After all the anticipation, the World Cup is now ? nally underway in Brazil. The sun is shining and the nation is ready for a massive dose of the football feel-good factor. Retail experts believe we will spend billions over the next few weeks on everything from technology to tuck, trainers to our favourite tipples. The mobile industry is out to grab its fare share of the spoils and it should ?nd supporters of all persuasions in the mood. Ofcom has tipped this to be the most mobile World Cup ever, as soccer fans reach for their smartphones or tablets and take advantage of 4G and Wi-Fi hotspots to catch up with games – many of which will kick off during the evening commute. So who, in mobile, will be the winners? We have the answers waiting for you in our cut out and keep guide…
GROUP A - Networks
The networks have been forced to cap roaming charges for usage within Europe, but there are no limits for other overseas destinations, including Brazil. So which big player would be best for football fans going abroad
EE is the of?cial network of the England team. Customers can buy a data bundle, although it will cost a fortune. Brazil is in EE’s ‘D Zone’ list of countries, with 10MB of data costing a massive £50, which is more than a little pricy, or 50MB for £195. Calls are £1.50 a minute, and a regular text is 50p. Hugely disappointing from EE, who we expected to have more special deals or tariffs for fans during the games.O2If you’re on O2 you can buy 200MB of data to use in Brazil for £120. Making a call costs £1.50 per minute while sending a text costs 40p. People who don’t buy O2’s Data Abroad Bolt On for £120 will pay the standard network charge of £6 per MB capped at £40 (50MB), although this cap can be lifted. However, customers can also make and receive calls over Wi-Fi using O2’s TU Go app.
Three has a special promotion for roaming in Brazil that is running until 31 July, with £1/minute to make calls and 62.5p/minute to receive calls. Texts are 17.5p and data is £1.50 per MB. The network will be charging a ? at rate of £6 per MB for data, which isn’t great. Calling home to the UK from Rio will cost you £2 per minute. A text message will cost 35p.
Vodafone is comparatively reasonable. Although making a call costs £1.65, sending a text costs 35p.
Data is charged at £3 per MB for up to 5MB and then £15 for every 5MB after.You can also buy a Vodafone Data Traveller package, which gives you 25MB every day for £5 a day. Vodafone caps data roaming costs at £42.50 unless you ask it to remove the cap before you travel.
GROUP WINNER: VODAFONE
Although O2 comes out on top with calls abroad, for which it undoubtedly receives man of the match, data is the important thing during this World Cup. Whether it’s uploading a sel?ie of yourself in Rio, or watching match highlights on your handset, Vodafone is the best network for the World Cup.
GROUP B - Manufacturers
Up to a third of UK football fans will be put off watching the World Cup on their handheld devices due to poor video quality. All major manufacturers have phones with great specs that would be ideal for watching football on the go or as a second screen, but which manufacturer is putting the most effort in to capitalise on the games?
Nokia is very much aware that football is in the public psyche at the moment, but it is being careful not to do anything speci?cally with the World Cup as it is not an official sponsor. Nokia’s Lumia range is currently being promoted as ‘smartphones with a kick’. Their rising star is their Lumia 630, which features a digital TV tuner and a built-in digital TV signal receiver. It is perfect for watching all the action and rooting for your favourite national team. Windows Phone has released a number of football apps, including the pretty straight forwardly titled ‘World Cup Live Free’. It allows football fans to watch ongoing FIFA World Cup 2014 matches live on their phone for free. Another app, ‘Sporting Mouth’, allows fans to make sports predictions against friends for bragging rights, prizes and stakes other than money. It could be a handy way of deciding who buys the beers after the game.
Samsung signed a deal with the English Football Association last month to become the of? cial consumer electronics and smartphone supplier to the England Team. Each player will be sporting a Samsung Galaxy S5 and other gadgets. Samsung highlighted the pre-loaded health features on the device as being bene? cial to the team, including the heart rate monitor, with the deal coming just weeks before the World Cup. But wait, what’s that sound? It’s not a vuvuzela – it’s Samsung’s ? ashy new ad for it’s Galaxy 11, a team of well-known football players. Nice touch!
As an of?cial sponsor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Sony has a lot going on. It has teamed up with Carphone Warehouse to create ‘Brazil Vs’, a content series that will see World Cup veteran Alan Brazil (Scotland) take on the world… in Brazil. Alan will ? lm multiple ‘webisodes’ of challenges proposed by fans on his Sony Xperia Z2. Sony has also just launched the Sony Football Challenge on the Xperia lounge where fans can follow the FIFA World Cup and predict game results and score points for correct predictions. Sony also has partnerships with TalkSPORT and ITV which include competitions and direct interaction with fans via social media.
The new LG G3, with its amazing 5.5-inch Quad HD display - with 538ppi and four times the resolution of HD - would be perfect to watch the footie on. The only problem is that it isn’t available until the final stages of the tournament. Is LG oblivious to the fact the tournament is a big opportunity to cash-in? With no major ad campaign and no promotions, LG have effectively sat out of the ?rst round of the tournament. Automatic relegation!
GROUP WINNER: SONY
Being the of?cial sponsor, Sony was the favourite to win and there are no surprises here. Stiff competition came in the form of Samsung and its stellar ad campaign - it will remain a hopeful. Football fans will be hard pressed to ignore the Sony brand during the tournament.
GROUP C - Retailers
Retailers have a lot to take advantage of during the games. Here’s how they line up.
With every contract purchase of a Sony 4G device, including tablets, Carphone customers will receive a free retro souvenir shirt and of?cial World Cup match replica ball. With other Sony purchases customers will receive a match replica ball. Carphone also has Alan Brazil in its starting team, which is a huge advantage. His promotional videos will be available through Carphone social platforms. Carphone is also giving away shirts, balls and handsets in line with social listening and key games.
Again, it’s the Sony tie-ups that stand out. When a customer buys a Sony Xperia E1, M2 or Z2 they receive an of?cial match replica ball. Purchasers of other Sony Xperia devices have a chance to win a place at the World Cup ?nal.
Fonehouse is pushing 3G and 4G handsets across a number of promotions running during the World Cup, including ‘World Cup Bundle’ and ‘World Cup Winning Deal’. The bundle deal gives customers a free Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 phone, and a free tablet for as little at £23.99 per month, across T-Mobile, Orange, EE and Vodafone.The winning deal, on the other hand, gives customers a free Acer Liquid Z3 phone and a free Acer tablet for £16 per month. Both deals will end on 1 July when a new and cheaper set of World Cup promotions will be on offer.
Tesco is running a number of competitions during the World Cup. Customers can win a 55” TV or a tablet when they buy the new Sony Xperia Z2. Although these deals are not exclusively associated with the tournament, the connection cannot be missed in the way the deal is advertised – with a football pitch and ball!
The new Tesco Calling Card app is free from Tesco making it cheaper and easier to keep in touch with friends abroad. Again, not speci?cally connected to the World Cup, the app could be used by football fans travelling to Brazil to make calls via Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G, saving local minutes, and free app to app calls and messages.
GROUP WINNER: CARPHONE WAREHOUSE
As in football, it’s the big spenders in mobile who take the prize. Carphone is unbeatable in this tournament, although Fonehouse came in a close second.