19 November 2003

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The constant evolution of mobile telephony

Vodafone Malta Chief Executive Officer Joseph C. Grioli speaks to The Malta Financial and Business Times about how Malta’s 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 Vodafone’s relatively new MMS service?
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 internet users.
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 Malta’s telecommunications consumer?
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 Malta’s international telecommunications infrastructure and will also increase the capacity for the projected future demand of the Internet and related services.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | E-mail