The retail environment will be interesting in 2009. There will be a question mark over whether many retailers can survive. That is a challenge but is also an opportunity because it will mean good properties and good people will become available.To some extent, competition in some areas will reduce as a result.
From a prepay perspective, there have been a lot of people selling prepay with very little added value, and that has been a good thing for the specialists because it has identified quality retailers.
One of the most important things for retailers is how we maintain the morale of the people who deliver in our business, during such a challenging time.
One of the biggest things we’re doing is completely overhauling our pay structures to really improve the element of basic salary over the variable element to maintain that whatever happens our people feel more secure.
Morale will be very important, and consequently, a need to create certainty for people.
The manufacturer landscape looks quite different with Apple, Nokia, Rim, Samsung, LG making up the market, rather than Motorola and Sony Ericsson. There is a growing split in approach. Samsung and LG are going down a pure product route, while Apple and Nokia have a more services-based approach.
There is a path and way forward with services. We’ve all got to look at how we can make money from more things.
It is opening up new categories within mobile such as gaming. To illustrate the point I think the iPhone is a better gaming device than, say, the Nintendo DS in terms of pricing and usability.
Networks might start looking at different segments, be even more open to MVNO deals, but I don’t see any revolutionary ideas for those businesses, but there should be greater competition next year.
O2’s lead is beyond just luck. They have a formula that has really hit the spot. They have focused on being what they are: the best mobile phone operator. They are dabbling in broadband, but they have the attributes common of the best businesses: innovation and trust. Apple and Google have also got that right.