O2 'winning market share every week,' claims CEO

With its exclusive deals with Apple and now Palm, O2 claims it is taking market share away from its competitors despite threats that Apple looks likely to offer the iPhone to other operators and the Palm Pre exclusive only lasts for six months.

This boast from O2 might have been triggered by the possibility that Vodafone or Orange could acquire T-Mobile UK and overtake O2's present market leadership. However, the company remains confident that further exclusive deals for the Toshiba TG01 and Samsung i7500 or Galaxy will keep it ahead of the competition. The company's aggressive approach to SIM-only and mobile broadband offers is also attracting consumers away from other UK operators.

O2 UK's CEO, Ronan Dunne, has lambasted T-Mobile as lacking "critical mass", adding: "My day-to-day focus, unequivocally, is kicking the hell out of the competition in the UK and giving a great experience to the customers."

The company expects to increase its mobile revenues this year, compared to 2008, despite the economic downturn and a market that will be flat overall. In Q1/09, O2 was the only one of the big four UK operators to report an increase in revenues in Q1/09, according to Enders Analysis--though it says this growth is now slowing.

While the Palm Pre will not ship until later this year, with October being suggested as the most likely month, Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefonica Europe, said that O2 was fast becoming the home of the smartphone, "with the addition of the hotly anticipated Palm Pre to our already extensive portfolio."

For more on this story:
Financial Times

Related stories:
SIM-only: Handset vendors must react, says O2 CEO
Network sharing: O2 and Vodafone see immediate benefits
O2 mobile payments trial proves popular, but no deployment planned
SIM-only and iPhone boost O2 subscriber numbers

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