Vodafone’s 3G vision premature: IDC

Vodafone’s 3G vision premature: IDC

MOBILE heavyweight Vodafone New Zealand is predicting its customer base will pass two million this year.

Managing director Russell Stanners says the company is well placed for future growth in what is now a mature market.

“Cumulative annual revenue growth of 23% over the past four years is a figure we can be very pleased with,” he says.

He says Vodafone has been focused on sustainable revenue growth by chasing the right performance drivers, particularly in increasing data usage.

Last year the company introduced the BlackBerry Handheld and Mobile Connect Card and is increasingly bringing internet- and email-ready handsets to market.

Stanners attributes the company’s market share of 55.4% to developing products and services that allow customers to derive more value from their mobiles.

Vodafone NZ will launch its much-heralded 3G network later this year and Stanners is promising that customers will be blown away by what’s coming.

Yet IDC analyst Chris Loh believes Vodafone and Telecom face the challenge of creating compelling reasons for customers to adopt 3G.

Loh says New Zealand business is sceptical about the merits of advanced mobile services.

“Where necessary, service providers should apply resources towards addressing basic needs instead of pushing services that smaller organisations have no intention of adopting,” he says.

He warns that 3G competitive activity in Asia-Pacific has raised the question of whether 3G is best positioned as a premium service or simply used to lower costs.

Loh believes the strongest competition in the mobile broadband market will come from wireless broadband players, such as Wired Country and Woosh.

He says mobile operators will need to track competing PCMCIA cards or PDA device options and ensure their offerings remain competitive.

Loh adds that the full potential of 3G in New Zealand may best be realised in the business space through mobile voice and data services.

“These offerings must deliver the functionality that business users need, want and are prepared to pay for if they are to overcome the seeming indifference of many organisations towards advanced mobile services.”

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