3 announced the upcoming availability of the ‘X-Series’ bundle – a mobile broadband offering that includes:
- Skype – unlimited calls from their mobile phone (using data tariff, rather than voice minutes). On further reading, Skype service is NOT wVoIP - it's a circuit-switched call from the phone into a Skype VoIP gateway in 3's network according to this post.
- MSN Messenger
For an additional premium, 3 customers can use:
- Sling – watch their home television on their mobile (and set their home recorder - nice)
- Orb – access music, video and other content their home PC remotely
Love this sound bite from Frank Sixt, Group Finance Director of Hutchison Whampoa:
"We are tearing down the wall around the garden and going naked into the world outside."I can’t see this being a massive success for 3. Sure, it sounds cool and all and early adopters will point at this announcement excitedly, pontificating that the mobile internet has arrived and that one operator has seen the light etc.
But, it’s too early for this type of bundling – much better to drip feed these features onto the market. For the mass market, is there any precedent indicating the requirement for these features? For some, yes; for all, no; for all together: NO.
Users don’t want all these features – they want to trial a couple of them (with low barriers to entry, of course) and then to sign-up to the ones that are relevant to their needs. Presenting them as a bundle means that consumers think that they’ll be paying for features they don’t want - and won't try any ('Too much, too complicated, don't have time'), leaving a sour taste in everyone's mouth.
Much better to launch ‘Any two for £5 per month, free for the first 2 months’ or even catchier, ‘3 for 3 months for free’.
Will the other operators be impressed by 3’s announcement?
Nope, bundling too early means that everyone has to produce bigger and better bundles at ever lower costs OR other operators have to hope that this will be a damp squib (think of 3’s previous too-early-to-launch of video calling) and they can reset the market 9 months or a year later.
Overall result is that this may well stymie the market before it even exists.
Conclusion: Amateur marketing - 3 has p*ssed in its own pot and soiled it for everyone, including themselves.