seismic shift

EE, the UK network made up of the joint parish of Deutsche Telecom and Orange, has been making a lot of noise recently about its progress in 4G, recently reaching two million subscribers, but at a briefing this week EE revealed some interesting figures about its progress in other areas as well.

It said a total of 17 per cent of that two million were B2B customers, and that it has already moved up one notch from third to second in the corporate accounts in the UK, which, in a market where shifting incumbents can prove to be very challenging and unusual, it claimed represented a “seismic shift”.  It said it now has 4,100 corporate accounts and that the value of its new accounts in terms of ARPU was now up 64% year-on-year, and 34% in terms of volume beating the market trends.

Estee Lauder was plucked out as a hero account win for being worth a total of 7 million – 3m for only 1,200 connections and an additional £4m through VAS upsell opportunities.

Rise of the machines

M2M isn’t something you hear too much about from the operators, but Director on MVNO and national M2M Jason Bellman said that it now has 1.6 million M2M connections. Most of this stems from the energy and logistics market but that it was looking to expand its M2M operations in the healthcare and automotive markets.

m2mThe latter can be split into the insurance category, where some drivers can choose to have a black box fitted in order to be able to gain cheaper car insurance. Streaming services were also an M2M growth area – for in-car entertainment to the vehicle and video for digital signage.

Virtual reality

On the MVNO side EE now has 29 on its network with brands such as Virgin, Asda and interestingly China Mobile. The latter is a deal that stemmed from the network wanting to offer its customers a friendly look and feel on their mobile when they visit the UK.

Interestingly we heard that Virgin, has a license to offer 4G, but has not yet done so. Low cost 4G should be an easy sell, so it’s curious as to why Virgin has not yet taken advantage.

How big is your data?

Also of interest was the news that EE was making pioneering steps in big data. This topic was introduced with the statement that: “I’m told that big data is like teenage romance: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it… however, we’re actually doing it. Honestly.”

It described a product dubbed ‘Discover’ as “ground-breaking” and said it would be able give it insights into the network to be able to pinpoint faults to a precise location, down to where on the network, and on which device.

big_data_elephantThis level of granularity enables it to deliver ‘big data’, a buzz word that remains on the lips of the IT and telecoms industry. As a case in point, Jason Rees,  director of new business at EE told the group how EE was using big data to help with retail store planning. He related how a well-known retailer came to EE rather than a retail planning committee to use its data to work out where to put a store near the Crossrail train route being built in London. The data showed that a large percentage of the footfall were female iOS users, so that it was able to know where to put its store, and what mobile OS was best to concentrate on. It also brings to mind Vodafone’s deal with satnav map provider Tomtom, which derives traffic data from the density of its users on main roads.

Big data is a source of revenue for the operator that is out of sight of the consumer, though the consumer clearly plays a crucial role in its generation.

With revenue generation is a data age a key concern for all operators we’re surely going to be hearing a lot more about big data usage  over the next year or two.

As a sign off, we had a also mention of Voice over LTE as an innovation coming later in the year. It looks as though my leaving VoLTE off my list of Top 5 Predictions for LTE in 2014 is increasingly off the mark…

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