Fill Your Pipes
A quick glance at the figures will show that there is no correlation between customer numbers and revenue (either call or sms/mms) Although OFCOM doesn’t list profitability, it is a well-known fact that Vodafone is the most profitable. Obviously this is primarily because it has the largest revenue, but also really importantly it keeps more minutes on-net than anyone else.
The Telco2 gang goes on in the article to compare the
Vodafone currently have a promotion which plays exactly to the traffic management aspects that the Telco2 gang wants to see in action. This is free weekend calling & texting for PAYG customers if they spend £5/week. This is a great deal and attempts to fill the pipes when Vodafone will have the most available capacity - at the weekend. This is as good an example of profitable Traffic Management at work as is around today. As long as the off-net traffic doesn’t grow to huge proportions (especially to H3G UK) this will be a real winner for Vodafone.
In a similar vein , I can think of an automated nightly incremental back-up service for phone content which could be sold to the business sector for a small price – a sort of phone secure vault concept - which will execute in the middle of the night when traffic on the network is minimal.
I believe the major challenge for all the operators have to do is to get usage up on the new services. For instance, there is evidence that MMS is taking-off but the rate is slow and the market is still a long way from crossing the chasm into the mainstream market. If I was in the Vodafone position, I’d seriously think about a promotional deal for 6 months whereby MMS-email transfers are free – they only need to ask any teenager to find out they are already exchanging photos for free with Bluetooth and pc cables/msn-im anyway. It will get people used to sending photos over the air and make sure the MMS settings are correct on the phone. I’d be pretty scared about extending it MMS-mobile because of the termination costs to other networks, but Vodafone could definitely make them free for family and companies plans where on-net traffic is guaranteed. The important point is fill the pipes and get people using the, I'm sure, underutilized-MMS servers.
I think Vodafone are making a good attempt with the MobileTV launch and current offer with the 30 day try before you buy offer.
In summary, I think Vodafone is starting to do a pretty good job on “try before you buy” schemes but could go a lot further with a little imagination and a few pounds investyed with the Telco2 gang. I also see a couple of schemes coming out of Newbury aimed at addressing the capacity management issue. Again, they could do a lot, lot more…