3 Mobile has passed over adding HTC's Android-based Dream handset to its range, with chief executive Nigel Dews saying today the device wasn't the mobile carrier's cup of tea.
(Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au )
"We've been evaluating Android handsets as they come up, the latest of which was the Dream," he said today at the company's results for the year to 31 December. "We've decided not to range that."
"You don't range a handset because it has a particular software platform. You range a handset because at its price point it's adding significant value to customers' experience over and above what other handsets you've got."
"HTC's doing some great stuff, it just wasn't our cup of tea," the executive added. He admitted that lots of Android handsets had caught his fancy, but wouldn't name them, because the company would be in negotiations at a global or local level, but said that price was always a consideration.
One advantage of Android, Dews thought, was that it had sparked off a lot of innovation in the handset market, with a lot of "really decent" mid-priced handsets coming out. Dews singled out Samsung's offerings for praise and pointed out that Nokia's touch handsets were on the way.
"I wouldn't get sort of excited about missing one or other device. There are always ways to grow, and I think we've proven that in the second half, given that we didn't have the iPhone," Dews said.
The company grew its customer base by 29 per cent over the year, adding 458,000 to rise above two million. Mobile broadband subscriber numbers grew 167 per cent to 526,000. Revenue jumped from $1.318 billion in 2007 to $1.623 billion in 2008, an increase of 23.1 per cent. The net loss after tax reduced from $285.1 million to $163.1 million.
Speaking on the impending merger with Vodafone, Dews said that there had been no decisions on which set of IT systems the companies would migrate to and there would likely be none until the merger had been approved by shareholders and the ACCC.
3 has submitted an 80-page document to the ACCC, according to the CEO, and had been in conversation with the commission, but had not received any indication whether the commission would approve the merger or not. He expected a wait of at least two months before any decision was made.
An analyst voiced scepticism that 3 would thrive if the merger did not go ahead, but Dews believed the company had options, although he admitted it would be a hard slog.
Dews also soothed customers who had been worried about 3's brand. "Exactly what we do with the brands is not finalised, but I can tell you now that the 3 brand will be around for quite some time yet," he said. "It's been very strong in the market place and there's no reason for that not to continue." He agreed that a dual-brand set-up such as that practised by Virgin and Optus was one possibility going forward.