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CEO lifts the lid on EE merger in his book ‘The 4G Mobile Revolution’
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CEO lifts the lid on EE merger in his book ‘The 4G Mobile Revolution’

Posted by Zenobia HegdeSeptember 7, 2016

A book written by Olaf Swantee, the former CEO of EE “reveals the lessons to take away from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile that led The 4G Mobile Revolution.”

Readers of IoT Now will recognise the importance of 4G / LTE networks, which enable a wide range of data rates, the lowest being Narrowband IoT (NB‑IoT), which is a new way of communicating with “things” that transmit small amounts of data, over long periods, often in hard to reach places.

Olaf Swantee, the former CEO of EE

Olaf Swantee, the former CEO of EE

However, why would they be interested in the inside story of the creation, innovation and transformation at EE, which operates the UK’s fastest 4G network? That was the question I asked myself after agreeing to review this publication, says Bob Emmerson, freelance writer and telecoms industry observer.

I found the answer in the preface. The book focuses on “the importance of technology in every aspect of society. Technology has become the main agent of change that sits at the heart of many major modern business transformation.” Right now businesses of all types, shapes and sizes are transforming themselves in order to compete in the new economic order of smart connected products: “things”. Moreover, this is a fast, continuous challenge that only stops when the company loses its way. The author cites the way that Apple and Google ate Nokia’s lunch.

This approach is refreshingly different. It means that large sections of the book can be read from a generic, industry-neutral business perspective. There is no deep dive into 4G technology; no detailed descriptions of the way this complex Franco-German merger took place. Instead the focus is on the steps that were taken in order to transform two major mobile brands into a single company that promised ‘Everything Everywhere’ connectivity.

4G Mobile Revolution

4G Mobile Revolution

Two businesses with a combined value of £8.5 billion were transformed into one worth £12.5 billion five years later (up to 60% of major acquisitions underperform or fail). The book also provides practical leadership lessons for navigating change that anyone in any business can employ.

Olaf Swantee and his co-author Stuart Jackson narrate the EE story in a candid and insightful way. Moreover it’s an easy read.

There are eleven sections having judicious sub-sections and the tone of voice is concise and clear. Topics covered include:

  • Transformational leaders: The characteristics shared by the people who have led some of the most successful business transformations
  • Sleeping with the enemy: How to avoid the many pitfalls that cause 60% of joint ventures to fail
  • How to build a team that matches the ambition of your company
  • Creating a brand: Top tips to get it right
  • Sales is a science: How to transform a sales function to drive your business forward
Stuart Jackson

Stuart Jackson

The book’s Afterword suggests that when we truly boil it down, there are three key elements needed to deliver a successful transformation. Purpose: What is the purpose of your business? Process: the performance management framework. And People, who are the business’ soul. Having the right people in the right place at the right time is absolutely essential in driving every business success.

All in all it’s an informative, easy read. “The 4G Mobile Revolution – Creation, innovation and transformation at EE” is published by Kogan Page, priced £19.99. Proceeds from the book will go to a charity selected by EE staff.

The book has been reviewed by Bob Emmerson, freelance writer and telecoms industry observer

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Zenobia Hegde

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