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Cable needs to offer full suite of mobile services, says Virgin Media

Mobile telephony for cable is a “big scale game” that cable operators should enter wholeheartedly or not at all according to  Graeme Oxby, executive director, mobile and home phone, Virgin Media. The Liberty Global-owned UK cable operator is moving to a full MVNO offering as it ramps up its mobile offering.

Oxby, speaking on a panel session at the CTAM Europe EuroSummit in Barcelona, said that one key lesson for cable operators launching mobile services was not to launch only SIM-only offerings rather than a full range of post-paid offerings.

Challenges include creatign an operating model that works and balancing investment choices between mobile and the cable network, said Oxby.

“We don’t have to dominate the UK mobile phone market. However, we are interested in taking as big a share of household expenditure on mobile as we can,” said Oxby.

There is much reduced churn on the cable network as a result of offering mobile, said Oxby.

“The recession has been great for people like ourselves because quad-play is a value proposition,” said Oxby.
Oxby said video was an important part of the mobile experience and said that cable operators were helping deliver it by providing WiFi.

Speaking on the same panel, Ludolf Rasterhoff, COO at Maltese cable operator Melita, said his company is building WiFi across the entire Maltese territory and complemeting it with 3G. The aim of the company is to provide a unified experience for subscribers including giving access to content to subscribers wherever they are.

Melita had been forced to build its own mobile network after facing refusal by competitors Go and Malta Telecom to allow it to launch an MVNO. “Now that we have our network and we’re cash flow positive it’s a terrific asset,” he said.