Memorandum submitted by One2One
1. THE MOBILE
One 2 One, the UK mobile communications network,
functions at the heart of the British mobile market, one of the
fastest growing sectors of the UK economy and one which it is
estimated contributed £5.3 billion and over 160,000 jobs
to the UK economy in 1999.
Mobile phones have become an essential component
of the British social fabric. The growth in mobile phone ownership
has outstripped even the most optimistic industry expectations
from a few years ago, with the latest figures showing that 71
per cent of British households use a mobile phone. There is also
a growing group of people who shun the use of fixed telephony
in favour of mobiles; 5 per cent of all UK homes only have a mobile
phone. The popularity of mobile telephony in Britain reached new
heights in the run-up to Christmas 2000, with One 2 One alone
selling 1.2 million phones in the final quarter of that year.
In addition to convenience, mobility and economic
and social advantages of mobile communications, the benefits in
terms of providing emergency contact and promoting personal safety
should not be overlooked.
2. CREATING WEALTH
Since its launch in September 1993, One 2 One
has grown rapidly in terms of turnover, customer base, market
share and employee numbers. The company's turnover reached £1.8
billion in 2000, representing an increase of 64 per cent on the
The One 2 One customer base, which had stood
at 4.157 million in January 2000, doubled during the course of
the year to over 8.3 million. Alongside the rise in the customer
base was an expansion in One 2 One's market share, from 14.8 per
cent in December 1998 to 20.8 per cent in December 2000.
In order to provide excellent service to its
fast-growing number of customers, One 2 One invests £3 million
every week in improving its customer service operations. Through
its contact centres, the company has brought employment opportunities
and economic regeneration to regional locations such as Doxford,
Dearne Valley, Greenock and Merthyr Tydfil.
3. THE FUTURE
The mobile industry is evolving quickly to deliver
exciting, new and innovative technologies to the marketplace.
The use of SMS (short message service) or text messages is already
incredibly popular, with over 100 million SMS calls sent monthly
by One 2 One customers by the end of 2000. The volume of text
messages on the One 2 One network increased from 38 million in
Q2 1999 to 280 million in Q2 2000.
The possibilities for the future use of mobile
technology are widespread. The implementation of GPRS (General
Packet Radio Service) this year will offer faster internet access,
which will further be improved upon by the introduction of third
generation (3G) technology. One 2 One invested over £4 billion
in a 3G licence for UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications
System) in May 2000.
Third generation mobile devices will offer a
range of data-based services including the internet, e-mail, information
services, advertising and transactions. Several studies have predicted
that more people will be connecting to the internet via their
mobiles than via computers by 2003. Besides facilitating e-commerce
and m-commerce, mobiles will be capable of delivering education
and information services. The government's vision of a "knowledge
economy" and of Britain as the best place to conduct e-commerce
will be considerably aided by the successful implementation of
third generation technology.
It is a fact that mobile technology can only
work if base stations (masts) are located near to the customers
wishing to access the network. The network also has to have the
capacity to handle the dramatically increasing volume of calls
being made by customers. In order to meet the present and future
demand for mobile communications, and to provide the quality of
network our customers expect, One 2 One is focusing on network
excellenceand is investing £2 million on the network
each working day to achieve this objective.
At present One 2 One's network covers 98 per
cent of the population of Great Britain, but given the increase
in customer numbers, it needs additional capacity to cope with
the sheer volume of voice and data traffic travelling on its network.
Figures show that the total number of calls the One 2 One network
handles every week increased from 235 million in 1999 to 285 million
in 2000. In addition to the increase in call numbers, the total
number of call minutes has grown from 1,478 million minutes in
July-September 1999 to 2,023 million minutes in the equivalent
period a year later.
In order to accommodate the demand for both
present and future mobile services, One 2 One and other mobile
operators need to develop base stations to ensure excellent coverage.
Put simply, mobile communications cannot work without a sufficient
network of base stations.
This issue of roll-out has, however, aroused
public concern, focusing on health and environmental matters,
and we believe these concerns must and can be reconciled with
providing a first-rate telecoms infrastructure for the UK.
One 2 One is unequivocal about its responsibility
to address the areas of concern. We believe that this can best
be achieved through better consultation and genuine dialogue with
local communities and planning authorities. To this end One 2
Established a Community Liaison Team
to engage with local communities on the siting of base stations.
Encouraged site-sharing, with approximately
two-thirds of the company's base stations being shared or on existing
Demonstrated our commitment to the
health and safety of the public by ensuring that all its base
stations comply with ICNIRP international guidelines.
Worked with, and fully supported,
the FEI programme to establish and implement generic commitments
to improve the way the industry informs and consults with stakeholders.
One 2 One notes that the Stewart Report (May
2000) concluded that the balance of evidence indicates that there
is no general health risk from base stations. However, it accepts
the precautionary approach as recommended by Stewart, and supports
both in principle and financially the further programme of research
being overseen by the government.
One 2 One is committed to acting in a socially
responsible way when dealing with stakeholders on its base station
roll-out. However, as One 2 One made clear in its response to
the DETR consultation on planning submitted in October 2000, the
company believes that a move to a full-planning system for base
stations is not the way to adequately address community concerns
and may even exacerbate them. This is because the planning process
is neither designed to address concerns such as health, nor provide
a mechanism for individuals to stop base station development.
Indeed, One 2 One has already experienced examples of community
concern over base stations secured by full-planning applications.
However, such a move would result in delay in
base station roll-out in the UK, as the element of timing certainty
inherent in the current system would no longer be present. This
would clearly have an impact on the timely delivery of 3G services.
Whilst not addressing community concern, a move to full-planning
would therefore have adverse economic effects, jeopardising Britain's
advance position in mobile communications as they continues to
develop into the future.
7 March 2001