Monday, September 19, 2005


The streets of London are virtually deserted, as everyone heads off to Fall VON, which this year is being held in Fenway Park due to overwhelming popular demand (just kidding, wish I were there, and hope everyone has a great time!). I'm here in a decidedly grey (and far from deserted) London, covering the Vodafone Investor Day today (can you sense the enthusiasm in my keystrokes?), and speaking at Carriers' World on Wednesday.

Anyway, on Saturday, I had the dubious pleasure of wandering around Wandsworth, South London, while my daughter attended a birthday party. Passing in front of the Southside shopping center, I saw this portable marketing point for NOW, the rebranded Netvigator service from PCCW (also a recycled brand from the Bubble era - remember PCCW's Network of the World?), which runs on IP Wireless' TD-CDMA solution.

Staff seemed to be doing a pretty brisk volume of enquiries, and were friendly and knowledgeable (this in itself was refreshing). The company is promising account activation within 24 hours, and pricing is relatively attractive at GBP18 for the 1Mbps product, GBP14 for 512k, and GBP10 for 256k. Additionally, the fact that they are marketing in Wandsworth is a pretty good indication that they are confident enough to move coverage into much denser areas than where they started out. Wandsworth is also a relatively affluent demographic, but one where I assume household broadband penetration is already quite high. My one nagging doubt is whether this time next year 1Mbps will really be "broadband" in the context of the UK market, and whether the price/throughput ratio will be compelling enough to convince people to churn off DSL or cable.

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