Last week Nokia launched its first 3G handset, the 6650. Or did it? Although the size, weight and price initially looked impressive, the handset has not really been launched (not until H1 2003), and technically it is not really 3G (the data rates are too slow). By the time the handset is actually widely available to consumers, GSM-only handsets will have a much better feature/price combination, with a 3G handset only appealing to laptop users who would probably prefer a data card anyway. This is good news for the operators - they can comfortably delay potentially expensive 3G roll-outs safe in the knowledge that competitors will not gain any advantage by being first to market with the current generation of handsets.
This note looks at what has happened to NTL in the past year, and the prospects for 2003-2004. It emerges from a period of introspection to face stronger competition than ever. Sky has won the battle for digital TV. Although NTL has been successful in broadband this year, BT has serious plans for this market.