skype 'is also
good for churn, as what we have is unique in the market and
customers value it and want to stay with us'.ge