1a Interview: Berthold Thoma, CEO, Hutchison AustriaHutchison Austria’s CEO Berthold Thoma is known to be extremely talkative when faced with journalists – the interview below has him talking about a few interesting things.

Before diving into the (translated) interview, let me give you some background information from other sources: this carrier has always invested heavily into smartphones due to their multimedia features. Originally being deep in Microsoft’s camp, they have since moved over to the S60 camp (which makes up for about 30% of the offered handset models). The carrier is known for its great service at affordable prices – here we go:

The Hutchison Group was the first to offer free roaming all over its network. Why that?
At Hutchison’s, we are convinced that having cheap data access all over the world is an integral part of information society. We have realized thiis vision inside our group via the 3LikeHome service.

Of course, there is a business plan behind all of that. Our research has shown that cheap roaming is in demand. Lowering prices causes usage to explode: in the first year, voice usage in 3likehome networks increased by 427 percent, with data usage being multiplied by a factor of 90.

Do you think that we will see further carrier mergers?
The trend has already started. Three of the four Austrian carrieirs are already in international networks, which will consolidate even more on a long term.

Where do you see Windows Mobile in two years?
We currently sell three Windows Mobile handsets. Our business customers love the Exchange integration, and Microsoft furthermore does a great job integrating Live into the OS.

I predict that WM’s market share will raise over the next two years. The main risk IMHO is Android…if it continues to fare as well as it did, it could become a significant competitor.

What do you think about S60
S60 has had some problems staying in line with other OS’s, especially when apps and the web browser are concerned. I wonder which future updates Nokia will deploy in order to remain competitive…

The iPhone is said to dominate the handset market. Do you think that Apple can keep this position?
Apple has caused movement in the handset market, but has since maxed out at a 13 percent smartphone market share…which is not something I call dominance.
Nevertheless: customers benefit from every movement on the market which leads to better handsets.

What do you think about picocells?
In general, these do not pay off financially. However, I can envision them being deployed to cover hot spots like shopping centres….

Will VoIP replace classic voice calls?
VoIP definitely is interesting, especially for customers who are into international calls. Teens furthermore love Skype. Unlike most other carriers, we want to help our customers realize the benefits of these services and thus provide pre-bundled Skype with some of our handsets.

As for VoIP replacing classic calls: unlikely.

Related posts:

  1. Hutchison Austria on Roaming
  2. Berthold Thoma dead – RIP
  3. Use a Palm Pre on Hutchison – the how-to
  4. Hutchison Austria rolls out new unlimited data plan
  5. PSA for Austrians: A1 (and 3) have network outages

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