I read an interesting article in the The Daily Telegraph published on Wednesday 24th January. In the article the CEO Olaf Swantee made the claim that other mobile operators “won’t catch up specially with the 4G speeds they are offering in June and especially next year”.
Now the articles headline was “ other mobile operators won’t catch us now, boasts EE chief”. Now whether or not he was boasting about it during the interview or just felt confident in his statement is another matter but EE are going to have to work very hard to keep ahead of the chasing pack.
If you remember when Orange first launched in the UK it was a revelation. I’m not talking about the network coverage (although at the time I was a Orange customer and it was pretty good) but it was when things went wrong or you wanted to speak to a real human in their customer service tea,. You’d call up and get through pretty quick to someone who was very helpful. There was none of this loads of options business with an automated voice and what feels like an options maze where you sometimes give up. I remember though it started to get worse over the years and in fact I left because of the customer service rather than anything else started to let them down.
Now I’ve never been on T-Mobile (I always had friends who had the first free calls on a Mercury One2one phone) and I’ve never used Three (although I did have a Hutchison pager and still have it at home to show my son one day) so I can’t comment on what the customer experience is like but from speaking to O2 and Vodafone recently it seems pretty good.
Going back to the “boast” by Mr Swantee the one thing people tend not to forget is when the networks get greedy. They had a launch opportunity to really wipe the market but they got greedy by offering high prices for not a lot of data. What’s the point of fast speeds if you can’t even get much data out of it? For now it won’t just be about who is the fastest but who gives the best customer experience and how customers are treated when things go wrong.
EE and Three’s network sharing agreement with MBNL will have to be robust enough to cope with customer demand and Vodafone and O2 will need to ensure that their networks delivery as promised but I don’t think speed will be everything to the consumer. Unless data bundles are generous enough people will switch often to WIFI networks where ever possible.
Be interesting to see what BT do with their 4G spectrum and how they market their offering; with the largest share of fixed line customers a seamless switch from fixed network to 4G could be interesting as long as they don’t outsource the customer service to some faraway place.
Source: Vine 16