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
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
To keep up with consumers' increasing digital lifestyles, an IT system and operating model overhaul is required using a modern BSS, IES and analytics.
Hot Topics
FCC Plan Could Stymie Rural Broadband
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/3/2015
Eurobites: Nokia Seals HERE Sale
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 8/3/2015
Verizon Small Cells Ready to Rock in Chicago
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/31/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
I was pleasantly surprised when Ericsson recently agreed to let me interview its CEO, Hans Vestberg. Traditionally, mega-companies like Ericsson (or Cisco) have kept ...
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?