& cplSiteName &

BT's Flat Fusion

Michelle Donegan
News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
5/30/2007
50%
50%

BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has not given up on its fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) service, Fusion, despite flat subscriber growth. The operator now has 40,000 Fusion customers, which is the same number of customers it had about two months ago. [Ed. note: George Bush would call that "staying the course."] (See Gateway Key to BT's Fusion Flop.)

With nearly two years of experience since BT first launched Fusion in 2005, BT says its FMC service, based on unlicensed mobile access (UMA) technology, is difficult to sell to consumers.

Steve Andrews, BT's group chief of mobility and convergence, says the reasons for the slow takeup are device availability and a complex marketing message: "It's not easy to explain [Fusion] to customers… it's not about cheap minutes."

Here's the value proposition as BT sees it: Fusion offers cheaper calls when you're at home and in range of your WiFi-enabled Home Hub, or within a BT Openzone WiFi hotspot and any of 13 wireless cities in the U.K. It delivers five times faster Internet access on the Home Hub compared to GPRS; and it provides better indoor coverage compared to other mobile services.

"It's not straightforward," says a BT spokesman. "We will be refining the marketing until it hits home with consumers."

BT improved the Fusion service at the beginning of this year by adding WiFi access, three new devices, and simplifying the tariffs. But these changes do not appear to have affected customer takeup. (See BT Adds WiFi to Fusion and BT Adds WiFi Devices.)

"It's difficult to explain to the customer the benefit of an FMC solution because to them it's about cost savings," says Mayur Sahni, senior analyst at Current Analysis . "But FMC is about value-added features, and that's hard to communicate to the consumer."

But complicated marketing messages have not hindered Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s Orange from attracting 125,000 customers in France to its Unik UMA-based FMC service in just six months. France Telecom has a couple of advantages over BT with a larger installed base of home gateways, called Livebox, as well as easier device acquisition because it is also a mobile operator. (See FT vs BT on FMC.)

On the device front, Andrews says BT will introduce 10 new dualmode WiFi/GSM devices in the next three to six months. In addition, BT will start to sell its devices at the U.K. retailer Phones 4U. The operator will also launch a prepaid version of the service.

"We're not happy with the number of customers we've got," says David Hughes, director of wireless broadband at BT, but adds that BT is not considering cancelling the service. (See DT Cancels FMC Service.)

The operator will certainly look to change its Fusion fortunes with new devices, retail distribution, and prepaid offers. In fact, BT says orders have picked up more recently. They are coming in at 1,000 per week, according to a spokesman.

"If the device is right and the packaging is right, then I don't see why [Fusion] won't take off," says Sahni at Current Analysis.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:07:41 PM
re: BT's Flat Fusion
The assertion that "it's not about cheap minutes" seems optimistic. Mobile phones already work just about everywhere in the UKGǪ so what's the point of Fusion?

No wonder it's hard to explain.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
Buy American: Will It Affect the Telecom Sector?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/21/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.