Feeds

Vodafone CEO sticks head in sand, goes 'La la la'

'No one can take our customers'

The Power of One Infographic

Arun Sarin has told the FT that he has nothing to fear from Apple's iPhone/iTunes combination, or Google's Android, or even Nokia's Ovi, as no one can ever take their customers' billing relationship away from them.

Network operators have long felt no one could compete in providing services to their customers - they have the billing relationship, so they control how much their customers are charged, and for what.

For many years that was the case, but since failing entirely to take advantage of that relationship they have allowed a raft of competitors to create their own connections to customers - something Mr. Sarin appears not to have noticed.

"The simple fact that we have the customer and billing relationship is a hugely powerful thing that nobody can take away from us," he says, describing this as a "unique gift".

But Truphone (VoIP) customers have a billing relationship with Truphone, as well as their network operator, and should anyone decide to buy content from Nokia's Ovi portal then they too will have established a relationship directly with the customer - or at least the customer's credit card. Smartphone users are buying games from Handango, books from Amazon and maps from Nokia, all without recourse to the "unique gift" of operator-control.

He also argues that only Vodafone knows where their customers are, giving them a unique ability to target searches and advertising. But Nokia's A-GPS-equipped handsets communicate with Nokia's servers when getting a location fix, thanks to European operators' reluctance to deploy A-GPS, and any handset with GPS can share its location with the online world, so that location information isn't as privileged as Mr. Sarin thinks.

Five years ago these statements might have made sense, but the CEO of Vodafone should be better informed. Operators may have had exclusive access to their customers once, but those times are swiftly passing.

"Whoever comes into the marketplace is going to have to work through us," predicts Mr Sarin in the FT. Luckily Vodafone do appear to be trying to compete in providing services to their customers, rather than relying on the outdated understanding business architecture espoused by their CEO to the FT. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.