Tough times are being forecast for the early half of 2012: manufacturers vie for a place in a crowded market as analysts suggest there may already be too many of them. With more lining up to enter the market, it’ll be interesting to see which ones prevail – industry experts are predicting that smartphone demand may have peaked and there may be an increase in demand for Sim-only contracts.
However, as it’s Christmas, I don’t want to sound too gloomy. I recently attended a festive dinner organised by operator Everything Everywhere where a magician provided the evening’s entertainment. He was certainly one of the best, bamboozling both the media contingent and an array of executives and press officers from the company with some spectacular card and coin tricks.
Despite his impressive performance, and without wanting to sound ungracious, there was one thing that could not escape my mind – whether he could make Orange’s 4.3% price hike disappear.
So, would you rent a smartphone for £55 per month to make sure you’re not tied down to a contract and are able to upgrade your phone annually? An Ofcom study has found Britons are more likely to use their smartphone than any of their European counterparts. So you’d think there would be a demand. The O2 Lease service attempts to meet that demand, offering consumers 750 minutes, unlimited texts, 500MB of data and insurance for a 16GB device. T-Mobile is also offering its business customers a short-term tariff with similar benefits.
It’s either a masterstroke or an illusion our magician would’ve been proud of – an initiative ready to be consigned to the ‘oh at least we tried it’ ideas bin. Whatever the view within the industry, it has certainly got people talking. Sure, it does give you the option to change your smartphone without any upfront fees, but the cost may prove prohibitive.
Let’s hope that despite the cautious growth predictions for 2012, it will be a prosperous one. Merry Christmas.