'

Brave new world for Virgin Mobile Asia

Charged with the responsibility for building the world’s first multi-national Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), Ross Cormack is the chief executive of Virgin Mobile Asia, the billion dollar JV between Virgin and SingTel. Having served on the Boards of mobile operators such as HKT Mobile in Hong Kong and M1 in Singapore, Cormack is confident that the way to success lies in helping customers get the best out of their mobile experience.

Ross Cormack Charged with the responsibility for building the world’s first multi-national Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), Ross Cormack is the chief executive of Virgin Mobile Asia, the billion dollar JV between Virgin and SingTel. Having served on the Boards of mobile operators such as HKT Mobile in Hong Kong and M1 in Singapore, Cormack is confident that the way to success lies in helping customers get the best out of their mobile experience.

As a newcomer to the local telecom scene, what role does Virgin Mobile see itself playing?
Our role is as an aggregator. We'll have strong relationships with our customers and know exactly what content and technology they'll want. So we'll be deeply into the technology we need to deliver this to our customers.

We won't deliver technology for the sake of it. Rest assured we're going to be at the forefront of changing the way that people enjoy music, entertainment and communication as 3G technology takes hold.

What do you think the market potential for wireless services such as location-based services and mobile commerce are?
They're enormous, particularly location based. Virgin is in a strong position because we believe in having a meaningful dialogue with customers. Because our relationship with customers is around the way they communicate, not around a monthly bill or a contract. Virgin will be more credible in music, games and entertainment than any of our competitors. So while they'll use location based services to know where their customers are. We'll know what they're doing when they're there!

Is Virgin Mobile planning to cash in on this trend?
Virgin Mobile won't cash in. We'll help our customers to. The infomediary model of e-commerce is perfect for Virgin. If we can provide customers with relevant offers and we're paid for that we'd pass some of that back to our customers.

What's the outlook for Virgin Telecom in the wireless mobile arena?
We prefer to think of what the outlook may be for our customers. They'll be able to be entertained, communicate and discover wherever they are and whenever they want to. It sounds pretty exciting for them so it will be great for us.

Any hints of what products or services that Asia PAcific can expect soon?
We're deep in planning that at the moment, but our theme is consistent. We're more interested in communication and fun than handsets and tariff plans. We'll only launch applications that our customers really want to use. We've got some exciting ideas - some of which are already crazes in our office, so watch out Singapore.

Why Asia? Is the market here more promising than those of Europe?
Asia Pacific includes some of the most sophisticated mobile markets in the world. Consumers here regard mobile as a lifestyle rather than simply a business tool or status symbol. That's why penetration is so high particularly in the major Asian cities.

It's also why the Virgin brand is so important delivering control back to consumers and constant innovation to meet fast changing consumer needs and of course making it all fun. And that's also why we are building the world's first multinational mobile company over the whole of this region in the next few years. With a pan-Asian footprint a Hong Kong to Singapore call could be a local call with Virgin Mobile.

Virgin Mobile operates as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) which means that we sell airtime from partner network operators such as SingTel and add value by packaging a unique mix of Virgin products and services with mobile.

We only spend our money on consumers whether in providing the Virgin wow or on learning consumer preferences to serve them better. We keep our costs focused so that we can provide the best value for money.

More about Top 20 Telecoms' Outlook.