Hutchinson UK have been preparing for launch their 3G services in the UK for at least two years. Oscar Clark, who I originally met in the streaming (video) world, started working for them back then, lining up games companies to produce content for their network.
Hutchinson was originally planning to launch in 2002, but here we are in 2003 and they’re saying it will be March. I suspect it might be 3rd March 03, for the very obvious marketing reasons and if this is the case, how could they have not known previously?
The whole time they’ve been delaying launching, their exclusive deal for Premier league football footage has been ticking away – with none of their customers able to see the content. The cost of the deal was never publicised, but let’s not forget that this deal was signed in the days before ITV digital crashed, so it’s likely to have cost them a lot of cash.
The uphill path to profitability for the 3G operators has been well documented already and when this is combined with the difficulty I think their average consumer is going to find differentiating between the 3G handsets and offerings like the Orange SPV – apart from the £399/£130 price difference – it will be a ‘challenge’.