HB Tell us about your work routine. Where will you live?
TRUJILLO Interestingly, I will live in both Paris and London.
HB You say "interestingly." I would say "exhaustingly."
TRUJILLO The modes of transportation are different than here. If you think about geographic distance between Paris and London, it's not the same as moving between Los Angeles and New York. They have high-speed trains between London and Paris. It's very convenient. You live in the city, you travel a short distance to the train station. You get a high-speed train through the Chunnel. And it's comfortable, you can work and spread out. So it's not as taxing as having to commute to an airport and wait and go through security, check in two hours in advance. That kind of stress isn't there. And secondly, traveling through the countryside, for an American in Europe, is interesting.
HB Of all the people France Telecom had on the table for this position, why did they choose you?
TRUJILLO A few reasons. First, the whole wireless industry around the world is at a crossroads. The first 20 years was a land grab. Twenty years ago, most people didn't have a cell phone, maybe even 10 years ago. Now essentially everybody has one. So the market has been penetrated. It's similar to the Homestead Act, where you could go out and claim land. Think about unclaimed market.
Until recently, the opportunities to penetrate the market were so great, companies played in that space. It was all about growth.
Guess what? Now around the world, the space is taken. Eighty percent penetration in some markets, 70 to 80 percent. So there's not a lot left. And those who don't have the service, either don't have the money or just won't use it, they don't have an interest. Now all of a sudden, the question is, "What do you do to grow?"
You're at a crossroads in terms of what's the next model. Given my CEO experience, that was an influencing factor. Also, I have a pretty good track record of creating value, and three, this notion that now it takes more innovation to achieve growth. I have some ideas on that, and I articulated them as a board member. I think that's what drove them to ask me to step in. The next few years will play out the next wave of how this [wireless] game gets played, how competitors compete and how customers get served.
HB I looked over the press clips on different [technical] systems - 2G and 3G. But now the big challenge is going to be continuing that growth, adding that value, and the cash flow. How do you balance that? You've got the integration with France Telecom, too.
TRUJILLO As an American in Europe, sometimes I use phrases from the U.S. that are so visual. One phrase I use is, "Now we have to walk and chew gum at the same time." For some, that's a challenge. As you say, we have to generate good financial performance - EBITDA growth, free cash generation. On the other hand, we have to generate top-line growth. How do you do both? That's the challenge for me. In the next few years, we'll show how it's done.
To your question about competing technologies, I think there are new technologies about to mature and be deployed. But as with all technologies, you have to do it smartly. And 3G is not a panacea for growth in the future, it's just another tool.
I have a phone here, and I want to show you how innovation is facilitated by simplicity. In all these devices today, there's a lot of processing power. There's more processing power in this [cell phone] than in the first Cray computer, by a large amount. Think about that, and what you use your cell phone for. You make calls and maybe do some short messaging, and in the U.S., that's about it. There's a thousand other things you could do, but you don't. Why? It's too complex. You have to read a manual, or someone has to train you for an hour or two.
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