Light Reading

Branson's Main Man

Light Reading
LR Mobile Q+A
Light Reading
10/30/2002
50%
50%

Tom Alexander wanted to be a Formula One race driver when he was a lad. Although that ambition was never fulfilled, he is currently at the wheel of a fast-moving organization. As CEO of Virgin Mobile Telecoms Ltd. in the U.K., he is responsible for further expanding a mobile services business that has just reached 2 million customers in less than three years.

Four years ago, the names of Richard Branson and Virgin Group were associated with many things, but not with telephony. Virgin was already a major global brand, principally through its music and airline businesses. Not to mention the antics of the smiling, omnipresent, bearded Branson, frequently to be found in a hot air balloon and on the world's television screens.

Then Branson caught the mobile bug: Virgin Mobile launched in the U.K. in November 1999 as a 50-50 joint venture with mobile operator One2One, now T-Mobile (UK).

Since then, the Virgin Group has launched mobile services operations in three other territories. Virgin Mobile Australia, a joint venture with Cable & Wireless Optus (now SingTel Optus Pty. Ltd.) launched in October 2000, while the joint venture with SingTel in Singapore launched in October 2001 and then closed in July this year (see Virgin Reviews Singapore Plans and Dictionary Corner: Review).

Then the boy Branson proved he was still game for just about any publicity stunt when he dangled himself from a crane in New York City at the launch, also in July, of Virgin Mobile USA LLC, the joint venture with Sprint PCS (NYSE: PCS) (see Branson Targets US Teens and Virgin Gets Naked on MTV).

The Virgin Mobile businesses describe themselves as MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), as they behave like a mobile operator but without having a mobile network. Virgin uses its partners' infrastructure while keeping the services management and customer relationships under its own roof. While many people would say this does not qualify Virgin as an MVNO because the company does not have any of its own switches, the term has come into common use to describe the type of company Virgin has created through its relationships with network operator partners.

Tom Alexander joined Virgin Mobile UK in February 1999 as CEO, and has also been "instrumental" in the overseas launches. Before joining Virgin, he spent several years at BT Cellnet (now O2 Ltd. [NYSE: OOM]), where he became deputy commercial director. Before Cellnet he worked at Telia AB and LM Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICD) in Europe and the U.S.

I met him in Virgin Mobile's London offices, located in the heart of Leicester Square, and within easy smelling distance of Chinatown. Oh, the temptation. And the offices are above a pub. And Alexander has a goose that lays golden eggs. Actually, he's not quite that lucky, but the Chinatown and pub bits are true.

In this interview he talks about:

— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung
www.unstrung.com
(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
LRTV Custom TV
Quad Channel Modulator Driver with 46 Gbaud Capability from MACOM

1|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


MACOM's MAOM-003427 is the industry's first surface-mount modulator driver with 46 Gbaud capability to support next generation 200G and 400G applications.
LRTV Custom TV
Video Infographic: Validating Cisco's NFV Infrastructure

1|26|16   |   02:24   |   (1) comment


We all know that the network of the future will be virtual, but when will virtual become a reality? This video infographic covers the four key areas in which Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, tested Cisco's NFV infrastructure: performance, reliability, multi-service capabilities and single pane of glass management.

For the full report, see

Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Phil McKinney, CableLabs

1|22|16   |   13:36   |   (1) comment


At CES in Las Vegas, we met with Phil McKinney, CEO of CableLabs. Phil provides an update on the rollout of DOCSIS 3.1, his views on the future of open source and how consumer interest in virtual reality could affect network traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ericsson CTO on the Changing Telecom Market

1|21|16   |   10:26   |   (0) comments


At CES 2015, CTO of Ericsson, Ulf Ewaldsson, sits down with CEO of Light Reading, Steve Saunders, to discuss the changing telecom market, the new partnership with Cisco and the future of the telecom industry.
LRTV Interviews
Ireland's Data Dream

1|21|16   |   14:31   |   (0) comments


Host In Ireland president Gary Connolly tells Light Reading's Steve Saunders about the role Ireland is playing in hosting data for the world's largest organizations.
LRTV Custom TV
Brocade Keynote: Transitioning to the New IP

1|20|16   |   27:23   |   (0) comments


At 2020 Vision in Dublin, Andrew Coward, VP of Service Provider Strategy at Brocade, presents the transition to the New IP.
Infographics
Cisco's latest VNI numbers suggest the world will be using 366.8 exabytes of data on smartphones and Internet of Things devices, up from 44.2 exabytes, in 2015.
Hot Topics
Alphabet Is Serious About Google Fiber
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/1/2016
Did Juniper Pay 'Peanuts' for BTI?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 2/2/2016
Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/5/2016
How Data Center Outsourcing Fuels AT&T NetBond Growth
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 2/3/2016
3.5GHz Startup Gets $22M for Small Cells
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/2/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I like to think I know a fair bit about this next-gen-comms malarkey, but there's nothing like an interview with one of the ...
Animals with Phones
Happy Groundhogs for Technology Day! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.