This week was a short one, but it still managed to throw up a few major topics for those in the mobile industry to get their teeth in to.
4G is still key
This week saw the anniversary of both O2 and Vodafone’s 4G offerings – back in 2013 Three tried to rain on the parade by making an announcement about its own service on the same day. This year saw some major sparring between the big networks too with Vodafone announcing that it was offering the service to pay as you go customers. O2 revealed that take up of the service was double the amount that 3G had at the end of its first year. EE meanwhile used the week of its rivals' milestones to announce that it now covered 75% of the country with its 4G service. The network also secured a bit of a coup in the 4G PR war getting the Prime Minister to express his excitement at the network bringing the service to his constituency for the first time. Mobile contacted Mr Cameron to see if this meant that his phone was on the EE 4G network, but at the time of writing we are yet to hear back from the Prime Minister.
The service continues to be a major battleground for the four major networks and it will be interesting to see how things develop throughout the second year of 4G. Sources in the benchmarking game told Mobile this week that whilst some networks had strong 4G signals the 3G connectivity in the same locations was incredibly weak. Benchmarking itself could be set for a revolution as apps are now facilitating an even easier testing of the network performance.
Customers choose to stick, not twist
The slowdown of the handset market combined with increased customer loyalty is a trend which has been going on for a while now but GfK’s most recent report into the telecommunications sector confirmed that this continued to be the case in July. The market research firm found that the SIM-free segment was the only part of the market to grow and there were signs that this area could mount a sustainable challenge to the traditional markets. Accessories were another sector where significant growth occurred as mobile enhancements rose 18% in July. Although behind this was another sign that consumers were choosing to stick with their current handsets - because the increase was driven primarily by replacement chargers rather than cases. So PSA Parts' decision to launch a Duracell branded range of charging devices seems as if it could be a rather wise choice.
Samsung vs Apple… it goes on
Another week, another development in the courtroom saga of Apple vs Samsung. This time it was Samsung who had the most to feel cheered about with the news that a US judge had blocked Apple’s attempts to stop them selling phones which infringed upon its patents, this was based on a decision by a US court in May that the Korean brand had indeed infringed those patents, though that case is also being appealed by Samsung. The long-running dispute has continued to provide observers with plenty of intrigue over the summer with the US Patent and Trademark Office’s rejecting of multiple claims related to Apple patents against Samsung and the two companies agreeing to drop all patent lawsuits outside the United States in August alone. Will it rumble on into the winter months? You can bet on it.
Jeff Dodds, has been appointed Managing Director of Mobile at Virgin Media
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