Mobile phone operators hear handsets ring as never before

Mobile phone operators hear handsets ring as never before
Alex Mayhew-Smith Mobile phone use in Britain has never been more popular after Britain’s mobile phone operators signed up more new customers in the last three months than they did a year ago. Market leader Vodafone added over 200,000 new customers since Easter. Orange’s figure was a more modest 132,000 new mobile phone users, but both firms are signing up significantly more users now than a year ago and even when compared with the start of the year. “It confirms our view that mobile telephony will ultimately be adopted by over half the population in all countries of the developed world where we provide service,” said Chris Gent, chief executive of Vodafone. Cellnet, the second largest operator, saw new customer numbers fall in the last three months as did the smallest operator One2One, but both were ahead of last year’s figures. The UK currently has almost ten million mobile phone users and the operators confidently predict that the number will rise to around 28 million, representing half of the population, by 2005. The growth in mobile phone use is reflected by the position of Vodafone and Orange in the Business Week Global 1000 survey. Vodafone is currently ranked the 108th largest company in the world (against 248th in 1997) with a market value of $34bn. Orange is 482nd against 867th in last year’s world ranking. Orange is valued at $9bn.


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