According to reports in Corriere della Sera, mobile operator Omnitel does not expect to launch 3G services in Italy until May 2003. The Italian daily paper claims that the Vodafone-owned company will conduct a full test of its next generation mobile phone network before the end of this year, but that it will postpone commercial launch until handsets are more widely available.
Omnitel’s CEO, Vittorio Colao, is quoted as saying: “The true commercial launch will start in May 2003.” However, Colao shied away from describing it as a ‘major launch’, rather it will, he believes, be a gradual process.Written by BWCS for PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that most Western European operators will struggle to launch even limited commercial 3G services by the end of 2002 and even the first half of 2003. Mass market adoption does not look likely before the latter stages of 2004 at the earliest.
The media has been searching for somewhere to pin the blame for these latest delays and appears to be erring towards the handset manufacturers, following some barbed remarks by various operator spokespeople. In truth, the industry as a whole should be held to account for once again hyping expectations and setting an unrealistic timetable for deployment.
This does, however, present a window of opportunity for Hutchison, which is sticking to an October 2002 date for its launch. It will have an opportunity to demonstrate its superior execution abilities and several months in which to market its services to consumers without competition.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.