Change in working ways
There has been a shift in attitudes as companies see the major savings and efficiencies that come from using mobile technology to give increased flexibility to their workforces. Making a business ‘mobile’, or increasing ‘mobility’, is a trend that has been developing for a considerable amount of time. However, in the new year the pace will increase once again, particularly as public sector organisations are forced to consider new ways of working due to budget cuts. All of which will present opportunities to the mobile industry.
Buyouts to continue
BT’s move to acquire EE is just the start of what will be an industrywide period of consolidation. If the deal does go through in the new year, focus will shift to the operator’s rivals to make decisions on how they can protect their position. It’s critical that O2’s future is resolved and soon; the need for the brand to find a buyer intensifies by the day. For Vodafone, too, the stakes have been raised, and pressure to make a purchase has increased. Buyouts will occur at all levels of the industry and will be a major feature of 2015.
Bundling it up
In both the consumer and B2B spaces, mobile is being positioned as a product that can be sold alongside a number of other services. Whether that is the quad play bundle that is increasingly being pushed in the consumer space, or the converged ICT offerings that are becoming more prevalent in the B2B arena, mobile is increasingly becoming a part of a range of services. As with much of the change in the industry the issue will be not if, but when.
The dare to wear
With every passing year, expectations around wearables are raised. We’ve been told so many times that ‘this is the year that they take off’, yet the devices have as yet failed to go mainstream. This year there is a major difference as Apple launches its first wearable. Could this be the kick that wearables need to start to achieve wider adoption? Possibly. There will be many that hope that the entry of the Californian manufacturer is the jump-start wearable technology needs to gain widespread adoption.
The battle for below
Last year the likes of Microsoft and Motorola were joined by new players such as Karbonn and Kazam in targeting the UK’s mid to low end smartphone market. In 2015 this space is set to become even more competitive. Samsung and Sony both announced that they would be re-organising their ranges with an eye on this segment, upping the stakes yet further. It’s a moot point whether this market is actually as lucrative as manufacturers believe it will be. In the UK there is only so much more market penetration to be achieved.
Infrastructure in the UK
Infrastructure is important, it was a major reason behind BT’s decision to pursue the acquisition of EE over O2. In the new year the race to have the biggest and fastest coverage will only increase. EE will be expected to continue pushing forward in its quest for near total coverage, with the other networks needing to maintain the chase, particularly as the BT deal looms. At the other end of the spectrum, O2 will need to reassess its approach to this side of the business as it looks to attract a new buyer.
The dust settling on the retail revolution
The time is now for the mobile networks to prove that they can be successful on the high street. 2015 is the time when we will really get to see the effects of the Phones 4u collapse on the mobile retail space. All the major networks have sizeable retail portfolios but a mixed record of success in the area – but there will be no excuses this time around. The lack of independent phone retailers on the high street also brings the online domain into sharper focus. With 46% of the UK’s phones already bought using the internet it will be interesting to see whether a high street with fewer independents increases or decreases this trend.