File this under “a bit rich”. A couple of months after reportedly saying Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) will “absolutely” get another crack at carrying the iPhone somewhere in the world, CEO Arun Sarin now tells FT.com the handset is “a pretty poor experience”.
Did he mean the device many have credited with having the slickest user interface of all, or was the “poor experience” losing out to O2 in the contest to sell iPhone in the UK? Given Vodafone apparently pulled out because of the big subsidies and rev shares commanded by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) (a reported 40 percent of network data revenues), we’ll have to see whether that experience will be O2’s. Vodafone appears to have laid the whole episode to rest, instead concentrating on pushing music via its deal to bundle Omnifone’s all-you-can-eat MusicStation app.
– Triple-play: Elsewhere in the interview, Sarin repeats Vodafone “will not join the ranks of ‘triple-play’ operators who offer pay-television as well as fixed-line broadband and telephony”, instead concentrating on growth in less competitive, emerging markets.
– Web pipes: And, despite burgeoning mobile web competition, Sarin’s Vodafone won’t be “reduced to a mere pipe”. It has a “unique gift”, Sarin said: “The simple fact that we have the customer and billing relationship is a hugely powerful thing that nobody can take away from us. Whoever comes into the marketplace is going to have to work through us.”