2007: In review
As the year draws to a close, we take a look back at what made the headlines in Mobile over the last twelve months.
From floods to cashback, from singing salesmen to axed dealers, it's been a busy year in the mobile industry.
5th - It Asda be Voda
12th - Orange gets rid of 20 dealers
19th - 3 pulls out of Phones, 4u and Carphone Warehouse
26th - Vodafone hits disties for box breaking
With the season of goodwill out of the way, any lingering Christmas cheer soon disappeared as Vodafone got tough on box breaking. The operator severed ties with a prepay distributor and warned the rest that they could be hit with clawbacks of £25 per box-broken handset. The grim start to the year for the retailers continued as 3 pulled back from Phones 4u and Carphone Warehouse, and Orange axed 20 of its dealers. Meanwhile, 20:20 got a new MD as Peter Hubbard replaced Rod Millar.
9th - Tech Data and Brightstar in 50/50 deal
9th - Gareth Jones joins EBS
16th - Orange and Vodafone agree on network
23rd - Ron Garriques leaves Motorola to join Dell
IT giant Tech Data became Brightstar’s European
partner as global distribution moved a step closer to reality, and Orange and Vodafone announced that, despite their rivalry, they would share networks. Gareth Jones moved to EBS and Ron Garriques quit Motorola to join Dell. Pink Dell laptops appeared not long after.
2nd - John Durkan takes COO role at Carphone
9th - Christina Meade joins Brightstar
9th - DSG and Carphone launch TechGuys and Geek Squad to help technophobes
16th - Nokia 6300s sell out
30th - First N95 arrives in stores
The long-awaited Nokia N95 arrived in stores with plenty of bugs, while the manufacturer struggled to meet demand on a new classic: the 6300. Orange signed a new deal with Carphone, before clamping down on dealers offering massive cashback deals. Phones 4u tackled high levels of fraud in London and Birmingham after a fallout with T-Mobile. And a former Nokia boss announced plans to launch Blyk, an advertising-funded, virtual network that divided the industry.
6th - Carphone spends £15m fixing TalkTalk problems
13th - Carphone closes supermarket supply business
13th - Prada launches with unprecedented sales rules for retailers
27th - Phones 4u slashes targets by up to 40%
After declaring TalkTalk as ‘my Iraq war’, Charles Dunstone spent Easter and £15m trying to fix the problems that had caused so much heartache. Meanwhile, Carphone closed its supermarket supply business, Carphone Partners, which supplied the likes of Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer. Phones 4u looked to be acknowledging the difficult market and the fact that it was trying to cut out fraud by slashing its targets by 40%. On the handset front, the LG Prada phone launched with excitement as well as unprecedented and ‘ridiculous’ point of sale instructions.
4th - Asda Mobile launches with ultra-cheap rates
11th - European Telecom on the brink
11th - 3 connects 60% direct
25th - Motorola looks to Z8 to turn around 2007
3 sales chief Marc Allera was trumpeting the success from transferring 60% of his connections to the new 3 stores, after the high level of ‘bad business’ it apparently signed up through call centres and cashback dealers. European Telecom, having been the first distie to fall foul of the new anti-carousel VAT regulations, was on the brink of going under, while even Jason Bourne couldn’t save Motorola from a tough year epitomised by sluggish sales of the Z8, despite the handset featuring in a Carphone store in The Bourne Ultimatum.
1st - Motorola UK chief Jim Michel promoted to UK MD, resigns to go to 20:20, then rejoins Moto
8th - Dextra wins Sainsbury’s contract
22nd - Retailers join fraud hit list
22nd - Carphone’s Paul Potts is a winner
29th - Orange admits: ‘We’ve lost that sparkle’
The silly season kicked off with Jim Michel taking the UK MD job at Motorola, quitting to join 20:20 and then going back to Motorola. Virgin’s top executives, Jo Steel and Alan Gow, didn’t look back after the acquisition by NTL went sour and Peter Hubbard left 20:20 after only five months. But the real hero of June was Carphone salesman Paul Potts, who wowed the nation with his Pavarotti impersonation. Orange admitted that things were going wrong in a leaked internal memo, while Carphone closed its MPE distribution business. 3’s Jonathan Sandford took the 2007 Shop Idol crown at the Mobile Awards.
6th - Pressure intensifies on Carphone staff to sell TalkTalk
6th - Floods hit South Yorkshire stores
13th - T-Mobile and Truphone fall out as T-Mobile blocks VoIP calls on the N95