The 4G Mobile Revolution

Olaf Swantee & Stuart Jackson

Published by

Kogan Page
ISBN

978-0749479398

RRP £19.99
Reviewed by Jim McGhie CEng MBCS CITP
Score

8 out of 10

Olaf Swantee & Stuart Jackson’s book is not about the advances in mobile communications technology. Instead it details the drivers behind the managerial ambition and determination to merge two existing independent mobile communications service providers whilst simultaneously implementing the UK’s first superfast mobile network.

This well written book maps out the ups and downs of the application of change in a technology-driven organisation. It elaborates on the successful use of well-known key managerial principles that come into play during a company merger to create a sustainable technology business.

The first chapter deals with the leadership styles employed by well known business leaders who have influenced the authors’ thinking and approach. It also provides a brief insight into the UK telecoms market.

The book then moves on to consider the evolution of the organisations that eventually became Everything Everywhere (EE). This new organisation was formed from the joint venture of two existing organisations, T-Mobile and Orange. It considers how the two brands were integrated and managed in a way that ensured they continued to trade and enjoy market share right up to the introduction of EE.

The next two chapters detail how the new management team required to run EE was assembled before moving on to consider the management objectives and planning that was necessary to enable EE to operate in the as yet untried 4G mobile environment. The authors make it clear that the senior management were aware that the challenges they faced in order to be successful went far beyond that of a straightforward brand and technology merger. The subsequent chapters deal with the way in which the new EE brand was built and launched in the UK and how a sales ethos was created.

The final chapter reflects on how people, purpose and process fit together and can be managed successfully during a company merger and beyond.

It is already well-documented that 40-70% joint ventures and mergers fail. The combined worth of Orange and T-Mobile at the start of the book was some £8.5 billion. The fact that the combined organisation was subsequently sold to British Telecom some five years later for over £12.5 billion is a demonstration of the success of the merger.

I enjoyed the book and the insight it provides into the management thinking during the build up to the merger and beyond. I would like to have seen a bit more information provided on the regulatory and technical challenges which were overcome to take the organisation to where it is today. I suspect however that commercial confidentiality precluded too much of this information being included in what was an otherwise excellent management textbook. I award the book 8 out of 10 for overall content and the insight it provides into executive thinking.

Further information: Kogan Page

November 2017