Vodafone boss dismisses 4G early adopters as 'technology freaks'

Vodafone boss dismisses 4G early adopters as 'technology freaks'To most people, the news that Vodafone's UK division took a 5.2% revenue hit in the final three months of 2012 would suggest that EE's exclusive hold on the 4G airwaves has been causing some pain.

But not Vodafone Group chief exec Vittorio Colao. He reckons there hasn't been any noticeable migration to the 4G promised land at all, and that it's mainly just “technology freaks” signing up.

Let's have Colao's comments in full: “I haven't got reports of customers flying away to 4G,” he said. “The kind of people who are going for it are technology freaks.”

This after Vodafone announced its biggest revenue drop in three years, the Guardian reports, despite subscriber numbers actually increasing by 230,000 over the quarter to 19.5 million.

In other words, Vodafone has more customers but they're spending less. Which would probably happen if specifically subscribers who consume a lot of data on high-tariff monthly contracts were going elsewhere. Damn those “technology freaks”.

Of course, that effectively means Colao is right. But where he's wrong is in thinking it isn't a big deal. For the record, his own take on the sagging revenues is that it's the result of Vodafone tweaking its prices and customers bargain-hunting in the run-up to Christmas (as if that was a phenomenon that only magically came into existence in September 2012).

Never mind – EE's 4G monopoly will be a thing of the past in a few months' time, at which point maybe those technology freaks will consider giving Vodafone another go.

Read more about: Vodafone

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9 comments

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 8, 2013 at 21:13

Agree, How strange....

thecresta  Feb. 8, 2013 at 21:47

You'll find most early adopters went for 4G because the salesperson explained that 4 is a higher number than 3, which means it's definitely better.

And Angry Birds will be faster with it.

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 8, 2013 at 22:00

Exactly.
And within months after 99% coverage, streaming and download content will be inflated...oops...improved - heavier in terms of data... Look at torrent sites: now, with highspeed broadband, some idiots upload 8GB movies. Just cause they can. Nobody can tell the ****' difference between a well encoded 1.2GB movie and a hastily ripped 8GB Blueray Disk. Once 4G is wide-spread, websites will get bloatier, etc etc... nothing will actually be faster. It IS always like that. Any gain will eventually be eaten up by related adaptations and misuses.

I can do every thing I really need to do with a smartphone on my 6 1/2 year old E61. But: it uses a tenth of the data that the same session sucks up when I use an iPhone 5 or SGS3... Sure, there are advantages...

Knowsnowt  Feb. 8, 2013 at 22:39

Vodafone lost revenue just might be because customers have left, its just their contracts are not up yet (hence they are spending less), and where possible reduced their contracts to lowest value until the contract expires.

Of course it might be loss of higher value business contracts, 4G issue as suggested here, xmas sales, a combination of them all.........
........ or it might be that Voda are lying sacks of **** and have manipulated their subscriber numbers - bit like Blizzards Wow Subscriber numbers - and actually losing subs is the real reason for lost revenue (which, it is, lets face it).

satchef1  Feb. 9, 2013 at 00:26

Could be either. Their 4G upgrade pledge suggests they were at least concerned about EE around launch time (75% ETF discount for customers taking out contracts in Q4 if they upgrade to 4G when it launches in their area - for most people selling the 'free' handset would more than cover the ETF).

At the same time, they did launch Vodafone RED and they were calling their high-use customers to offer the new plan to them. Upgrades were also giving out stupid deals. I snagged a Note 2 on RED 2GB for less than the RRP of the phone - my line rental now is less than it was before the upgrade, and I no longer suffer a list of out-of-allowance charges that often topped £20/month. I was jumping to Three until I got this offer. I know I'm not the only one to get such a good deal, and I know a good number of Vodafone customers now on RED and saving a good amount of money each month.

JaxHax  Feb. 9, 2013 at 07:41

@JanSt

What an absolutely strange comment. Of course as speeds improve content gets bigger, that is the point, the point of high speed broadband isn't so your email loads in a tenth of a second compared to one, its to support the and encourage the migration of services on to the Internet, stuff you wouldn't be able to do with your ten year old phone.

P.s. why a poorly encoded 8gb to a well encoded 1.2? If they were both well made the 8 would look far superior.

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 9, 2013 at 08:53

@JanSt

What an absolutely strange comment. Of course as speeds improve content gets bigger, that is the point, the point of high speed broadband isn't so your email loads in a tenth of a second compared to one, its to support the and encourage the migration of services on to the Internet, stuff you wouldn't be able to do with your ten year old phone.

P.s. why a poorly encoded 8gb to a well encoded 1.2? If they were both well made the 8 would look far superior.


Arguably right about the emails, but the rest is debatable and I absolutely disagree. Find it strange; find me strange.
But I have seen plenty of 'stuff' accelerate in my life, and faster does NOT equal better at the end of the day.
Sure, I get your points, but most of those gains are fluff. Look at the webpages that take 5 minutes to load unless you have super highspeed bb... it is mostly rubbish. And no: there is no need for 8GB movies :p

Nevermind. My opinions won't hamper your perceived progress. I'm in the minority and well aware of it. :)

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 9, 2013 at 09:06

Ironically, Vodafone Ireland have been hyping their "coming soon" 4G since befor the launch of iPhone 5 :)) There won't be 4G until after Easter - and only for a fraction of the country.
Judging by Vf Ireland's 3G coverage thus far, 4G won't affect more than a fraction until...ahem, 2020.
But hey, "Ireland's Fastest Network" has been plastered all over their PR since October.
I guess they are freakish early adopters - unlike the big brother in the UK ;)

eDave  Feb. 9, 2013 at 11:27

Surely GiffGaff is taking some market share? I can stream HD movies on my cheap Nexus 4 using my cheap GiffGaff connection to O2's 3G/HSPA+ network with great coverage, the actual end-user experience is incredibly slick, seems to me to be the smartest choice for now.

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