Vodafone Ditches 360

2:35 PM -- Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is giving up on providing its own branded Internet services as the operator has confirmed that it will shut down and drop the Vodafone 360 brand by the end of this year.

Vodafone launched 360 in September 2009, and it was designed to be a one-stop service that gathered and stored all of a customer's contacts, social networks and entertainment in one place. At the heart of it all was 360 People, an address book that synched contacts from mobile and social networks. (See Vodafone Live! Is Dead! and Vodafone Goes 360.)

Clearly, the project did not go well.

A Vodafone spokeswoman emailed the following statement to Light Reading Mobile:

    The People service experience didn't live up to the expectations we had of it, so after a review earlier this year we took the decision to close it in a phased approach. We're not ruling out providing cloud-type back up services in the future as we know that customers place high value on these.

    The 360 brand was about delivering the experience of integrated 360 services -- namely the People service with Shop, Music, social networks etc. That is something we are no longer pursuing, so it does not make sense to keep the brand.

Vodafone will continue to offer its Shop for apps and games as well as its Music service, but these will be branded separately.

When Vodafone unveiled 360, it was hailed as a bold move by a mobile operator to take back lost ground from the likes of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). The question now is whether Vodafone's failure signifies slim chances that mobile operators will be able to compete on Internet services, or that Vodafone's program was just badly executed. It's probably a bit of both, but at this point, I'm leaning toward the former -- it doesn't look good for operators. (See Operators Accept Support Act Role.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Anne Morris 12/5/2012 | 4:50:49 PM
re: Vodafone Ditches 360

It's a shame 360 didn't work out - Vodafone had been clearly phasing out the services from across the group as 360 has been gradually disappearing from its online stores. It was indeed a bold move and showed good initiative on the content front, so I hope this isn't the end of operator initiatives if they are to offer something other than what everyone else has...

Should operators continue to try these kinds of approaches to content, or is there no point...?

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