With the entry this week of T-Mobile and Orange into the 3G arena in the UK, operators are in danger of falling into a "me too" launching strategy and risking serious consequences, according to a report from telecoms analyst Analysys.
The company warned that operators face significant challenges if they are to achieve clear differentiation from services based on 2G and 2.5G networks.
Alastair Brydon, co-author of the report, maintained that early 3G launches suggest that many operators have not worked out a robust service strategy.
"Success requires careful management of the mix of voice, small-screen data and high-speed internet/intranet services, supported by an appropriate deployment of new network technology, principally 3G but maybe also other solutions," he said in a statement.
Most European operators have focused 3G strategies on internet/intranet access for business customers, with a data card launch followed by handsets later.
But Analysys said that, while this will generate reliable revenue in the short term, it will not be sufficient to justify 3G in its own right.
The analyst added that new operator 3 is a pioneer in the UK, using a 3G network to support aggressive fixed-line replacement pricing.
"In the UK, 3 is achieving success with its [strategy], generating over 400 minutes per month usage with a relatively modest decrease in pricing compared to 2G," said report co-author Mark Heath in a statement.
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