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Leading European journalist: Q&A with Keith Dyer, Editor of Mobile Europe

January 14, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: Keith Dyer has moved on from Mobile Europe to launch his own venture, The Mobile Network. Find out more about The Mobile Network in blog post “Check out The Mobile Network (@TMNmag) – new publication for all telecoms enthusiasts by @keithdyer and @shr_ldn”

Keith Dyer

Q.  Tell us about yourself.

I’m a Scot who sounds English who has been writing about mobile telecoms, with a couple of years off for good behaviour, since 1998.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the titles you write for and their interest in mobile technology.

I only write for Mobile Europe. And our interest is in the business cases of mobile operators – so anything that helps them make or save money.

Q. What’s hot in mobiles this year?

Apart from the batteries, for operators everything to do with being profitable as they handle massively growing amounts of data and competitive threats. So network upgrades and network intelligence, making money from new services, finding a way to increase their relevance in the Android/Google/Apple world.

Q. How many mobile events do you attend each year?

That can depend but around 10-12. Most of them are probably in London, to be honest. Last year I can remember going to MWC, one on LTE in Amsterdam, Open Mobile Summit, FT Telecoms, Broadband Optimsation and a fair few other smaller conferences and events.

Q. How many MWCs have you been to? Any top tips for PRs or companies planning to engage with you there?

About 10. I try to consider all requests, but focus on those that offer something or somebody I couldn’t normally access – just to make best use of the time.

Q. What types of stories or companies are likely to attract your attention this year?

 

LTE and other network stories, customer engagement/personalisation stuff, QoS management and policy, and any new services or service launches that operators look well-placed to benefit from.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

 

Sometimes one or two a week, sometimes 3-4 a day.

Q. What’s the best way to pitch a story to you? Email? Phone? Twitter? By mail?

 

Email, Twitter, Phone. I like the idea of mail but I had to sack the butler who used to bring it to me on a silver tray, so that’s probably not an option any more.

Q. Who is worth listening to?

Everyone.

Q. What’s your favourite blog?

 

I don’t have one. See above, probably.

Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

The Titanium grill on my cricket helmet that saved my pretty nose last summer. And Spotify.

Q. What do you think is the most important development in mobiles to date?

On an overall level, the miracle of the interoperable, digital network. 20 years ago – nothing there. And now? “I want my LTE.” Don’t underestimate what an achievement that has been, and what investment is has required. Apart from that, clearly the recent smartphone boom is utterly changing the shape of the industry.

Q. What is the best piece of advice for companies pitching stories?

 

I guess just to know what the story is and to present it clearly – then make sure your spokesperson is on the same wavelength. Being promised “great insight” and then the spokesperson turns out to be a bland clam is frustrating. Also, just to break a taboo, I don’t mind the follow-up mail or call because I know I’m a poor responder to that initial mail.

Q. What was the best press trip you’ve ever been on? Worst? Why?

 

Best because it was my first: a trip during the 98 World Cup to Italy. My first introduction to that strange world of the press trip where impoverished (relatively) journos act out with five star entitlement. We sat under the night sky by the hotel pool in the Rome hills, watching England-Argentina on a big screen, being brought drink and food. Owen’s goal, Beckham’s red card, all of that. I’d been in the job about a week.

Worst – a BT trip to Dublin. The one and only time I have been the idiot that over-indulged the night before and missed the group bus to the conference in the morning. Lesson learnt. That trip was also notable for BT coming up with the cunning plan of inviting journos to a dealer conference and then banning them from speaking to the dealers.

Q.  What’s your favourite restaurant?

Ganapati, a South Indian restaurant in Peckham.

Q. Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

 

I’m no more than a dabbler. Twitter I’m on and find useful (@keithdyer). LinkedIn I am on and don’t use but feel I should. FB I’m not on at all. Sorry.

Q. Tell us something no-one knows about you? Do you have any unusual or unexpected hobbies/interests? Do you have a claim to fame?

 

I sung backing vocals, at the age of 11, on a record that required a parental advisory sticker. I literally can’t remember which band. It was some no-mark would-be punk band that decided they’d copy the choirboy bit on Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”. I’d say they sank without trace but don’t think they’d ever risen.

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