Last month I had an interesting chat with the general manager of O2's enterprise division in the UK. He claimed O2 hadn't lost a single corporate customer to EE, despite its rivals' attempts to lure them away with the promise of 4G.
I was unsure how true this could be as I felt sure some enterprises liked the idea of the faster mobile connectivity for their workers on the move. However, with EE keeping quiet about the number of large companies it had signed up, there seemed to be little proof to the contrary.
Today, EE's CEO Olaf Swantee was in London to hold a press conference, announcing EE would be doubling its 4G speeds for 10 cities in the coming months and raise them across its network by the time it reaches its coverage goal of 98% - basically, by the end of 2014.
During the presentation, a slide caught my eye that seemed to finally commit to a number of large enterprise customers, making the claim it had signed up over 1,000.
I asked Swantee if this was contracted customers or included people EE had approached or were in negotiations with. His answer surprised me...
"Those are over a thousand corporate connections and they are signed, done and using the service."
So, hang on, if we are talking users rather than companies, one large enterprise alone could have easily signed a contract for 1,000 employees, or even if we are generous, two or three firms? Hardly sounds like big numbers to me.
Like a shot one of EE's rather talented PRs swooped in and said the number actually included small and medium business customers, as well as large enterprises - SMB numbers hadn't been revealed in the initial presentation and were clumped in with the consumers, only stating "one in four new consumer and SMB customers were choosing 4G."
There was a lot of looks of confusion, both from the press, the execs and the PR team of which was the right figure. Remember, the choices are:
A) Over 1,000 large enterprise customers
B) Over 1,000 'corporate connections' or users
C) Over 1,000 SMB and enterprise customers
It has been two hours since the event now and said talented PR is trying to hunt down the right answer. But one cannot help but conclude from this performance that either large enterprises are not a priority for EE or they do not have massive interest in moving to 4G. Perhaps O2's general manager was right...
As soon as I get sent the answer, I will let you know.
Three days down the line and I have had an update from EE. Apparently there are 1,000 corporate customer contracts but these include any company with 50 or more employees - so medium businesses as well.
We have been promised an update on figures for both corporate and small business contracts in the coming weeks.
Nice to see EE are finally taking this area of their business a bit more seriously...