How Successful Is 3G REALLY In The UK?

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How successful is 3G REALLY in the UK? I'm getting mixed messages about 3G take-up in the UK. On one hand, 3 announce that they have added 3m subscribers (,2763,1449689,00.html), and then on the other that Vodafone is thought to have attracted fewer than 200,000 customers in the UK to date (,,1438432,00.html), and Virgin Mobile have announced that they are pulling back from a a major launch of 3G due to a sensing a lack of interest (,2763,1441419,00.html)among subscribers for the new technology.

The mobile operators have spent a small fortune, enough to wipe out the debt of a third world country on launching 3G, and an even bigger fortune on acquiring licences. I was personally part of the Vodafone Live! launch in 2002, so I know that Vodafone have spent more on launching 3G given the extra coverage it has had.

So, despite spending millions launching their services why aren't consumers switching to 3G? Do the operators need to offer cheaper voice minutes to get people to take 3G handsets in the hope that consumers will start to use data services?

Maybe the operators have made a fundamental mistake - there's no point persuading users to upgrade to 3G to make videocalls, only for them to realise they have no one to call! If none of your mates have got a video-calling handset then it's useless.

Until 3G penetration reaches some sort of critical mass then I think users won't get excited about video calling.

Connected runs a blog following developments in the internet and mobile internet sectors. Connected has over 10 years experience in strategy consulting and business development, and has seen and lived through the highs, and the lows of the industry.

Based in London, Connected can be contacted on and his blog can be found at

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