2013 predictions: CPWB head of partners Bob Sweetlove

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 Sweetlove thinks a price war as a result of increased competition in the handset space will be the main transaction catalyst, with the pricing of 4G by the networks proving to be a real point of interest

In distribution we need transaction volumes to keep the wheel turning. I would think the primary transaction catalyst in 2013 will be the continuing evolution of the smartphone war at all price points. Microsoft’s multi-device ecosystem expansion and the long-awaited launch of BlackBerry 10 are set to take the challenge to Apple and Google’s current market dominance.

The big volume wins are probably further down the tariff tree, so cost-effective smartphones are needed just as much as the headline devices. Migrating to 4G offers up another transaction opportunity. With the multi-network roll-out of 4G we will also start to see how the networks will balance charging for the wider bandwidth without bill-shocking or putting off data-hungry customers.

In channel I sense a tempering of the immediate pressure to move all dealers and customers to landline and cloud services on the mobile bill balanced by a renewed effort to maximise core mobile sales. Where will the networks find their growth with all their key dealers and internal sales forces already 100 per cent single-network? Multi-network distribution channels may prove popular once again.

The lines are also blurring between consumer and business use as more and more people look to a single device for personal and work use. We may see some innovative tariffing emerge from the networks to capitalise on this trend, again giving end users a reason to transact.

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