Phones 4u is predicting a 4G Christmas, with consumers’ appetite for gaming and new shared data plans expected to drive sales.
Tom Shorten (pictured), Phones 4u’s strategy and customer director, said the recent launch of O2 and Vodafone’s 4G propositions would invigorate the market after a ‘good’ performance from EE instore.
The retailer’s Life Mobile MVNO runs on EE’s network but Shorten said the time was not right to launch its own 4G offer. He said: ‘The thing with 4G is we need to bring it to customers at the right time. We are working through that process and it’s something that will come to market in the near term. It’s on the radar.’
He hinted that Life Mobile might follow the lead of EE and offer shared data bundles to customers as a way of unlocking 4G’s potential. He also praised O2’s use of gaming content as a means of encouraging customers to move from 3G to 4G. He said: ‘With gaming you give yourself an entry point to drive sales of tablets… O2 had a great deal in place with gaming. It’s completely sensible given the extent gaming on devices has taken off.’
Shorten predicted this year would be a 4G Christmas, with a range of different devices and tariffs on offer. He said: ‘4G will also be in full swing. We will be working with customers to explain the complexity behind the 4G tariffs. We will also bring content to life instore.’
He singled out the forthcoming new iPhone, expected to be unveiled later this month, as a key device for the channel, but said suggestions there was a duopoly in the market between Apple and Samsung were overstated.
He said: ‘From a consumer point of view, there continues to be great choice in handsets. That’s the most important thing. Samsung has a brilliant range of products and when Sony or HTC bring products to market, they can be exceptional.’
He agreed with recent comments from EE CEO Olaf Swantee, who said that Microsoft needed to work harder to make Windows Phone a serious contender in the UK market. He said: ‘Microsoft needs to move from being business-centric to consumer-centric. Its product set is great.’
Author: Graeme Neill