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The chief executive of the U.K.'s biggest mobile operator by revenue, Everything Everywhere Ltd., Wednesday called on mobile-phone makers to produce cheaper smartphones for consumers that can't afford more pricey devices.
Olaf Swantee said there are "a lot of devices all sitting at the high-end of the product range" such as Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and the Samsung Electronics Co.' (005930.SE) Galaxy range at the moment, but there are only a few at the lower-end of the market.
Swantee thinks it is an area that Nokia Corp. (NOK) and others could exploit, noting that Nokia has a very strong position in the mid-range device market. Early indications for the latest smartphone from Taiwan's HTC Corp. have been "positive", he told Dow Jones Newswires.
Everything Everywhere, which runs the Orange and T-Mobile mobile brands in the U.K., said Wednesday that it added 151,000 contract customers in the first quarter ended March 31 from a year earlier as management focus on adding more customers on contracts as they are more profitable and less likely to leave.
Nearly half of the operator's 27.2 million customers on contracts generated five times more average revenue per user than prepaid customers.
However, service revenue was down 2.5% to GBP1.50 billion in the first quarter due to the impact of regulated cuts to mobile termination rates.
Excluding MTR, service revenue was up 2.9% in the first-quarter due to solid customer demand for smartphones. That compares with a 1.2% rise in the fourth-quarter of 2011.
Everything Everywhere was created in July 2010 through the merger of the U.K. businesses of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE.XE) and France Telecom (FTE).
-By Lilly Vitorovich, Dow Jones Newswires; 44-0-207 842 9290; firstname.lastname@example.org