Thursday, 1 March 2007

Enterprise-focused mobile advertising

More news from the Netherlands. It's either really exciting over there, or I'm getting obsessed.

Vodafone has announced it will be launching mobile advertising focused on vertical sectors. Interesting. Previously attention has all been focused on the consumer market, but targeting enterprise makes some sense. Initially it's aimed at insurance brokers and pharma. Unlike low-cost consumer propositions, these are exactly the users that potential advertisers will want to hit. And they'll be prepared to pay big bucks to do so. Plus, if VF can subsidise the service it should help them bring some top quality users on board. Think of all those lovely mobile sales people with their €100/month ARPU!

It's all go in the Netherlands

France Telecom is allegedly looking to sell Orange NL. There's precedent of course. They disposed of Orange Denmark when it was apparent it couldn't reach sufficiently high market share. In Netherlands they have 12% of subscribers and 8% of revenue. This rumour has the ring of truth about it. Particularly, as Orange is clearly focusing its attention on 'going deep' in UK, France and Spain.

Another couple of interesting stories from Vodafone too. It has started to support MVNOs in the Netherlands. I guess you can't buck the market. First deal is with electronics retailer Dexcom.

T-One is shelved

Deutsche Telekom has dumped its FMC offer. Launched in August 2006 the intention had been to allow access via T-Mobile's 6,500 WiFi hotspots but the service has been shelved.

No real surprises there. FMC adoption has been patchy at best thanks to confusing pricing and no handsets. Also, with big bundles of minutes available to wireless-only customers, where's the appeal of hunting out a hotspot? Germany is also not the most appealing market in which to launch such an offer. Competition has been fierce from alternatives such as Genion and the landline replacements from Vodafone (Zu Hause) and T-Mobile (@Home).

More M&A imminent?

It looks like there may be a bit more M&A activity coming up in Europe. Deutsche Telekom has announced its plans to expand internationally, and not just in the territories in which it's already present. Tier 2 operators beware. So who are the targets? The biggest footprint gaps in Europe seem to be:
  • Nordic markets - rampant competition pretty much rules it out
  • More expansion to the east - adding to Poland, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia (sorry FYR Macedonia - mustn't upset the Greeks and Bulgarians) - this has some potential. Other Balkans markets may become a target and possibly Ukraine. Few would touch Russia with a barge-pole after the troubles other inward investors have had.
  • The south. Few potential targets in Spain, but Telecom Italia may be a target again. That didn't work out too well last time though. But, what with TI refocusing on becoming a media brand with Alice and regulatory issues with providing FMC services, TI seems to be seriously considering disposing of TIM. This may also interest Telefonica, which is in talks to take a stake in TI.
Also, Sonaecom has declared its interest in merging with Vodafone if its unsuccessful in acquiring Portugal Telecom. To be honest I'm quite shocked the regulator would allow this anyway. Only three operators in a saturated market. Admittedly one of the conditions would have been to make spectrum available to another operator, but any new entrant (if anyone's brave enough) would take years to reach any kind of scale. Yoigo in Spain has its work cut out and it's focusing very much on the low end of the market. 78k subs in 3 months is no mean feat though. I'd also be surprised if Vodafone wanted to sell out of Portugal.