O2 ceo Dave McGlade also had some strong words on the 3G “launches” of some of his competitors.
“I think some of that is getting a little hypey now. Yes, Vodafone said they’re going to do data cards and T-Mobile said so too, and Orange too, so everybody feels compelled to say, ‘My God I better do it’
“Let’s separate the hype from the reality. So data cards are important but it’s all part of the mix. The key is to have the right kind of data cards where you can put GPRS and 3G and eventually WiFi on, and have a single GUI and allow users to take advantage of the speeds wherever they are.
“It seems like people are pushing it so hard like ‘We’re doing data cards now’. They’ve said, ‘We’re not going to launch 3G until the summer or fall’ — but now they’re saying they’re doing more and more data cards but it feels like, ‘Why do they need to try that,? ‘OK we’re going to do more with the Nokia blah blah blah blah blah’. I think it’s a device and it’s important but it’s just one of a range of things.”
McGlade said that O2 still had plans for a 3G launch itself in the second half of 2004.
“We’re certainly not going to be the first to launch but when we do launch the handsets will be ready, handover issues will be good, it’ll be robust.” It will also be crucial that services such as the music player and the O2 active client mean that customers don’t view 3G as a huge leap, McGlade said.
“The idea is that it’s not going to be any kind of revolution. The reason we do things like bring music to GPRS and look at even downloading and video streaming video is it gives us the chance of developing those products in the current world so that when we launch 3G it’s a seamless segueway.
“I also think because it took so long for 3G to come around, the rest of the world caught up. I think the Asians drove that and certainly i-mode and NTT DoCoMo did a lot of that. I think it’s now created an environment that it’s less of a big deal when you turn a switch and start offering 3G services.
“The only thing I think that’s truly differentiated that we can come up with in a 3G world is peer-to-peer video.”