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#MWC2013: Olaf Swantee, CEO Everything Everywhere, On How Customers Behave On 4G Networks

In the session on making joint ventures and partnerships work, Olaf Swantee, the CEO of Everything Everywhere (EE), a UK based operator formed through the merging of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom’s UK mobile businesses said that their JV has been successful because it had a simple board structure, with people who could work together, common goals, and conservative financial strategy.

“We look back at how mobile operators were operating then, mobile operators were talking about being everything – (for example) they wanted to become banks – and they were not being very realistic. Today people are more realistic, and partnerships are becoming more important. My company is focused on networks and customer service. We think it is important in a country which has infrastructure that doesn’t work. The airports, the train systems are not always working properly. In telecom in the UK, 1.5 yrs ago, it was not very different, and this is important because people spend more time on mobile than any other service – Smartphone appointments, mobile banking are more prevalent on the mobile. People spend 38 hrs per month per person on the mobile. We want to be the best in terms of providing a great network and a great service. We launched 4G last year, and we’re seeing 16mbps, with speeds going up to 50mbps. Routemetrics tested it, and said it’s the best data and best voice network, because we invested in 2G apart from 4G. The entire company puts the network at the center of what we do.”

– Video Consumption is 25% Of EE’s Usage: “You start seeing changes in customer behavior as soon as you introduce a great 4G network:
firstly, video becomes much much more important. In Japan and Korea, where you have people commuting all the time, (in the UK it is 77 minutes average, every day), consumers want to make their time exciting and interesting. Video is 25% of all the traffic we have on our network. People do this because it is possible. On 2G and 3G infrastructure, they simply have to wait too long. When a customer has to wait more than 2 seconds, they stop.”

– Video Conferencing & Mobile Working For B2B: “Other apps which were suprising to me were mobile banking, online shopping, and traditional services like video conferencing. In the business area, we’re seeing a lot of appetite for better, faster networks. Mobile working is becoming bigger, from a productivity perspective. Taxi companies are using 4G for providing Internet in their taxis. B2B customers start innovating within the network. The common denominator is video conferencing and security services.”

– Not a massive increase in data demand vs 3G: We don’t see such a massive increase in data demand vs 3G. It is double, around 1.4 gigs. Unlimited data plans are not really necessary. Customers want no-bill-shock. If you have propositions where you cannot go beyond the bundle, then customers are happy. We’ve had a positive experience so far. We have 1000 companies using 4G. By providing the best network and great service, we can start doing other things with partners. To provide other services, we thought that we need a new brand, which gives us permission to do more. That’s why we introduced EE, and we have 43% spontenous awareness. The key areas that we’re looking at are selective. In a 4G world, one thing is video. We’ll further enhance that. That is a key area of differentiation. The second area is security, in terms of security around platforms and devices, in partnership with insurance services, where customers can get all the data and the phone after it is stolen.”

“The key for 4G”, Swantee said, in the short term is security, film and music. Overall, in summary, the mobile industry has seriously matured, and we’re now a more horizontal corporation, and not a vertically integrated operation. It’s really hard to build an experience (as a vertical organization). The other reason why partnering will become more important in a 4G world is because partnerships with applications with the likes of facebook attracts users. On one hand, employees that are becoming more nomadic and mobile, and networks can provide a superfast broadband. That requires partnering.”

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