2013 predictions: Huawei exec VP, UK & Ireland Mark Mitchinson

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Mitchinson says consumer loyalty will be increasingly tied to the operating system and not hardware, with the mass introduction of 4G adding a level of differentiation in a market in need of change

The smartphone market is dominated by two brands at the moment, and essentially by just two devices. Retailers and network operators want to break this model but credible alternatives are hard to come by at present and it’s a habit they’re finding hard to kick. That said, there are still opportunities for others as only one company has any kind of genuine brand loyalty; the other has clearly taken the decision to stick its brand on pretty much everything bar the local fish ‘n’ chip shop. The fact is, loyalty is increasingly tied to the operating system and not the hardware.

New technologies bring tremendous opportunities for those who can deliver them. LTE/4G is a good case in point. 2013 will see LTE gain increased focus and wider take-up, and brands will gain prominence if they execute in the right way. It will put more emphasis on genuine differentiation in a market that’s boring and in need of change. The kind of wallpaper marketing from the vast majority of manufacturers at the moment does virtually nothing for our industry – it is meaningless and insulting for such a mature and intelligent market. I’d like to think marketing will be challenged in 2013, for the first time in years, to articulate in new ways the

benefits and fun of mobile technology.

Similarly, Windows Phone 8 could bring a serious challenge to OS brands, an alternative to consumers, and a chance to realign the market again around multiple and strong OS propositions. There are real opportunities in 2013 for brave manufacturers and brave retailers to bring a healthier balance and a fresh outlook to the market.

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