Sanjiv Ahuja takes over ceo job

Orange SA today announces that Sol Trujillo is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer. The Orange Board of Directors, meeting today in Paris, agreed to adopt the recommendation of the Orange Nominations Committee in appointing Sanjiv Ahuja, currently Orange COO, as Sol Trujillo's successor.

Over the past year Sol has overseen successfully, and ahead of schedule, the implementation of a major programme of organisational and management change across the Orange group. During this same period Orange has delivered ahead of its financial commitments. Sol is now returning to the United States where he will pursue a range of business interests. Sol will be maintaining his links with the Group as a special adviser to Thierry Breton, Chairman of France Telecom SA and Orange.

The nomination of Sanjiv Ahuja as Orange CEO is one of a number of senior appointments announced today at the highest operational level of the France Telecom Group. These changes to the France Telecom Group's organisational structure and the Group's Executive Committee are the subject of a separate communication that can be accessed on the Group's website www.francetelecom.com

France Telecom Chairman, Thierry Breton said: ''Sol has done an outstanding job at Orange, implementing with great effectiveness a common strategic vision and identifying a successor in Sanjiv who is perfectly equipped to guide the business into the future. Sol has moved Orange from the federation of companies that resulted from years of rapid expansion to the unified organisation we have today. The team he assembled has taken the Orange brand and vision to the next level, creating a stronger business that is more focused on its customers, clearer in its thinking and more efficient in delivering results.

''I would personally like to take this opportunity to thank Sol for all he has done for Orange and all our shareholders. I look forward to benefiting from his continued counsel from his position as a special adviser to the Group.''

Since his appointment in February 2003, Sol Trujillo and his team have overseen a major transformation in the organisation, operations and the financial results of Orange. Some highlights of this period include:

- Building a truly international and experienced senior management team capable of leading and driving the business forward;

- The definition of a new Orange Group strategy with the objective of creating 'One Orange', improving its management and operational structures and reintegrating the Company within France Telecom, all the time focusing Orange on a predominantly European footprint and establishing new financial targets;

- The strengthening of the Orange leadership position and an increase in average revenue per user in the company's core markets in the UK and France. This has also seen a total customer increase of 10.8% during 2003 to 49.1million

- An increase in overall revenues of 9% to EUR 17.9 billion and a 32% increase in EBITDA to EUR 6.2 billion in 2003 on a pro forma basis.

These achievements have contributed in differentiating Orange in the marketplace and have been instrumental in delivering an exceptional financial performance.

Sol Trujillo said: ''This has been a period of challenge, of achievement and one that I have enjoyed to the full. I am proud that we have been able to bring together a team that is making a great business stronger, giving it the structures and organisation it lacked, injecting new blood and providing renewed purpose and direction. Having achieved the goals we set with Thierry when I joined as CEO, the moment has come to pass the baton to Sanjiv who will now lead Orange to what I'm sure will be new levels of success.''

A key element of Sol Trujillo's mission while reorganising the business, delivering results and revitalising the brand has been to ensure the development of leadership and continuity. This is evidenced by the selection of his successor and the establishment of a management structure to facilitate a close working relationship between Orange and the rest of the France Telecom Group.

Sanjiv Ahuja will be joined on the France Telecom Executive Committee by John Allwood, Head of Orange UK operations and Didier Quillot, Head of Orange France operations. Didier will have responsibility for branding and marketing for the entire Group.

Following his appointment Sanjiv Ahuja, the new Orange CEO, commented: ''Our appreciation goes to Sol for drawing together the team that has brought Orange into the 21st century. He also has my personal thanks for the role he has played as coach and mentor during the many years we have known one another.

''Over the past year Orange has grown up as a business. Fresh ideas are now supported by the processes and disciplines required as we move Orange successfully to the next stage of its growth. I am excited by the opportunity we now have together with France Telecom to build the world's foremost integrated telecommunications service provider.

''Just as Orange defined the first age of mobile telephony, it is Orange again that is moving to roll back the frontiers of next generation personal communications. Our people are back concentrating on what they do best; taking the latest technology and making it simple, making it personal and making it relevant to each and every one of our customers".

As previously announced, following the conclusion of France Telecom's Offer to Orange minorities expected to occur in April, Orange will retain its own Board and will continue the development of its stated strategy and brand identity.

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Orange

Uses Actix for testing and improvement

Actix, the global provider of wireless performance engineering solutions, has today announced that Finnet, a Finnish telecommunications group, has selected Actix’ wireless performance engineering solutions to benchmark its wireless networks against competitors and optimize its GSM and GPRS networks by analyzing drive test data.

Finnet selected Actix’ software because of its vendor independence in supporting different network measurement tools, extensive out-of-the-box functionality, and the ability to ‘drill down’ into drive test data to identify and understand how to fix problems and enhance network performance.
Finnet also choose Actix to provide its wireless performance engineering solutions because Actix solutions support all major wireless network technologies worldwide. Through this support, Finnet is assured that other Actix solutions could be seamlessly deployed to support network technologies such as EDGE, if the company choose to launch services based on new technology in the future. Engineers at Finnet also use Actix’ solutions to
generate reports to advise Finnet management.

Actix solutions are entirely vendor independent and enable operators to analyze raw wireless network data from a mix of network technologies, systems and data collection solutions in fine detail. This gives a complete picture of vital wireless functions and the quality of service delivery from the subscriber’s perspective; it also enables engineers to ‘drill down’ to the root cause of any deficiencies.

The solutions are highly flexible, enabling analysis to be tailored to support different tasks such as candidate site coverage evaluation, troubleshooting of areas with poor call quality and distant servers, and comparison of uplink and downlink performance.

Based on Actix’ vendor-independent, standards-based  platform, the solutions provide advanced mapping, charting and reporting features, as well as powerful data analysis for all aspects of performance engineering. Presentation of data is simplified, allowing engineers to easily quantify and troubleshoot network performance - standard templates for the analysis of drive test data are built in to the software and can be readily customized by the user for specific tasks.

Jukka Jokisalo, Development Manager, Radio Networks, Finnet Networks Ltd, said, “Actix’ performance engineering solutions enable us to benchmark our networks against competitors, as well as improve and troubleshoot our own by analyzing large amounts of drive test data. Actix also assists us to feature-proof our operations by supporting a very wide range of network technologies. If we deploy other network technology in the future, we can be sure that Actix will have a solution that will fit seamless in with our performance engineering requirements.”

Duncan Vardy, Head of Product Management, Actix said, “Wireless operators are under pressure to rapidly deploy new revenue generating services while at the same time delivering an optimized subscriber experience. By using Actix solutions, Finnet has been able to deliver on both of these business critical challenges quickly and efficiently." He added: "Finnet is the latest in a growing number of wireless operators to adopt Actix solutions as a fundamental part of their service roll-out and optimization."

External Links

Actix
Finnet

Enables greater silicon choice for handset manufacturers

TTPCom, the world’s leading independent supplier of digital
wireless technology, today announces its involvement
in the creation and development of the DigRF interface
standard for EDGE, Classes 1 to 12.

The DigRF standard defines a physical interface
between the baseband and radio ICs (Integrated
Circuits) within cellular terminals, enabling any
combination of supporting chipsets.

This new standard will increase competition in the
market by enabling handset manufactures to select the
most appropriate GSM, GPRS or EDGE baseband and radio
combination, whether that is based on cost or advanced
features, without undertaking significant integration
risks.

Andrew Fogg, Senior Research and Development Engineer
at TTPCom and Chairman of the Digital Interface
Working Group comments, "The DigRF standard gives
terminal designers a wider choice of chipset
combinations by ensuring compatibility between
baseband and RF ICs.  The standard intentionally
confines itself to the interface between the chips and
so places very few constraints on the internal design
of the ICs, leaving manufacturers free to innovate and
define efficient solutions."

TTPCom is heavily involved in the Digital Interface
Working Group alongside other industry leaders
including Agere Systems, Infineon Technologies,
Motorola, Philips, Renesas, RF Micro-Devices, Silicon
Laboratories, Sony Semiconductors and Devices Europe
and Skyworks.

Version 1.12 of the DigRF standard covers GSM, GPRS
and EDGE and is available for download from
http://www.digrf.com. The Digital Interface Working
Group has started work on the 3G version of the
Interface Standard, which will be released in Spring
2005.

External Links

TTPCom
DigRF

As required by regulator

Telekom Austria’s mobile subsidiary mobilkom austria and T-Mobile Austria reached an agreement with regard to the sale of a UMTS frequency package (2x5 MHz). mobilkom austria held a total of 4 frequency packages amounting to 19.8 MHz (FDD) following the acquisition of the Austrian subsidiary of Telefonica Moviles.

In compliance with the requirements of the Austrian Regulatory Authority RTR, mobilkom austria has disposed of one of its packages. Thus, mobilkom austria is the first European operator that has successfully completed a UMTS frequency transaction.

External Links

Telekom Austria

Not many further details as yet

Tapio Hintikka has informed that he with immediate effect resigns as member and chairman of the board of directors of TeliaSonera AB.

Tapio Hintikka has been chairman of TeliaSonera since the combination between Telia and Sonera in December 2002. He was previously the chairman of Sonera.

The board of TeliaSonera will hold an extra meeting to elect a new chairman. Until then the vice chairman of TeliaSonera Carl Bennet, will hold the position as chairman.

External Links

TeliaSonera

Although the last three years have seen an overall downturn in total BSS sales, one sector is bucking the trend.  Next-generation services require real-time, or at least near real-time, billing capabilities.  Operators are going to have to address real-time billing - but they are more likely to do this by adding a module or adjunct system, or by upgrading their mediation systems. The days of mega end-to-end deals are numbered.

Chorleywood's latest report, GLOBAL TRENDS IN TELECOMS BSS AND BCC MARKET FORECASTS reviews the BSS market and looks ahead to what might happen in this sector over the next five years. The report demonstrates the foothold that vendors, in particular CSG Systems, have gained by acquisition.

"CSG is the company to watch - it has grown hugely by  acquisition to get a worldwide cross sector base.  Its installed base is one of the highest in terms of announced sales in 2003," comments Ann Swallow, Chorleywood Markets Manager and author of the report.

"But TelesensKSCL also grew like that 4 years ago, and it suffered partly because the cost of its acquisitions in a declining market" cautions Ann Swallow.

Purchasing cycles are now longer than ever before impacting vendor revenues. Operators have gradually moved from a 3-4 year lifecycle in the telecom boom years for BCC systems to a current eight year lifecycle. Market share is dominated by a few global players suggesting further consolidation and acquisition among the remaining BSS vendors.

Current market leaders are:
- BCC: SchlumbergerSema (mostly now divested to LHS), CSG Systems and Convergys
- CRM: Amdocs and Siebel
- Mediation: Comptel and Ericsson

Mediation contract announcements show a rising trend over the last three years, in contrast to decline in the other two BSS sectors studied in the report.

Uniquely, the GLOBAL TRENDS report records operators'  satisfaction with key installation-related and  operation-related elements of their BSS. The cycle of purchase and sale of both BCC systems and vendors appears to have distracted some vendors from attending to the ongoing needs of some of their customers. There appears to be a correlation between rapid expansion and change of ownership and user dissatisfaction.

With 3G set for widespread launch in 2004 across Europe, operators are already thinking about the post 3G world and what comes next. According to a new report from mobile industry analysts, ARC Group, the technologies making the largest immediate impact on the post 3G world will be the upgrades to 3.5G and integration of WLAN into wide area networks.

Buoyed by a resurgence in infrastructure spending, industry attention is now focussing on the potential of HSDPA in particular to extend 3G capabilities on the road to an all-IP network and wireless/wireline convergence. Indeed, all the major vendors are now shipping HSDPA-enabled W-CDMA infrastructure and following the lead of NTT DoCoMo, which is planning on launching HSDPA services as early as 2005, all the key players are planning trials for the end of the year.

Against this background, ARC Group forecasts that 3.5G subscribers (including HSDPA, TDD and proprietary technologies like Flash OFDM) will reach 9.1 million subscribers by 2008.

In the run-up to 4G – which is not expected until 2010 at the earliest – operators will look for ways to enhance network performance through  evolutionary upgrades in the same way EDGE and 1xRTT have been used in the 2G world. HSDPA is expected to become the most popular of 3.5G technologies due to its support from major vendors like Nokia. HSDPA uses adaptive modulation and a new shared downlink transport channel type to achieve a two-fold increase in air interface capacity and a five-fold increase in data speeds in the downlink direction.

With the advent of WLAN enabled PDA’s and smartphones, there is likely to be more competition from PWLAN providers for broadband mobile revenues. However, rather than compete head on, PWLAN will be subsumed into the network mix, supplementing the 3G/3.5G network for data intensive applications. Despite this, mobile subscribers using PWLAN services over their mobile device will only make up around 50 million users by 2008, less than 20% of total 3G subscribers.

Chris White, Telecoms Consultant at ARC comments: "Too much attention  has been paid to how PWLAN will compete with 3G rather than looking at the benefits of combining both network technologies. Further integration of WLAN into the mobile network mix is one of the vital stepping stones to 4G. The so-called access pyramid model, where multiple networks coexist allowing users to seamlessly switch between the most appropriate network for the device and situation, will not substitute the need for a 4G network. At the heart of everything will be the core network, be it 3G or 4G, which will be supplemented by PAN and WLAN offerings and by network upgrades in the medium-term."

Announcement provides immediate route to market for European mobile content and service providers looking to leverage 150 million US mobile users

Netsize, the global leader for mobile business and entertainment solutions, has announced the launch of its two-way premium SMS offering for the United States. The announcement, made at this week's CTIA Wireless show in the US, opens up the North American market to UK mobile content and service providers looking to leverage the country's 150 million mobile users.

The Premium SMS market in the United States is still relatively new. Common short codes were launched in October 2003, and Premium SMS, currently the only efficient means of micro-payment in the US, recently became available on the networks of all tier one operators (AT&T, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint PCS, T-Mobile and Verizon).

"The US is an avid consumer of infotainment across all media channels," explains Stanislas Chesnais, Chairman of Netsize Group. "And now that mobile penetration rates are quickly reaching a level comparable to Europe, this represents an enormous opportunity for companies who have the right mix of technical know-how and compelling mobile content."

Industry analysts have estimated that whilst the European Premium SMS market will be worth over $4 billion by 2006, this could be eclipsed by a potential $4.5 billion in the US, driven by mobile marketing, downloads and television interaction.

Using the Netsize Multimedia Vending Machine (a carrier-grade content management platform that offers content providers an immediate route to market, managing the hosting, delivery and billing of content) the announcement means that Netsize can now offer a single point of access to a global network of 500 million billable mobile consumers.

This international framework is complemented by a local presence in 18 countries (including the United States) that allows Netsize to customize its solutions for specific markets in order to take into account differences in language, culture, regulations, currencies and technologies.

Orange today launched its first dedicated IT reseller channel partner programme in the UK aimed at delivering on the needs of the medium business market.  The mobile operator is expanding its channel programme to include IT resellers and systems integrators through a concerted recruitment drive, as demand for mobile solutions such as telemetry, email and field force automation continues to grow.

The channel programme team will ensure that IT resellers have easy access to Orange products and services, as well as providing training, product and marketing support to ensure that customers receive excellent customer service. IT resellers will benefit from a flexible approach from Orange that will enable them to deliver their customers with both simple and bespoke mobile solutions. 

Sam Sandercock, head of channel sales, Orange, said, "Companies often have long-standing relationships with particular IT suppliers, and would like to buy mobility solutions from one place rather than having to approach multiple suppliers.  With this programme, our aim is to ensure that Orange is accessible to all companies seeking mobile solutions, no matter what purchasing route they choose."

Criteria for appointing Orange resellers will include: proven experience in deployment of IT solutions to customers, financial stability, a strong customer base, ability to provide technical support to customers and a clear focus on mobility. Orange will also be looking for specialised telemetry resellers to work with this rapidly expanding customer market.  Detailed information on how to qualify for the programme can be found at www.orange.co.uk/channelpartner. 

Orange products will complement existing fixed solutions offered by IT resellers and will enable them to realise additional revenue channels from the growing mobile and wireless space.  Resellers will be able to offer wireless capabilities to their existing customer base, selling the products as either simple access solutions - with repeatable sales providing immediate business advantage, or combine them into more complex bespoke solutions tailored to the individual customer's need.

The Orange reseller product portfolio will consist of products and applications ranging from vehicle tracking, database access, mobile email, field force enablement, remote monitoring and control, and business text messaging.  They will also have early access to new data devices and technologies such as 3G.  A full list of available products can be viewed at www.orange.co.uk/channelpartner.

Next phase of O2 Active launched with additional functionality provided by SurfKitchen's SurfKit Mobile solution

SurfKitchen, the leading provider of access management technology for mobile data services, today announced its crucial role in extending O2 Active, made available to O2 Germany's mobile subscribers from today. O2 Active includes an innovative, full-colour mobile offline client application. This offers mobile users simple access to key services like ringtones, games or even O2's mms2postcard service. In combination with the new UMTS O2 Active online portal the client provides a much better user experience for online data and multimedia services directly from a mobile device.

The launch of these O2 Active features means that for the first time, users can view services on the handset itself without having to go online. Once the desired content is found, the customer can connect directly to the information with just one click. O2 UK's successful launch of the next phase of O2 Active in February 2004 demonstrated that SurfKit Mobile significantly improves the customer experience, making the process of locating and accessing premium data services simpler, more intuitive and more cost-effective.

SurfKit Mobile is the first solution that enables an operator to remotely customise and control information on the user's handset, as its user interface can be managed and updated over the air. This is done by a straightforward, cost-effective platform, which is always present on the subscriber's phone. This provides the capability for O2 Germany to brand and customise the mobile desktop to extend and build its identity.

Lutz Schuler, Senior Vice President Product Management & Strategy, O2 Germany said: "The combination of the SurfKitchen offline client application in combination with our UMTS O2 Active online portal offers "best of both worlds" - offline and online - for mobile data usage. It is an important step in stimulating further adoption of data services in Germany by improving the subscriber's ease of use - SurfKitchen's innovative platform does this very effectively."

Philip Letts, CEO of SurfKitchen, said: "The frustrating aspect of data services for many mobile operators is that they have the high-value content available, but it is not easy enough for the end-user to access and consume that content. Our technology bridges this gap by allowing operators to reach into a device and improve the user's experience. I strongly believe this will drive greater usage of data services and ultimately higher average revenue per user for the operator. Loyalty can also be built and churn reduced through pro-active customer care and increased user personalisation."

CTIA Wireless 2004

Ukrainian Mobile Communications (UMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Mobile TeleSystems, has chosen Psytechnics to implement a voice quality measurement solution across UMC's network of 3.5 million wireless subscribers.

UMC increased its customer base in 2003 by 97% and required a system to track the quality of service delivered to customers, especially during a time of rapid growth. The company needed an integrated network management system that truly reflected the experience of their customers. Only then could UMC monitor and improve its network.

In response, Psytechnics is providing UMC non-intrusive voice quality monitoring capabilities, through its PsyQ analysis system. This will provide real-time analysis of the voice quality delivered by the network from a customer perspective.

The NiQA and CCI algorithms contained within PsyQ generate Mean Opinion Score (MOS) based assessments and diagnostics. These are gathered by a central network management system and used in the detection of faults, missed revenue opportunities and also fraud.

"We have experienced extremely rapid growth over the past few years and our primary commitment remains the quality of service we provide to customers," said Eric Franke, UMC Chief Executive Officer. "Voice quality is a key consideration for all our users. The Psytechnics solution is unique because it enables real-time monitoring of live customer traffic, effectively maintaining the network from a customer perspective."

"Traditionally, engineering metrics such as radio signal strength and loading have been the only metrics available to measure network performance," said Iain Wood, marketing director at Psytechnics. "The NiQA algorithm enables a new generation of network monitoring tools that target problems which actually affect customers. This can only be achieved using a system that looks at live traffic, giving measurements of user experience where and when they are making calls. The implementation of PsyQ will mean clear, crisp calls for UMC customers across the Ukraine."

Psytechnics is demonstrating PsyQ and other voice quality measurement technology at CTIA 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia, March 22 - 24, 2004, Hall B5, Booth 5066.

Orange decides to implement the pioneering WeRoam SIM authentication service

Within the scope of its WLAN strategy, mobile operator Orange has decided for Switzerland to implement the pioneering SIM authentication technology and global roaming service by WeRoam, a service belonging to TOGEWAnet AG. This business partnership with WeRoam will enable Orange to offer its customers access to 8,000 national and international hotspots with immediate effect. WeRoam will also enable Orange's customers to access the wireless Internet  service via SIM authentication on a secure and convenient way. This system does away with the need to use annoying voucher cards, temporary passwords and other time-consuming log-in procedures. All users need is a SIM card and a personal PIN number.

This new WLAN service will complement Orange's existing GSM and GPRS mobile communication solutions. Indeed, in the future SIM authentication is set to make seamless transitions between WLAN, GPRS and UMTS possible.

WeRoam is a global WLAN roaming service and, as a neutral service platform, connects the networks of the leading mobile- phone and telecommunications companies with the thousands of hotspot locations belonging to wireless Internet service providers. The open WeRoam platform offers user's a cost- effective way in to SIM-based authentication, is ready to work with future standards such as EAP/SIM and also supports the RADIUS standard.

London School of Economics research study identifies business requirement for more effective management of wireless assets

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) today issued a report – ‘Out-of-Sight shouldn't mean Out-of-Mind’ - which investigates the implications of increasing employee mobility and the lost opportunities that result from ineffective management of wireless assets.

The report, which was sponsored by customer self-service leader Netonomy, expresses serious concern regarding the way organizations currently manage wireless usage. While an increasing requirement for a mobilized workforce is driving a steady uptake in new mobile devices and services, the inherent nature of these products and services means that they are escaping the remit of traditional management environments. As a result, businesses are threatened by the unmanaged escalation of direct wireless costs, problems relating to adoption and roll-out of new services and a lack of understanding of how these services are being used. The author maintains that mobile operators must provide enterprises with Wireless Asset Management (WAM) services in order to ensure that wireless costs do not inhibit adoption by corporate customers.
According to the report, these issues could be addressed by implementing an effective WAM strategy. WAM is the processes and tools by which companies can manage and analyze their wireless assets - mobile devices, mobile workers and wireless usage. By tracking uptake and usage, organizations can not only control direct and support costs, and identify obstacles to adoption, but can also understand how wireless services are being used and recognize best practice. This knowledge can then be used to increase efficiency and mobilize business processes in the most effective way.
"Businesses should treat wireless assets and other mobile resources just like any other valuable business asset", comments Dr. Carsten Sorensen, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems at LSE. "By managing these assets more effectively, organizations can enter this era of mobility with confidence. The alternative is to write out a ‘blank check’ for mobile resources and experience questionable value in return - something no company can afford to do."
Businesses are a prime target for high-speed mobile data services. Employees need access to corporate resources and applications whether at work or on the move. As businesses become increasingly mobilized, mobile products and services will become fundamental enablers for the corporate customers' core businesses.
By empowering their corporate customers with WAM tools, operators can ensure faster adoption and uptake of new services and reduce churn by ensuring wireless services become more mission-critical to the organization.
John Hughes, Cofounder and Executive Vice President, comments, "We commissioned this report as we wanted to better understand and communicate the need for operators to provide WAM services to enterprises. This reinforces the huge opportunity mobility offers to enterprises of all sizes if they can manage and maintain their roll-outs in a professional manner."

Harris Interactive Europe six-country survey explores consumer interest/attitudes towards 3G amid pressures on the industry to deliver; reveals four lessons to 3G industry/marketers

European mobile users have dealt a massive blow to the prospects of early mass 3G adoption just months ahead of the widespread launch of 3G services across Europe. Yet there are signs that by following a few simple lessons, the 3G industry can put itself back on track for success.

These are the findings from the latest HI Europe Poll of attitudes towards 3G, conducted online in six key European markets (Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium) among almost 10,000 mobile users.

The survey results among mobile users showed an apparent lack of interest in 3G:

49% agree that 3G is of no interest and that current mobile phone technology completely satisfies their needs (20% disagree)

One of the reasons for this could be that many mobile users want no more than a good voice service while 3G's key advances relate to mobile data:

44% agree that, looking ahead, they can't see themselves using mobile phones for much more than making voice calls (35% disagree)

Recently, though, some operators have started to manage the early hype over 3G by acknowledging the continued importance of mobile voice to future growth.

Another reason for the low interest could be a lack of clarity over 3G's benefits:

52% agree that the mobile industry has completely failed to explain what 3G is all about and why it is worth having (11% disagree)

49% agree that mobile phone retailer staff are poor at explaining new technology (14% disagree)

While retailers are unlikely to be responsible for this perceived lack of clarity in communications, given their involvement later on in the lifecycle (i.e., once products come to market), these findings suggest that retailers represent a potential bottleneck in the process.

On the issue of pricing, there is widespread cynicism, deserved or not, that the industry will overcharge for 3G:

55% agree that 3G operators will overprice 3G to help recoup the huge investment costs on licenses and infrastructure (10% disagree)

All of this evidence underlines the uphill struggle the industry faces in making 3G a success. With billions of Euros invested, mobile operators are under severe pressure to deliver the goods.

Particularly in the light of previous industry failures, such as the WAP launch that resulted in disillusioned consumers, the HI Europe survey gauged consumer reactions related to premature launches:

51% agree that operators who promote 3G services while the service is unreliable will severely damage their reputation (10% disagree)

51% agree that operators who promote 3G services without being able to meet handset demand will severely damage their reputation (9% disagree)

Lessons for the industry
Surinder Siama, associate director within HI Europe's technology practice and author of the study, believes that the findings lead to four important lessons for the 3G industry, particularly for mobile operators but also relevant to handset manufacturers, retailers and content/applications providers:

A targeted approach, such as offering 3G data cards to road warriors, is more likely to bear fruit than the scattergun approach of operator 3 which has, ironically, had to rely on traditional mobile drivers such as price rather than 3G features such as video telephony, to attract many of its punters.

Don't forget voice: The industry has bought into the self-fulfilling prophecy that mobile data is the future and mobile voice passé. But data still represents a small part of mobile spend and the emerging success of Wi-Fi limits the appeal of 3G mobile data. Continued investment in innovative voice solutions, such as Nextel's highly successful Push to Talk product, which will soon launch in Europe through Orange, makes sense.

Communicate benefits, not just features: Steer clear of communicating 3G as a technology revolution (the mistake made with WAP), and instead focus on services and applications that offer genuine quality, productivity or lifestyle improvements.

Get it right: There is nothing worse than buying into a heavily promoted service only to find it unreliable. Yet anecdotal evidence suggests that 3G coverage is patchy and, as our study shows, the market is unlikely to be sympathetic to premature launches.

Market Differences
There are some notable attitudinal differences among mobile users by country:

Great Britain is the most anti-3G, somewhat surprising given it is home to arguably the world's greatest 3G proponent (Vodafone).

The French (57%) are more likely than others to criticise mobile retailer staff for poorly explaining new technology.

At the other extreme is Belgium, notably less critical of 3G. Despite this, Belgians are no more interested in 3G than average-a full 52% say "3G is of no interest to me, current mobile phone technology provides everything I want."

The Germans are the most open to mobile data since fewer (32%) agree that "looking ahead, I can't see myself using mobile phones for much more than making voice calls."

Spaniards (71%) are much more likely to believe that the industry has failed to clearly explain 3G.