I read today that Wally Olins, described as the man who rebranded British Telecom as BT, has died at the age of 83. According to the report in the Guardian, Olins was also "an integral part" of the launch of the Orange brand, and was generally described as the "world's leading practitioner of branding and identity". Yet no brand is irreplaceable it seems, and indeed the European mobile brand landscape has been subtly changing in recent months.
German operator E-Plus this week unveiled a partnership with WhatsApp that provides one highly interesting example of how mobile operators and over-the-top messaging providers can work together in future.
Few will forget the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 that brought about the Fukushima nuclear disaster and killed thousands of people in Japan. The earthquake and tsunami also inflicted huge structural damage, and caused massive disruption to the country's communications networks. Rising from the rubble in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, a service called Line was established quickly and effectively to help employees at NHN Japan better communicate during this terrible time.
Orange may well have had an "oh no" moment when Vodafone revealed it had clinched a deal to buy Spanish broadband provider Ono for €7.2 billion, subject to the usual regulatory approvals. The purchase raises a number of questions for Orange's Spanish operations, not least with regard to its fixed-line strategy. It's still not fully clear what Orange will do about its fibre-to-the-home rollout plans. Orange and Vodafone had agreed to jointly roll out FTTH to up to 6 million homes, and initially committed to half that number between them
It's been some week in the European telecoms market as mobile operators scramble to consolidate and in the process buy up fixed assets to shore up their mobile businesses. First Vivendi opts for Altice's bid for SFR, and then Vodafone secures Ono. What could be next?
In the telecoms market, pressure has been placed on France's mobile operators to "buy French", meaning largely "buy Alcatel-Lucent" kit. Now, the "French" card is also being played by Altice, which finds it has to play up its French credentials as it seeks to achieve a merger between SFR and Numericable.
Another day, another announcement by an operator that it is trialling LTE Advanced services. BASE Belgium is the latest company to reveal that it is testing what is in fact "true" 4G, if you stick precisely to 3G and LTE guidelines. However, the focus is still too much on the advancements in speed, even though for many consumers figures such as "250 Mbps" are virtually meaningless.
The GSMA reported that more than 85,000 visitors from 201 countries attended the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which it said set another new record. In addition to the more than 80,000 attendees at MWC at Fira Gran Via, more than 5,000 people participated in a range of partner programmes at Fira Montjuïc.
The FierceWireless team will be exploring both LTE Advanced and Internet of Things in depth during our luncheon panel sessions that will be held directly across the street from the Fira Gran Via at the Fira Congress Hotel.