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Vodafone: Services, not technology, will fuel growth

Vodafone: Services, not technology, will fuel growth

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Users can look forward to a future of innovative wireless services that offer value and are easy to use, if other mobile operators follow the advice of Vodafone board member, Thomas Geitner.

“Technology alone doesn’t sell,” Geitner told an audience of communication experts at the recent European Telecommunication Market conference in Germany.

“We learned that lesson with Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). What the mobile industry needs to continue growing are compelling, easy-to-use and attractively priced services.”

The Vodafone board member, who is responsible for global products and services, headed up the team that developed Live!, a new entertainment and information-oriented service that features Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), chat, downloadable ring tones and games, as well as access to email and information services such as financial news through content partners.

At the end of May, after its launch in October, Live! had more than 1.5 million customers, generating — on average — 12 per cent more average revenue per user (ARPU) than voice-centric Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) customers, according to Geitner.

“No service at Vodafone has won as many customers and generated as much revenue as quickly as Live!,” he said.

The focus on service would require some changes — a major one being the relationship between operator and handset manufacturer, he said.

“In this new era of services, handsets are gateways to network services,” Geitner said. “Increasingly, operators will require devices that have specific functions and user interfaces for customers to access and use network services more easily.”

In the future, Vodafone planned to become active much sooner in the development of new handsets to help co-ordinate functionality with network services and content, he said.


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