In the Cannes: Clips From 3GSM

CANNES, France -- 3GSM Congress -- Bonjour, mes amis! Yes, we are here on La Croisette, and the wireless community is feeling a bit more pleased with itself than last year. Companies are even spending money this year on evening entertainment, something that last year's 3GSM Congress schmoozathon was sadly lacking.

But as the sector says "Hello" to some boosted marketing and communications budgets, some folk here want to say "Goodbye" to one of 2002's hot industry acronyms: ARPU (average revenue per user). It may have been one of the indicators to watch for signs of operator success in the past 12 to 18 months, but at least one senior carrier executive here believes it's not a figure that tells us anything meaningful.

Douglas Li, CEO of Hong Kong operator SmarTone Mobile Communications Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0315), says the industry should be looking at AMPU (average margin per user) instead. "ARPU doesn't tell you about margins or profits. This focus on ARPU is crazy. We need to focus on incremental profitability instead," says Li.

Of course, you can call it APPU too, if you want (average profit per user), but that just doesn't have the same ring to it… [ed. note: isn't that the name of the guy who runs the Kwik-E-Mart on the Simpsons?]

Meanwhile, Unstrung sends hearty congratulations to Michael Bordelon, who is a potential record holder for the industry's longest job title. We like record breakers on this site (see Nokia's Fast Mover). His title [deep breath]: "Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Consumer Experience Planning and Software division, Personal Communications Sector, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). But you can call him "Mikey."

And no, we don't know what he does, and yes, he has a business card big enough to serve dinner on.

— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung
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