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CEBIT-2007: Carriers waste money on showcase?

It would seem that from the practicality standpoint, carriers booth have a little sense, a hundred or two of new subscribers aside. But from the position of image it is a kind of must-do, clients just wont accept absence of a carrier from the exhibition. Though renting and decorating a quarter hectare of exhibition area are not the cheapest affairs out there, not to mention salaries to booth-men, promo-events and other things of this kind.

Freenet is one of Germanys largest DSL-operators: cable connection, IP-telephony, television, content-based serves etc., and as it seem a virtual mobile operator as well, since its official page features price-list for communication services. I couldnt dig deeper, though, as at the exhibition (and the web-page as well) all information was provided only in German. But the area it occupied was comparable with the size of Russias united booth what a modest DSL-operator and content-provider it is. Maybe I shouldnt have written about Freenet, but I couldnt resist their well-organized and designed booth. Virtual zones (Mail, Telephony, Mobile Music etc.) are clearly outlined on the top and at the bottom, at that there are no sharp edges, barriers or partitions space there was open for everyone.

During the entire CEBITs time this carriers booth didnt loose even a touch of its popularity with visitors only here one could always get some coffee for free and a smile for good measure. The coffee-spots were constantly occupied by thrifty Germans, and while drinking still warm coffee the rest of visitors were studying the carriers advertising. Nobody forced us to read it or kept us at the booth longer than would like, everything was very natural. By the way, speaking of force two girls in police caps and handcuffs readily demonstrated this high-tech device to everyone interested. Indirect gain of the carrier from this spectacular show increase in VAS consumption at the booth they not only wrote and told everybody about extra services, but demonstrated them in action as well. Original design of the booth is certainly a plus, if only we could call a replica of the last years booth this way.

Merged booth of Deutsche Telecom and T-Moblie the same giant areas, showcase of services, convergent telecom-solutions and so on. I was really amused by pedlars coursing to and fro with questionnaires and applications for subscription; I never saw this at other booths.

Incidentally, this very interesting and positive experience should be adopted by our local carriers as well. Thankfully, it is spring now, so they can spread pedlars all over the citys most crowded places. Never mind that people dont carry IDs on a walk every third subscriber has already a number of SIM-cards attached and there are places where they can take ID data from anyway.

This time Vodafone came up with tons of artificial flowers at its booth and a kind of hiking trail going through the stands. Thats pretty much about it though, the rest of the contents included services description, new models of handsets and girls promoting the power of mobile Internet and offering help in setting up Wap-GPRS.

However people werent so fond of the magic world of mobile Internet they liked the stands with handsets much more, as where else they could play around with phones. And of course get yet another neck-strap, which were given away at just about every booth, sometimes even defective ones. I wonder, why people stock up with such number of straps?

Of the Russian top three carriers, we spotted only Megafon, not in a booth of its own, though, but rather as a part of the Russian delegations hall. Frankly, I stumbled upon Megafons booth by an accident after third visit to the Russian booth, and then located the stand I actually needed only with the help of the booth-men. The labyrinth our designers built back there was quite something.

Nevertheless a stand-alone booth of a Georgian telecom operator dealing with railways looks quite fresh and offbeat. Huge image of a multicolor palm slightly perplexed, yet undoubtedly attracted attention of the visitors.

Robowatch Technologies GmbH, Germany, brought to CEBIT a real robo-scout OFRO, which was all the rage among kids. An informative video-demonstration of these useful things can be found on the makers page (English version), as well as their specifications. All in all it is a great all-weather robot, that wont work in Russia, though (refuses to move at -15 and colder). In return it is a stand-alone unit that comes equipped with a bevy of connectivity options like any of the todays smartphones:  GSM, GPRS, UMTS, WLAN.

Sergey Potresov (sergey.potresov@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 30 March 2007

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