Friday, January 27, 2006

It's about value not shareprice

The Economist, which I have been reading since school days has a feature this week on Vodafone following its results presentation. It has me asking just how dumb are the analysts in investment houses. It looks at the performance of Vodafone against O2 in terms of performance against the FTSE Index. Whilst O2 has done better than Vodafone in terms of shareprice the difference is that O2 has been managed to attract a buyer whilst Vodafone has been managed to have a future.

The thing that gets me most angry is that Mobile Telephone is about VOICE and so saying that Vodafone is too dependent on voice and needs to focus on Convergent products. I guess these guys need to talk to a few of the CTO's I know who will explain the economics of running two networks. What was planned for 3G at the time of the bidding war was that the new faster networks would allow operators to provide a better voice service with speach engines driving services.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Social Pressure as a tool of change

Over the weekend was talking with a few friends on the differences between the Japaneese mobile market and Europe. One of the most interesting points was the comments about how using your phone in public to make a voice call is seen as extremely rude, and thus only undertaken in the case of emergency.

Now, whilst I am not saying that we adopt the same level of social control here in Europe, some form of correction might be useful when it comes to making calls whilst driving. Just as we have managed to reduce the number of drunk drivers by using social presure over the last twenty years perhaps we can start a "hang up on the driver"?

The simple logic is that the person at the other end of a call needs to be convinced that in speaking to a driver is wrong and what they should do is say "pull over or call me when you are not driving". Such actions would see more of a change than hoping that the Police will actually enforce the law.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Six Wishes for Wireless for 2006

Looking around the web at the turn of the year we see a number of sites offering either a review of 2005 or predictions for 2006. I started to write my own review of 2005 and gave up after a few hours as it made depressing reading for me personally in just how poorly the mobile industry had performed. In thinking that 2005 was not a good year I did not see that 2006 was going to see a recovery. Thus I took a leaf out of my daughter’s books and have written a wish list for 2006.

My first wish is that the Mobile Networks remember just what they are a UTILITY rather than a Media/Entertainment business. In understanding the fundamental fact they need to improve coverage so I may use my handset where and when I want to. Once they have fixed the coverage issue they can then turn their attention to a CRM system that remembers what I am, what I use and what I do not use and using this information perhaps they can allow me to personalise the service I want. Once they see themselves as a first class utility they can finally fix the billing system so that it becomes something useful rather than an inhibitor as it seems to be now.

My next wish is that we remember that 3G wireless was spoken about as an enhanced voice service. Let’s remember that we are using a phone, rather than a microcomputer/music player/gaming console, this being the case voice should be at the centre of what we do with it. By enhanced voice let’s look at some simple things like Stereo sound as well as impressive “Star Trek” services that are driven by intelligent speech engines. I can remember Orange justifying the investment in 3G with a presentation called Adam & Eve I loved it so much that I believed.

A Genuine Unified Messaging system is my third wish. If I am to make my mobile phone the central communications device I want to be able to review my Email, texts, Voicemail, IM just as I can with my laptop using a simple screen. I do not expect to be able to respond in the best way to these messages using my handset just to be able to make a decision as to what’s important and what’s not. Within this great UM client I also want the ability to set presence and in doing so my handset and Network to respond to those settings. For example, when I am in a meeting switch everything over to a text based service and when I am driving my car switch it all over to voice.

A DRM system that works for everyone is fourth on the list. When I buy content from a media company I would like the opportunity to enjoy it on my phone should I wish to. Once I have bought a ringtone for example when I upgrade my handset as well as copying all the contacts I would like to copy the tones that I have assigned them, if I am using them with the same mobile number what’s the issue?

Handset manufacturers take a leaf out of the Car makers design handbook is my next wish. Volkswagen bases its whole car range on a small number of spaceframes, yet we the consumer are offered VW, AUDI, Seat and Skoda styled cars. Thus Sony Ericsson needs to offer more handset to us consumers so that we can find the style and functionality that best suits are needs rather than walk around with a handset that we are happy with some of the time.

My last wish is that everyone in the mobile industry remembers that it’s better to have a small slice of a bigger pie than own the whole of a tiny pie. At times it has to be better to make a sacrifice that allows everyone to benefit than holdback in fear that someone else might make some cash.

So that’s it six wishes for Wireless in 2006. How many will be realised? Will any be achieved this year? Is anyone reading this and if so has it made them think?