What a roller coaster of a year 2012 has been, with the arrival of 4G perhaps the most significant development as EE was given the go-ahead to bring super-fast speeds to the UK, ahead of its rivals. This was a defining moment as mobile technology in the UK finally took a step forward.
2013 promises to see a maturing of that technology as more players enter the market after the conclusion of the spectrum auction. Although EE’s 4G permission was a step forward, it came at the end of a year that had already seen an explosion in the number of devices coming onto the market, particularly Android ones. At times the number being released was bewildering as manufacturers vied with each other to gain traction – almost threatening to confuse the consumers.
However, it was Samsung and Apple that continued to dominate the market as they supported their products with huge marketing resources – forcing others to find creative avenues to market newly launched devices.
This, no doubt, will continue to be the challenge for manufacturers in 2013 as they attempt to break Apple and Samsung’s stranglehold.
The year also saw a phenomenal growth in the unified comms sector, as traditional distributors and dealers embraced a wider range of IT propositions in a bid to provide their clients with a fuller package of services.
There were acquisitions galore, further consolidation and rebrandings.
Traditional mobile retailers began to enter the unified comms market – Fonehouse being a prime example. The launch of Windows Phone 8 devices was also a much welcome boost for the sector, providing new opportunities.
In terms of people, we saw some high-profile arrivals and exits. Carphone Warehouse UK MD Matt Stringer left as the retailer pledged to return to its roots.
Thorsten Heins was given the reins at RIM, the makers of BlackBerry, and LG had a new UK mobile boss as Andy Coughlin moved over from Samsung. However, it was Olaf Swantee who captured all the plaudits as he skilfully gained 4G advantage for EE.
2012 saw the industry continuing to move at breakneck speed – throwing up exciting opportunities and challenges, but at the same time throwing down the 4G technology gauntlet for 2013.