Missing the roaming point
‘National roaming’ is an illogical solution to the problem of network coverage, it’s an idea that appears to make sense to those outside the mobile industry, but is dismissed immediately by those in the know. However, the decision to focus on this suggestion has skewed the debate regarding poor mobile coverage. ‘Infrastructure sharing’; allowing network’s to put transmitters on each other’s masts is a much more straightforward solution to the problem yet it has received little airtime. The reform of the MVNO market is another radical suggestion that deserves debate, yet it has also been largely ignored. Why? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that ‘national roaming’ is the easiest suggestion to dismiss…
On a separate point, the wider media coverage on the issue of poor mobile coverage has been unnecessarily misleading. The BBC ran the headline ‘Government crackdown on ‘not spots’. Confusing the difference between ‘not spots’ and ‘partial not spots’ only serves to mislead the public. This type of headline only adds to the confusion because it is the Government who have the most to answer for when it comes to a lack of progress in regards to ‘not spots’.
Virgin’s 10% growth in mobile revenue for the third quarter can be explained quite straightforwardly, it successfully sold an additional service to its existing customers. It’s the reason why quad play is so attractive to mobile companies because bundling services together is attractive to the consumer and usually increases ARPU. Virgin’s mobile segment saw an ARPU increase of 7% which only goes to prove the value that lies in offering multiple services. However, TV is the hardest part of the quad play arena to move into, as many new companies have found in the past. Getting the right content to attract customers to your service is key and with the established players holding all the cards when it comes to rights it can be difficult to offer desirable content at an affordable price. EE has taken a different approach by not going after the premium content packages and gradually building its roster from a cheaper price point. Vodafone has gone the other way and partnered with the televisions premium content provider Sky. It will be very interesting to see which tactic comes out on top.
Man on a mission
Sony Mobile has always had a huge amount of potential, the problem has always been realising it. Despite owning a huge amount of content, being a market leading brand in video gaming and photography, the brand has never really translated these assets into the mobile phone arena. If Sony Mobile’s new head Hiroki Totoki can leverage these assets to the manufacturer’s advantage then this could be the key to establishing itself as a real market leader, but that’s a big if…