Everyone’s lap-ing it up

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Carphone Warehouse chief executive Charles Dunstone claimed when ‘Talk Talk’ broadband launched it would change the mobile industry.

Since then, Vodafone, Orange and O2 have started to sell their own fixed-line broadband propositions.

Carphone now claims it will change the industry again, this time by doing for laptops what it has done for mobile phones – making them mass market devices affordable on a contract.

Again, Carphone is perceived to be paving the way in retail for the rest of the mobile industry. Its aim is to become a one-stop-shop on Europe’s high streets for portable consumer electronics hooked up to a wireless network.

But does such a statement of intent, on the back of Carphone’s £2.2 billion European joint venture with US consumer electronics giant Best Buy, preface a real sea change for mobile retail?

Well, yes and no; it depends whether you’re looking for change among specialist mobile retailers or large scale general electronics traders.

Dixons Stores Group (DSG), whose electronics retail brands represent the likeliest future rivals of Best Buy’s ‘big box’ format stores in the UK, dismisses the idea the joint venture will have much bearing on its UK activities, for now at least.

Best Buy won’t force a change in the way mobile phones are sold in big consumer electronics outlets, suggests DSG.

Full version of this article appears in Mobile News issue 419 (July 18, 2008).

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