back to article Good luck squeezing saturated market, Euro mobe firms, say Orange, Telefonica

Europe's saturated mobile market is forcing operators to eye new routes to revenue in order to survive, big cheeses at Orange and Telefonica have said. Christian Maitre, CIO deputy of the Orange Group, and Juan José Hierro, head of Telefonica's newly created IoT unit were speaking to The Register at the TM Smart City InFocus …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    The recent decision by the EU to remove roaming charges abroad will have an impact

    Wasn't that idea scrapped last week?

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Do I trust either Orange or Telefonica to do IoT?

    The answer is, of course, no. I barely trust them when it comes to supplying a decent data connection or billing properly.

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    We cannot sustain our traditional business

    He says that like it's a bad thing.

    There's no longer a BT shop on every high street. Your landline phone isn't bundled into a contract with your line rental. Retail is a very low-margin operation, so why are the mobile phone networks still in it?

    They could just stick to providing network services and accept that they're in a mature market.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: We cannot sustain our traditional business

      Yep, they need to accept they're just boring utilities like water and electricity companies.

      You don't see Yorkshire water producing soft drinks or EDF making LED lightbulbs.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: accept that they're in a mature market.

      Agreed. Except one thing : when's the last time you've heard of a Bord accepting anything that didn't increase their share value ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: accept that they're in a mature market.

        What if the only viable alternative is a FLAT option when everything else is a SINK?

    3. Fiddler on the roof

      Re: We cannot sustain our traditional business

      I think its because people like to fondle phones and tablets before they buy.

    4. paulf

      Re: We cannot sustain our traditional business

      @ Warm Braw "There's no longer a BT shop on every high street. Your landline phone isn't bundled into a contract with your line rental. Retail is a very low-margin operation, so why are the mobile phone networks still in it?"

      What I really don't get is why some networks feel the need to have multiple shops on one high street. Plenty of other retailers have hit existential problems because they thought maintaining multiple outlets in one town or shopping area would keep competitors out which simply isn't the case.

      I wonder if it comes down to crowd behaviour - if one MNO shut all it's shops in a fluster of the usual Manglement speak (our customers prefer the internet, driving down costs to boost Manglement bonuses keep bills low, etc), opting instead to do only deal with other retailers (like Carphone) the others could start following suit? The downside with that plan is there aren't many significant non-MNO retail chains left...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, they would …

    … wouldn't they?

  5. tiggity Silver badge

    Every Man + Dog has a phone

    Yet mobile costs seem to keep climbing & climbing so I'll hold back my tears

    I'm fortunate to be on a no longer offered for sale SIM only deal, nearest equivalent to it now would cost me about twice as much.

    High prices tend to be hidden in contracts where phone "bundled in" but SIM only prices show the lack of appetite for keen pricing.

    Plus many people outside of major urban zones are effectively locked to 1 (or 2 at most) providers as, in the areas they mostly spend time, not all providers have a signal

  6. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    However, operators have said they need to consolidate to raise investment cash - now that world + dog now has a mobile phone contract

    So everyone is using your service and you can't make money from it? Something sounds wrong here.

    ...how operators can move away from the traditional mobile contract revenue.

    Ahh, I see the problem. You came up with a business plan 20-odd years ago and haven't updated it. Now you're complaining that the world doesn't fit your business plan.

    ...noting that some countries have 10-12 operators. "So sometimes if one operator lowers the price: what can you do?"

    You basically have several ways to persuade someone to buy something from you rather than a competitor:

    - Price

    - Quality

    - Features

    - Brand Loyalty

    It's your choice how you you want to go.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Problem is, price tends to drive things more than anything, especially for the large chunk of the population where price is the overriding concern. The problem here is that you and your competition end up bleeding yourself in price wars. This ends up in Pyrrhic Victories. If the only way to keep your precious customers is to bleed money, it can't end well.

    2. ted frater

      How right you are, but price isnt no 1, its what it does then how it does it.

      Ive been beefing on for yrs here on El Reg, that form has to follow functon. NOT fashion, theres also no choice today, bit like H Ford said you can have any colour so long as its black.

      How about O2? running a survey of all their customers? what do you want from your hand set? then go to Samsung and tel them give me a price to make say 100,00 of these for us?

      There millions of folk world wide who dont want nor can use a so called smart phone. I want a phone thats smarter than a smart phone,

      In fact if I had one given me id give it back.

      If I was a millionaire id put my money where my mouth is and buck the trend make and market it direct..

      heres the spec,

      1. a folder size 5,3/8 by 3 3/8 in same format as the Seiko er9000

      2 a med size screen one side

      3.a proper well spaced keys querty keyboard other side

      4. a battery of at least 5000mah's

      5. Suitable to take either android, or any other os or even Symbian

      6. A text MENU option as well as of icons.

      7. metal case and water resistant.

      8. Decent speakers.

      All the big makers can make anything they want. And they know it.

      money is there!! comon O2 get with it!

      Ted

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How about O2? running a survey of all their customers?

        They're not interested in what you have to say.

        In my day job, I'm responsible for a large mobile phone contract with O2. We've made numerous suggestions to O2 as to how they can improve their service to us. (We even said we'd pay more for these extras) But their response was "No." It's not as if what we were asking for was bespoke just to our business: They could have sold the same services to other customer. But no. They're in a race to the bottom and aren't interested in what the customer wants, just how they can cut costs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "In my day job, I'm responsible for a large mobile phone contract with O2. We've made numerous suggestions to O2 as to how they can improve their service to us. (We even said we'd pay more for these extras) But their response was "No." "

          Then the next thing you tell them is that the first company that implements our ideas gets your NEXT mobile contract...AND gets a good word in at the next meeting with other companies why may also have mobile contracts up for renewal.

      2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        There millions of folk world wide who dont want nor can use a so called smart phone

        With Microsoft killing off the basic Symbian Nokias, we're having to scratch around for disposable phones for maintenance & cleaning staff to lose, drop, etc.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Theres plenty of room...

    For competitive pricing still.

    The trouble is the bundles most operators offer are crap.

    E.g. unlimited texts. Who gives a shit about unlimited texts these days?

    In the 90s unlimited texts would give you a competitive edge. These days its just a throw away addon to a bundle because they know very few people use them.

    You can see this in the data prices (which are still crap).

    The main area these companies are bleeding money is in marketing. Just ask Kevin Bacon.

    Offer solid packages and you wont need excessive marketing.

    We live in a world where people can do price comparisons online. Marketing has much less sway these days.

    As much as I like Kevin Bacon he cant persuade me to move to EE.

    Its the same with broadband. We all know BTs claim to have the best wifi in the country is bollocks.

    How many of you want to rush out and sign up for BT on the strength of their crappy router? A product that can probably be outclassed by a decent USB dongle and a Raspberry Pi?

    These businesses need to wake up and find ways of adding genuine value to their products rather than finding new ways to backdoor hidden fees onto a customers bill.

    The trend is heading towards flat fees for everything. Nobody wants a variable cost.

    Im personally tired of arbitrary limits and premium per mb / per text / per minute billing.

    Id gladly pay over the odds for something that has no limits.

    Give me a £50 a month SIM only genuinely unlimited package and im in. No throttling, no peak time bullshit, no tethering restrictions (another bullshit arbitrary restriction) and no fucking about.

    Im sure many others feel the same.

    Also, why not make mobile networks regional rather than national like the energy companies. We'd all be better off that way since operators will be responsible for smaller areas of coverage and wont be tempted to only install infrastructure in 'profitable' areas.

    Hell even urban areas would benefit. The Woking line from Waterloo has more black spots than a dalmation sanctuary. How is this acceptable?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Theres plenty of room...

      Ah, the LSWR Mainline 'No Spots'....

      Just consider the time that you are travelling from Woking to around Raynes Park some 'me' time and use it for contemplation or meditation. That 15-20 minutes of mental rest can help you through the day or evening ahead.

      I've got it even worse than you as I'm down the Alton siding and from Ash Vale to Brookwood is one great 'Not Spot'.

      As for your £50/month truly unlimited idea. I'd look at something costing about half that.

      Do you realy want to pay £600/year or the price on a new iPhone 7 just to 'stay connected' while on the go?

      How much bandwidth do you actually need eh? Not want but really and absolutely need.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Theres plenty of room...

        "Do you realy want to pay £600/year or the price on a new iPhone 7 just to 'stay connected' while on the go?"

        No but if I pay over the odds and they still cant run a proper service theres serious grounds for them being shut down.

        Remove funding complaints and the last thing remaining is competence. Nowhere to hide.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Theres plenty of room...

      "We live in a world where people can do price comparisons online."

      You assume the average mobile customer is savvy enough to know this. My experience is that most people are stupid and just want to get by their day. They'll listen to word of mouth or (gasp) check out the deals in the windows. And since many people in the upper crust depend on stupid people to maintain their standard of living, stupid people will never go away.

      "Its the same with broadband. We all know BTs claim to have the best wifi in the country is bollocks."

      No we don't. Remember P. T. Barnum's words: "a sucker born every minute."

      "How many of you want to rush out and sign up for BT on the strength of their crappy router?"

      More than you think.

      "Give me a £50 a month SIM only genuinely unlimited package and im in. No throttling, no peak time bullshit, no tethering restrictions (another bullshit arbitrary restriction) and no fucking about."

      They'll never give it. Limited spectrum and cartel behavior guarantee this via a captive market, leaving you with the Hobson's Choice: take it or leave it, and then find yourself in the lurch when you REALLY need to be accessible in the field.

      "Also, why not make mobile networks regional rather than national like the energy companies. We'd all be better off that way since operators will be responsible for smaller areas of coverage and wont be tempted to only install infrastructure in 'profitable' areas."

      Because spectrum is a NATIONAL resource, controlled by the central government (has to be that way due to other radio functions like weather, television, and especially mandated things like the military, plus it's inherently an interstate/interregional business). Makes it pretty much an all-or-nothing.

  8. Arctic fox
    Flame

    "..............their market was based on roaming charges"

    "..............their market was based on fleecing the customer."

    There, FIFY.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "..............their market was based on roaming charges"

      "..............their market was based on a captive market and cartel behavior. All the good spectrum's already taken up, so there's no entry path for a potential market disruptor."

      There, FTFTFY.

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