Andrew Harrison, Carphone’s UK CEO, expects networks and retailers to work together more in 2008 and has warned computer games retailers that they will face serious competition next year.
‘The challenge next year will be to move beyond trying to kick each other, with a much more collaborative approach. It will make us look outside of the mobile industry to grow the size of the whole pie.
'You can¹t dismiss the downfall of Jessops from the growth of the mobile phone as just an aberration. That came about because the mobile industry brought photography to the everyday consumer and made the compact camera redundant for lots of consumers. The same will happen to music.'
Harrison predicts: 'Music will become free, and gaming will become a lot more exciting through wireless connectivity. If I was at HMV or Game I¹d be worried. I think 2008 will be the year of the laptop.
Mobile propositions will be built to integrate wireless and fixed broadband. You will see games machines that work on wireless networks, and a continuation of the music bundles.
The successful networks will embrace all the technology that will be available instead of trying to protect their areas like little islands. There is a need to have an open, laissez-faire attitude to the technology, give the consumers the choice of Wi-Fi, HSDPA, and make sure that you provide the best service.
People like 3 seem to have got the right attitude with opening things up like Skype and mobile broadband. Behind all this excitement of new services, it is worth remembering that 70% of our market just wants calls and texts.
Retention will be the big focus for networks, and upgrades and new connections will have the same value. The networks are changing remuneration to reflect that. Networks and retailers will work together to build new revenue streams: wireless and fixed broadband.
With the emphasis being more on services than products, the importance of fantastic retail stores and staff has become even greater.
Training our people, building stronger career structures and equipping them with the knowledge will be critical. A big part of this will be facing up to the fact that retailing of mobile phones at the moment isn¹t good enough and we need to have more live demonstrations within the confines of the economics of the market.’