Vodafone Live represents an attempt to claw back some of the initiative from handset manufacturers, and to offer product and services that add to revenue. We look at the early evidence from the UK about the design of this package, its consumer appeal and the likely impact on ARPU. Vodafone is launching this new campaign with a Java-enabled camera phone from Sharp. It is putting tens of millions of pounds behind Live, apparently targeting the product at young urban males, a demographic group that has become very loyal to Nokia. The first phone is attractive and well featured, but we question whether it is of sufficiently general appeal significantly to influence overall ARPU in European markets, particularly in light of the low levels of interest we are finding in our consumer research on camera phones.
Our most recent survey of handset purchase intentions shows a dramatic increase in interest in buying a new phone among UK adults. 39% of handset owners claim an intention to purchase in the next year, compared to about 30% in the last three bi-monthly surveys.