Mine is bigger than yours

Written by on January 13, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

Vodafone’s UK CEO Jeroen Hoencamp may have opened a can of worms when he stated on the company’s blog that network speed only gets you so far but consumers currently don’t need any more than 20Mbps on a mobile device. Very true, some of us would be ecstatic to get that on our fixed-line ADSL broadband connection.

Of course Mr Hoencamp would say that because his company is far behind market leader EE in 4G rollout in the UK. He needs to draw attention away from that and stress the benefits his network offers. With only 50 percent of the population covered today (as opposed to 80 percent claimed by EE) he reiterated that of 98 percent coverage by end 2015 was the goal.

“It’s not about who’s got the most coverage,” Hoencamp said. “It’s more about having the strongest signal…we only turn 4G on when we have built or updated enough sites.” And in the next breath stated, “We think less about absolute speed and more about using that bandwidth to enable more customers to enjoy great content on the move, even in the busiest places and at the busiest times.”

He concluded, “Many customers don’t care what 4G is. All customers want is consistency, so that wherever they go they have strong signal, so that they can do what they want wherever they are.”

So, let’s get this clear, Hoencamp doesn’t think speed is that important, but coverage and consistency are. So the conclusion for prospective consumers must be to go with EE because it likes talking about speed and because it has almost double the coverage one could expect better consistency. Yup, that’s sorted. Thanks for helping make that critical decision for me Mr Hoencamp. I’m sure your marketing department is already hard at work coming up with a counter message to keep people flocking to the competition.

All jokes aside, he is absolutely correct in his perception of what the customer wants but his company and almost all mobile network operators worldwide continue to push the virtues of speed over consistency and most consumers are fed up with the speed BS. It is almost impossible to make simple phone calls on trains or motorways in the UK over any appreciable distance.

Continuous 4G coverage remains a dream for many that forked out good money for handsets and 4G plans only to find they are switched back to 3G and even 2G every time the 4G signal strength wavers. If you are really lucky, your operator has mastered the art of Wi-Fi hand-off!

Most of us would be happy with 10Mbps even if it were remotely consistent. Being bombarded with ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ or ‘I’m faster than you’ is mere boy talk. Telling me you really have 100 percent cover, 100 percent of the time is ‘real man’ talk (without wishing to sound sexist).

It’s time for mobile operators and their marketing departments to stop pontificating about ethereal features on offer and tell the truth. Better still; why not concentrate those wasted marketing dollars on getting the network just right?

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About the Author

About the Author: Tony is a freelance writer, regular speaker, MC and chairman for the telecoms and digital services industries worldwide. He has founded and managed software and services companies, acts a market strategist and is now Editor of DisruptiveViews. In June 2011, Tony was recognized as one of the 25 most influential people in telecom software worldwide. .

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