Vodafone’s new service – to be known as Vodafone Live! – will be launched across Europe in October including the UK, Netherlands and Italy to combine with Vodafone’s launch of their MMS service. Rumours suggested that this is the end of the line for Vizzavi – a much speculated ‘happy ending’ for the rather disastrous voyage into the world of mobile data embarked upon by the marriage made in the world of corporate debt – Vodafone and Vivendi. However (and unfortunately in the view of W2Forum), much to the chagrin of Vodafone’s shareholders, Vizzavi will actually feature as one of the menu choices on the Live! service. Other features will include Java gaming, IM and MMS.Written by W2Forum for PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence.
Vodafone’s data services lag the industry, despite a quality infrastructure of GPRS networks, location-based capabilities and international roaming. The uncertaintity which has dogged Vizzavi, originally intended as the global portal for Vodafone subscribers, has caused it to fall behind its UK competitors and, obviously, NTT DoCoMo.
The advent of multimedia messaging and mobile Java provides an opportunity for Vodafone to reposition itself at the top of the mobile data league. It must leverage its brand and massive international reach to establish a global platform for wireless data services.
This should be open to third party developers (including billing support), deeply customised throughout the users’ handsets and branded consistently so that customers can access personalised services whichever Vodafone country they happen to be in. There is no reason why Vodafone should not have a wireless data service to rival DoCoMo’s i-Mode – this is a question of marketing and strategy rather than technological capability.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.