Tech Transformers

When it comes to smartphones, customers are looking for simplicity: EE CEO

Customers are looking for simplicity: EE CEO

The latest smartphones allow consumers to stay up-to-date and connected with almost everything at the touch of a button, yet according to the chief executive of a leading U.K. mobile network operator, even the most-connected of mobile users want simplicity at times.

"We're definitely seeing demand from the most-connected customers that they want some simplicity in a device and be able to switch off at times," EE CEO Marc Allera told CNBC Monday, adding that there may be some consumers that want a separate phone that just does the basics.

Speaking from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Allera is just one of many tech leaders at the conference currently exploring and delving deep into what is and what will be moving the mobile industry going forward.

One of the biggest announcements to come from the event so far hasn't been about new technology however.

On Sunday, HMD Global – the Finnish start-up who acquired the intellectual property required to make phones from Nokia back in 2016 – announced that not only was it launching three new android smartphones, but that it was also bringing back the simpler, more classical device: the Nokia 3310.

A role for Nokia in today's market

"Reborn with a modern twist on design", the iconic Nokia 3310 is expected to appeal to a range of consumers with the company saying it will have 22-hour talk time and will last a month when put on standby mode.

Speaking to CNBC at the conference, HMD Global's CEO Arto Nummela said consumers had been asking for the device to return, adding that he believed it would draw in a new generation of Nokia fans as well as old.

Fans were asking for the Nokia 3310: HMD CEO

When asked about his thoughts on the Nokia brand and the 3310 comeback, EE's CEO said there was definitely a role for the brand in today's market.

"(Nokia) is a well-known brand, they have a lot of credibility, a lot of customers have a good nostalgia for that brand and I think there's a place for them at the table, definitely."

For EE itself, the network operator is at the conference to explore new network technologies that can help rollout its network faster to customers in the U.K., and make customer experience better as new technologies evolve.

"We have a huge focus on ensuring we maintain our network leadership position," Allera told CNBC.

"In the U.K. we have a network now that is building out to 95 percent geographic coverage of the U.K., so pretty much ubiquitous coverage up and down the country and we focus on geographic coverage first and foremost."

"So that means customers can use their network wherever they go and I think in a connected world that becomes really important for us."

—CNBC's Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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