We will be closely investigating another mobile phone network called
Vodafone against the other three companies where we will be discussing
Vodafone’s competitive advantage against BTCellnet’s long established
cellular company of British Telecom and comparing the newly
established company, One2One and how it threatens Vodafone. We will be
creating and discussing SWOT analysis for these companies and
explaining their current positioning. We will then be explaining how
these four companies positioning will change within the next ten years
from the results we have in our SWOT.
Mobile Phone Description and History
There has been massive change in the mobile phone industry since it
was first launched in the 1980’s. In recent years, four main players
have dominated the industry, which are the companies we are
discussing. Originally, two main players, Vodafone and Cellnet started
the mobile telephone network.
The Racal group founded Vodafone in 1982 and was the first mobile
phone provider in the UK. The groups become public in 1988 when it
floated on the New York Stock Exchange and in 1993, Vodafone and Racal
demerged to become Vodafone Group PLC. The same year, the company was
the first to launch an all-digital service called GSM (Global System
for Mobile Communication) network. Independent suppliers for mobile
telephones have classed Vodafone as the market leader for network
service and the most technologically advanced with their
telecommunications equipment. Growth with most of the mobile network
suppliers have been tremendous – with Vodafone, we can see that almost
every year, subscribers signing onto Vodafone has almost doubled.
Within the retail section, Vodafone launched Vodafone Retail, and has
over 280 outlets nationwide outside of the specialist mobile phone
retailers. Vodafone has not only been supplying a quality network
service to UK customers, but they have also had interests in countries
such as Germany, South Africa, Australia and Greece. Because of this,
Vodafone Group International was set up in 1993 these partnerships
with overseas companies.
In May 2000, Vodafone completed a joint venture with Bell Atlantic of
America to form Verizon Wireless and are currently market leaders in
the US, providing network service to 23 million customers and have
Why Choose Vodafone?
We have chosen this company as our main choice as Vodafone is the UK’s
leading network operator with the highest number of users and is the
largest mobile Communications Company in the world.
Vodafone UK is the UK’s leading network operator with the highest
number of users. Vodafone originally concentrated on the business
market but now concentrate more on the commercial market and this is
where we can compare them to other mobile network providers such as
BTCellnet, Orange and One2One. Vodafone markets it products to a wide
range of people and 71% of its users are aged between 15 and 44.
Vodafone realised that most people wanted a non-contractual mobile
service and so released the UK’s first ‘Pay As You Talk’ billing
structure. This is where you purchase a telephone for a one off price
and then ‘top up’ your calling credit with vouchers which can be
purchased from many UK High Street Outlets. The latest variation of
pre-pay package if called ‘Pay as You Talk Allcalls”. Vodafone want to
concentrate more on the leisure market in recent years and by
launching exciting new services such as Pay as you Talk and Pre-Pay,
they will attract a wider-range of customers.
Vodafone have realised that services such as ‘Pay as you Talk’ and
‘PrePay’, may not be convenient to users such as the Self Employed and
users with a heavier phone usage. With this in mind, Vodafone claim to
have the lowest network contract tariff at just Â£9.99. With these
services combined, they can attract most of the leisure market as they
have a service tariff, which suits most needs.
Vodafone advertise heavily on the television, local, regional and
nation-wide newspapers. They appear on prime time television and tend
to have advertisements that appeal to all classes of society. They
have a very user-friendly website and their retail outlets are in most
major towns and cities. Their slogan is “The Word is Vodafone” and
they have used this for many years now. They have recently launched
cinema advertising where they will hope to gain an even greater share
of the younger market (adults aged 15 – 24). Currently they have the
greatest share in this market which is 38%, but they hope to double
this by 2003. An example of Vodafone’s brochure appears at the back.
Vodafone is trying to attract consumers in the AB social economic
group with both their pre-pay and contractual services.
Vodafone is the UK’s longest established company. They have a good
reputation in the cellular industry. This is a very good tool, as most
people decide to choose a mobile on the service a member of their
family or a friend is using, as Vodafone already has the most number
of users, this market lead will grow and grow. They are investing
heavily in new technology and offer the latest services for example,
WAP, GPRS and along with BT Cellnet, offer both analogue and digital
BT Cellnet, formally Cellnet UK, are a company owned by British
Telecommunications PLC. Cellnet was formally joint venture with
Securicor since 1983 and BT not own all shares in the company in 1996.
They are the second network after Vodafone and therefore, are
Vodafones main competitor. BT Cellnet has 8 million subscribers and
retails in a variety of outlets including The Link chain of
telecommunications stores where BT hold a 40% stake.
Their slogan “Surf the net, surf the BT Cellnet” shows the company’s
interest in the mobile internet sector, and claim to have market
leadership in this area. They were the first to offer GRPS (General
Packet Radio Service) which is very important for the high bandwidth
speeds needed for mobile Intranet.
Traditionally, BT Cellnet targeted business users and are in direct
competition with Vodafone. However, more recently, BT Cellnet
re-branded their tariffs to include the leisure market where they
mainly target more affluent groups of the social spectrum.
As with Vodafone, BT Cellnet is a long serving provider of mobile
communications and have a very strong reputation for providing
quality, reliable service, especially to corporate users. They are
particularly suited to corporate users as they offer services like
‘dictation line’. This is where you can call a secretary from your
mobile phone and dictate a fax or letter, which will appear with your
personal details on. BT Cellnet were the first to offer a pre-pay and
pas-as-you-go WAP mobile service
BT Cellnet advertise heavily in a wide-range of media. They regularly
advertise on prime-time television. They have the largest number of
retail outlets as they are have their existing BT Shops and own a 40%
stake in The Link chain of branches, which gives them competitive over
the other network providers.
Orange is the third largest UK mobile phone network provider and also
the youngest, launching their first service in 1994. The company first
started as a joint venture between British Aerospace and Hutchison
Whampoa and has around six million subscribers.
The companies slogan “The futures bright, the futuresâ€¦ Orange”.
Please see brochure attached.
As the youngest UK mobile company, they have been able to attract a
younger market by promoting “Just Talk” which is offers the most
inexpensive off-peak rate of just 5 pence per minute.
In October 1999, German telecom company Mannesmann agreed a Â£22
million buyout of Orange, giving the two companies a combined 20
million subscribers throughout Europe. Subsequently, Mannesmann was
subject to a hostile take-over bid by Vodafone. However, due to the
Monopolies commission, this contravenes legislation and Orange will
have to be re-floated or sold off later this year.
Even though Orange are the youngest mobile communications company,
they have been able to keep up with strong competition by offering to
match any tariff which another network provider is offering. They also
have a very strong advantage with Customer Service satisfaction with
“Which Magazine” and “OFTEL” voting them the highest customer service
and performance with their service.
As with the other mobile network suppliers, Orange advertises on
prime-time television and is involved just as heavily on the price war
on pre-pay and pay-as-you-go services. Orange also sponser the BAFTA
awards which gives them huge promotion. They also have a over 160
outlets in the UK.
They are heavily promoting their student packages, and have sponsored
many universities’ social events.
A great deal of Orange’s subscribers is of a younger age. Nearly 70%
of them are on a pre-pay or pay-as-you go billing structure and they
see this as a great opportunity market. Equally, they promote their
business tariffs and contractual billing agreements, but advertisement
campaigns and promotions are showing they are gearing towards the
young, leisure market.
One 2 One
One2One has been wholly owned since October 1999 by Deutsche Telekom
who are a German telecommunications group, who bought the company for
Â£8.4 billion. One2One was originally owned by a joint venture between
Cable and Wireless and the American group, MediaOne. One2One were the
first UK’s first all-digital network and was launched as Mercury
One2One and then the Mercury name was dropped in 1996 and re-branded
as One2One. The company was the first to launch the all-digital
pre-pay tariff in 1997 called ‘Its Up2You’ package.
Current slogan: “Connecting People”.
The have heavily promoted their pre-pay mobile tariffs and are the
only company to offer a standard tariff whereby there is non
distinction between off-peak and peak calls. One2One mainly dominate
the London area, but only cover 98% of the country. However, they were
the first and only company to offer limitless local land-line calls
every night after 6.00pm and all day at the weekend.
One2One are still targeting the less affluent population in the London
area as their service does not cover the whole country. They offer
some business tariffs but they are not as competitive as Vodafone’s or
BT Cellnet’s. Along with Orange, they are targeting the leisure market
and see this as the most profitable.
One2One competes heavily along with the other mobile communications
giants on prime time television. They retail within their own
branches, via the internet and through retailer like The Car Phone