Vodafone’s new 360 service might end up being more than a nifty new, carrier-specific service environment. It might challenge the way inter-carrier competition is conducted. By Ian Scales.
Vodafone’s newly launched 360 service is not about ‘gaining control’ over the environment, claimed Bobby Rao, Director Internet Services Marketing, at Vodafone Group at the Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm this week in London. “360 is a way of differentiating our services,” he claimed.
Well, yes. But the idea behind 360 has at least one intriguing aspect which makes it much more than a way of differentiating Vodafone’s offering.
According to Rao an important part of the service is that it can be accessed by its user across any network. This is crucial in an increasingly multi-screen world where a larger proportion of mobile users are now looking more like ‘cloud’ users because they want to access the same services and data from different devices (home PC, mobile, office computer, laptop).
So 360 allows this, but that means that you have a platform that can present that agnosticism the other way around. So Vodafone could attract users from its competitors, get them to download the necessary app to their phones and then, once hooked as it were, and then drag the new offnet users of the environment into a Vodfone calling plan.
According to other attendees at Telco 2.0 this is a pretty clear strategy. “They want to get a viral effect going,” said one, “where you might get a groups of friends using the same software across different platforms. You can then monetise them by making network offers.”
Vodafone's Rao also said he could see VoIP becoming “part of the roadmap” for 360. In this scenario a downloadable VoIP client could enable Vodafone to displace some of its competitors voice minutes. Vigorous competition indeed.
please sign in to rate this article