Martin Péronnet, CEO of Monaco Telecom, discusses the firm’s LTE trial
Eurocomms.com: You are currently trialling LTE – how many people are taking part and what devices is it available on?
Martin Péronnet: We have been running a LTE trial since last April on Ericsson equipment. The network is available through any Monaco Telecom SIM card and the devices we are using to date are dongles. LTE is still in its infancy so vendors have not released any commercial equipment yet. We should start to see some next year.
What experiences can you share so far?
The wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco was a huge event, attracting media from all over the world. Connectivity for journalists was a real challenge. I>Tele, a French television news channel, decided to use a 4G connected camera to be able to broadcast the event live and the result was outstanding. LTE is going to change our approach to connectivity.
You are commercially launching LTE in 2013 – what are your expectations, particularly with regard to coverage, costs savings and revenue growth?
It’s too early to talk about those specifics I’m afraid. LTE and fixed/mobile convergence will have a huge impact on network design. But it will also impact service platforms and customer relationship tools. And customer behaviour will change a lot. It should accelerate the transformation of the market. We are currently working on these evolutions, to be able to make the right business decisions before launching it in 2013. It is too soon to provide an assessment now.
Monaco Telecom is 55 percent owned by CWC – how has your relationship with them changed in the 18 months since they demerged from Cable & Wireless?
There has been no real change. In many ways CWC acted as an independent business for several years before demerger. We benefit from being part of a broader portfolio of businesses within the group.
Monaco has the highest GDP per capita in the world; how would you describe your average consumer?
There is no such thing as an average consumer, especially in Monaco where they come from more than 120 different countries. Their expectations are very segmented. However, they have common characteristics: they are high end customers, looking for the highest standards in terms of quality of services, state of the art technology and customer relationship.
Given you are the sole provider of wireline voice, broadband and pay TV in Monaco, do you agree competition would benefit consumers?
Monaco is a very small jurisdiction. We have recently re-signed a license with the Monaco Government which sets out our rights and obligations as an operator over the next five years. That is a mechanism which the Government uses to ensure that Monaco residents continue to receive high quality, good value telecoms services from Monaco Telecom. On the other end, our mobile business is very competitive; we are fighting against the three French operators. Our customer research shows that people happy with our internet and fixed offers are 50 percent more likely to choose us on the mobile.
What is your biggest challenge over the next 12 months?
In the past six months we have seen how increasing the penetration of smartphone and handset devices has had a significant effect on increasing our mobile services revenue. Our biggest challenge for the next 12 months will be to finalise the company’s transformation into a fully convergent operator and growing our revenues through mobile market share, mobile data and enterprise value added services such as hosting.
What are your specific plans re convergence?
In 2012 we plan to introduce quad play bundles (mobile, fixed line, broadband and pay TV). That will be a key area of focus for and will help us to reward customer loyalty by offering better value for those taking multiple services.