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Thursday, May 31, 2007

BT Fusion and Orange Unik

Some interesting facts & figures from this morning's UMA webcast done jointly by Kineto & Orange.

France Telecom has an installed base of 4.8m LiveBox gateways (mostly in France), and has >140k Unik subscriptions & has sold >200k phones (also mostly in France). Current run rate sounds like around 25k phones a month.

Have to say I'm surprised by the statistic that 15-20% of calls involve a handover - much higher than I'd have anticipated, although there's a possibility of self-selection here: I imagine the proposition is much more attractive to people who use their phones at home a lot. It could also be they've tuned the LiveBox WiFi to a smaller range & so there's some occasional accidental handovers to the macro network.

By contrast BT is reported to have (still) only around 40k Fusion users, although it's a bit opaque about whether that's acccounts or phones. It has an installed base of "more than 1m" Home Hubs (I think it also said the same thing at end-2006, so I'd guess the number is a fair bit more by now).

Interestingly, although BT is being castigated for its slow growth, it looks like the penetration of dual-mode into homes with operator-provided gateways is broadly similar -around 3-4% (ie 140k against 4m LiveBox in markets where Unik has launched).

I've been saying for a while that UMA-based dualmode is only really an option when sold in conjunction with an operator's home gateway, in order to minimise costs of support & complexity of configuration, as well as enabling better QoS. It will be interesting to see if T-Mobile's promised full launch in the US will work around this and run over anyone's box/connection - as well as whether it incurs the wrath of Net Neutrality issues for running it's mobile service "across someone else's broadband".

One other thing occurred to me - I think that the French aren't quite as voracious as the British in demanding the latest, most expensive, flashiest phones (ideally subsidised down to £zero). This could mean that Orange has had an easier time than BT in pushing the early unsexy, low-end UMA phones. Unik also has more attractive pricing, reflecting France's hugely competitive voice marketplace, and can offer free on-net calls to other Orange mobiles (incurring no net interconnect costs obviously), which BT cannot match in the UK.


Anonymous said...

Interesting to hear the BT Fusion figures. I had a conversation with a France Telecom guy last week at Eurosec Paris, who obviously had some interest in UMA. In my view BT haven't promoted the product much, and I haven't yet come across a person that is using it. Hardly surprising if there are only 40k users.

AYIP said...

see voipniche.blogspot.com.

Your articles appear at voipnichedotcom without reference to you.
Now the links are pointing to you.

Anonymous said...

To appreciate the number of handovers for the FT Unik phone, you may have to know that a call initiated at home is free of charge, even if you maintain the communication for 2 hours using the GSM/UMTS network afterwards... driving in the middle of nowhere..

Anonymous said...

I suspect the vast majority of people on BT Fusion are BT employees taking advantage of the staff discount on the product. That might change now that a Fusion Prepay product has been made available. On the other hand, it has been surprising, when browsing for available WiFi connections on my iPhone how many "BTFusion" hubs are reported...