The constant evolution of mobile
Vodafone Malta Chief Executive Officer Joseph C. Grioli
speaks to The Malta Financial and Business Times about how Maltas
first mobile telephony company is addressing the challenges 21st century
telecommunications in Malta
What areas has Vodafone recently stepped into to offer
its customers the latest in mobile technology?
Mobile telephony is constantly evolving. In December 2002 Vodafone Malta
launched MMS which added a new dimension to mobile telephony offering
customers the possibility to communicate with colour images, sound,
video and text.
Furthermore with the launch of GPRS which allows data transfer and a
continuous connection to the Internet customers are able to benefit
from a wider range of services, such as the mobile connect card which
allows connection to the Internet from almost any location.
Similar solutions are constantly being developed to improve user-experience.
Could you quantify the popularity of Vodafones relatively new
This new service immediately became very popular with Vodafone customers
and to date well over 7,000 customers are making use of it.
Does Vodafone have any future plans as far as the final liberalisation
of the Maltese telecommunications market is concerned?
We have committed to a significant investment to have the international
gateway up and running by July 04 so we can offer both a better
voice service (an international data service) and better prices to local
What consumer trends have you seen developing lately, in terms of the
types of packages being bought or services utilised?
Mobile usage is constantly increasing. Voice calls and text messages
are still very popular with mobile users, whilst MMS usage is also growing
significantly. Other services, such as the Mobile Connect Card are also
increasing in popularity with customers.
The last time we spoke, you made reference to the overwhelming use of
SMS in Malta as compared with that of our European neighbours. Has this
trend subsided, or has it increased?
SMS usage continued growing. Mobile customers who previously did not
make use of this service are now also availing themselves of this convenient
method of communication. We have also seen an increase in demand for
SMS services by the media. Most radio and television programmes are
making use of SMS to communicate with their audience.
How do you see the end consumer product developing over the short term,
in terms of pricing, products and services becoming available to the
wireless sector as a whole?
There is a strong element of data in the future growth of the mobile
communications sector. One can now also access the Internet from a mobile
phone. Soon people will also receive e-mail in their pockets. The demand
for data services is expected to increase significantly.
By contracting Alcatel to supply Vodafone Malta with a new submarine
link to Sicily, the company has, in a way, gone where government has
failed tread. What will this major development bring to Maltas
This project will link Vodafone Malta and Sicily with a high-capacity
fibre optic link and will increase data bandwidth availability whilst
increasing international voice capacity. It will strengthen Maltas
international telecommunications infrastructure and will also increase
the capacity for the projected future demand of the Internet and related