Feeds

O2: risks are for losers

Outlines cagey approach, snubs WiMAX

The essential guide to IT transformation

Supersexy mobile operator O2 revealed its glamourous secret to growing a dynamic converged communications operation: proceed with caution.

O2 UK execs have watched with glee as Orange and TalkTalk's "free" broadband offerings have been widely reported as backfiring. Since it bought small ISP Be in June, O2 says it has been quietly working on local loop unbundling to ensure it works when it finally launches bundled mobile and broadband in the middle of next year. It announced that Be had unbundled 300 exchanges, covering under a quarter of the population.

The plan was detailed at O2's annual strategy knees-up in London following results on Tuesday which must have had rivals at Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone sobbing into their cornflakes. The roll-out should be as free of cock-ups as possible, O2 says, and shoot for straight-up value rather than tricksy "free" marketing.

O2 UK CEO Matthew Key said: "Customers are rebelling against free broadband. They associate free with substandard."

Vodafone will be targeting the same perceived customer service weak spot in existing bundles after its recent about-face on broadband by announcing a bundle to launch in the new year. It had previously pontificated about its plans to be a "pure-play" mobile outfit.

O2's calculated entry into the broadband market will be mirrored in its apporach to new technologies. Outside the Czech Republic, O2 has only dipped its toe into IPTV. Contrast that with BT, which is set to dive right into the market with BT Vision anytime now.

Similarly in mobile TV, while Virgin has already launched the Lobster phone to a muted reception, O2 yesterday refused to be drawn on when it would enter the fray. The firm is conducting trials across its territories concentrating on building interactivity into the experience by combining DVB-H TV with 3G services.

HSDPA has the beating of WiMAX, according to O2 CTO Dave Williams. When it begins punting converged mobile/broadband at consumers and businesses, O2 will offer shrunken 2G and 3G base stations as wireless routers rather than getting involved in unlicensed spectrum.

O2 group CEO Peter Erskine said: "We back winners."

That's despite apparently betting on web 2.0-style services to get paid-for content into user's pockets. The firm demonstrated its LookAtMe YouTube-style video service, which charges 35 pence per clip.

Accepting the hype bubble surrounding long-tail monetisation of frat boy-generated video will burst sooner-or-later, Erskine denied O2 could suffer in the fallout. He told The Register: "We're not exposed to that at all." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.