2013: Year in Review

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A ‘record’ 12 months of biggest-ever, fastest, thinnest, counterfeit, stolen and every other type of mobile phone

Q1 2013
The year kicked off with Ofcom considering new proposals to allow customers to exit their contracts mid-term without penalty – should prices rise.

O2 business director Ben Dowd warns dealers they must embrace unified communicatons (IT, fixed etc) or they won’t survive.  HTC CEO Peter Chou blames poor marketing for its continued financial slump – hitting a three year low. Meanwhile its “quietly brilliant” slogan is tipped to be axed. No such issues for Samsung, announcing sales of its Galaxy handsets have topped 100 million in three years. RIM (as it was) UK and Ireland MD Rob Orr labels 2013 as the most important year in the company’s history ahead of the much delayed BB10 launch. EE rebrands its T-Mobile and Orange estate and confirms it’s to close 78 stores. Operators begin bidding for 4G spectrum. Apple’s revenues top £34.4 billion for the final three months of 2012 – its highest ever – with reports labelling the firm richer than Greece. By contrast, Nokia worries continue, with 2012 losses totalling €2.3bn.

Sony doubles UK marketing spend to £40 million to help further boost its brand recognition post Ericsson split. Apple unveils the 128GB (it’s biggest ever) iPad with Retina display. BlackBerry BB10 finally unveiled, dropping the “confusing” RIM brand. Its first devices, the Z10 and Q10 unveiled and released following day. Analysts described BB10 as its “last roll of the dice”.  (FEBRUARY) EE CEO Olaf Swantee defends charging £5 more for 4G than 3G. Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao dismisses 4G as for “technofreaks” – EE respond with Tweet (see pic). O2 ends deal with Phones 4U for subsidised handset connections. Ofcom confirms all UK network operators have been successful with their 4G spectrum bids which totalled £2.3bn – well below the £4 billion predicted. Dealers question EE’s loyalty to the channel after it reduces early upgrade period for Orange business customers from 90 to 30 days. MWC begins with Sony launch, the Xperia Tablet Z and vows to become Apple’s closest tablet rival. Huawei unveils the the world’s fastest handset, the Ascend P2, and aims to overtake Apple in smartphone shipments. Motorola says it can be a force in the UK market following its $12.5bn buyout by Google.

Elsewhere, O2 reveals it added almost one million contract customers in 2012. (MARCH) Samsung ordered to pay Apple $450 million – down from $1 billion over a design patent dispute. HTC UK and Ireland boss Phil Roberson leaves and is replaced by VP of product and operations Phillip Blair. Google wields the axe at Motorola cutting 1,200 jobs. BrightPoint is renamed Ingram Micro Mobility following $840m acquisition of Brightstar Europe. Samsung unveils the Galaxy S4. Micro-P launches into airtime. Three adds 900k new contract customers in 2012 to take its base to 9.1m. BlackBerry sells one million Z10s but loses three million users in the three months to March 2.

Q2 2013
HTC unveils the HTC First – dubbed the  “Facebook phone” – its profits dive £1.85m in Q1 – its lowest ever. Otterbox sets up a a dedicated fraud unit to tackle £2.3bn counterfeit mobile goods market. Micro-P promotes sales director Paul Bryan to MD as Gerry O’Keeffe becomes group managing director. EE to launch double speed 4G of 80Mbps in 10 cities by the summer. Tech Data Mobile European VP Stephen Nolan replaces UK and Ireland regional VP Jim Michel. Philip Sambrook quits Data Select for 20:20 Mobile as sales director. Vodafone announces it’s to join EE and O2 by introducing a revenue share model on July 1.  (MAY) O2 B2B teams undergo a reshuffle with 92 management staff put at risk.

Apple’s profits fall from $11.6bn to $9.5bn in its Q2 despite record revenue of $43.6bn. BlackBerry looks to appease “keyboard fans” releasing the  Q10 with Thorsten Heins predicting sales of “tens of millions”. Carphone Warehouse to acquire Best Buy’s European stake for £471m. Nokia shareholders tell CEO Stephen Elop the company is on a “road to hell,” fearing the manufacturer will fold.

Phones 4U CEO Mary Grant resigns. CCA Distribution wins £10m withheld VAT appeal against HMRC. Tech Data Mobile appoints Dylan Price as sales director. Galaxy S4 breaks 10m sales mark in its first month on sale. HTC First gets pulled from UK release amid US critisism and poor sales. Vodafone to spend £900m in the current financial year on upgrading its UK network. (JUNE)Liberty Global buys Virgin Media for $24bn.  Apple unveils redesigned iOS 7. Huawei opens its HQ in Reading as part of its £1.3bn investment into the UK economy over the next five years. Nokia Lumia 925 goes on sale as Samsung unveils the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Orr quits BlackBerry after 10 months to join Samsung as B2B EU telecoms VP. The EU proposes ending mobile roaming charges by mid-2014.

Vodafone delays the launch of its revenue share model to August 1. Carphone Warehouse Business begins trialling a new B2B franchise programme. Huawei unveils the Ascend P6, the “world’s thinnest smartphone”. Two leading lawyers issue a legal threat to HMRC after accusing it of making it near “impossible” for box breakers to trade in the UK. Vodafone buys Kabel Deutschland for £6.61bn. Sony launches the Xperia Z Ultra and SmartWatch 2. Carphone Warehouse COO Graham Stapleton replaces Andrew Harrison as its UK and Ireland CEO. Harrison becomes CEO of Carphone Warehouse Group while Roger Taylor becomes deputy chairman. Daisy Group acquires airtime distributor MoCo. Roaming charges  are cut 36 per cent by the EU.

Q3 2013
Nokia buys Siemens’ stake in Nokia Siemens Networks for €1.7bn. Brightstar’s proposed acquisition of 20:20 Mobile delayed after Spain’s biggest MVNO Yiogo, one of 20:20’s key customers in the country, is put up for sale. Six telecoms firms appear in court seeking damages of £415m over a 1999 Government ban on commercial GSM Gateway services. Sony begins a distribution partner review. O2 launches £10m 4G ad campaign, asking people to “Be more dog”. Nokia unveils the 41 megapixel Lumia 1020. EE to cut its 1,500 plus B2B dealer base by by two thirds. B2B dealer Sunrise Associates builds £250k B2B specific CRM called Atlas. OneCom named Vodafone ‘Platinum Partner of the Year’.

Apple posts record Q3 iPhone sales of 31.2m units, but yearly revenue falls £1.2bn to £4.5bn. O2 adds 292k contract customers in Q2 – a three year high. EE launches a three year plan to lead the market for B2B connections. Three’s UK operating profit for the first half of 2013 rises 231pc yearly to £86 million. (AUGUST) Former Vodafone UK enterprise director Peter Kelly joins Virgin Media Business as MD.  Sony Mobile drops Tech Data Mobile and appoints Micro-P as part of its distribution review 20:20. HTC pays a reported $12 million to Hollywood star Robert Downey Jnr to head up its new, more “playful” identity ads. BlackBerry board considers sale of the company.

O2 labels indirect partner channel “crucial” to the success of its 4G network. Met Police urges mobile operators to do more to prevent phone thefts. EE’s 4G network reaches 100 cities. O2 and Vodafone’s 4G network goes live on August 29. Vodafone sells 45pc stake in Verizon Wireless for £84bn. (SEPTEMBER) Microsoft announces a £4.6 billion deal to buy Nokia’s mobile phone business has been accepted. Samsung unveils Galaxy Gear smartwatch (pictured) and Galaxy Note 3. EE wins Asda Mobile MVNO contract from Vodafone. Vodafone relegates 11 top tier platinum partners. Apple iPhone 5s to5c hit the UK on September 20. Vodafone CEO Guy Laurence resigns to be replaced by enterprise director Joroen Hoencamp. Olive acquires Wish Comms. BlackBerry to cut 4,500 jobs by mid-2015. Fairfax Financial Holdings begins due diligence on a proposed $4.7bn purchase. EE director of indirect sales Nathan Vautier to leave the company at the end of the year.

Q4 2013
The LG G2 goes on sale. Three names 42 cities which will get 4G in 2014. HTC makes its first ever quarterly loss, with a deficit of £63m in Q3. Computer 2000 rebrands as Tech Data. Former Ingram Micro Mobility UK and Ireland VP James Bannister joins B2B dealer OneCom Services as sales director. MoCo is rebranded as Daisy. Tributes pour in following the passing of “larger than life” industry veteran Angus Dawe. Vodafone hits 100k 4G subscriber mark in first month since launching. EE beats O2 as the preferred provider of mobile services to BT. BlackBerry publishes an open letter to say it is “here to stay” amid fears it may disappear. EE to franchise 14 stores following the success of an initial eight. EE announces comms chief Steven Day to leave by the end of the year after six years. Accessories distributor Mobile Fun sets plans to have a presence in 50 countries by fiscal year up from 31.

SoftBank to pay $1.26bn for 57pc stake in Brightstar, increasing its ownership to 70pc over the next five years – delaying deal for 20:20 Mobile. EE adds almost half-a-million 4G customers in Q3 to take that base to 1.2m. Nokia unveils its first ever tablet device, the Lumia 2520 at Nokia World in Dubai. John Lewis gets a three month exclusive at launch (December 4). Apple reveals the iPad Air and upgraded iPad Mini. Micro-P rebrands as Exertis Micro-P. Daisy Group buys IT specialist Indecs for £18m. Apple sells 33.8m iPhones – a record for the September quarter – but profits fall yearly by 9pc to $7.5bn. Phones 4U appoints former EMI Music chief executive David Kassler as CEO. The High Court rejects a £413m damages claim from six dealers over a 1999 GSM Gateways ban.

Exertis Micro-P MD Gerry O’Keeffe says parent company DCC SerCom will extend its mobile distribution business into Europe. Fairfax decides not to buy BlackBerry. BlackBerry CEO Heins departs, replaced by Sybase CEO John Chen. CMO Frank Boulben and COO Kristian Tear also leave. Vodafone apologises to dealers over revenue share errors. Three exits Carphone Warehouse. Vodafone to invest £7bn in networks and services over the next two financial years. BlackBerry appoints VP for South Africa, Southern Africa and Turkey Alexandra Zagury as UK and Ireland MD. Motorola unveils the Moto G. Road safety charity Brake calls for a total ban on phone use by drivers. Ofcom to meet with operators to explain growing number of complaints. OneCom buys OneStream. Tech Data Mobile UK and Ireland sales director Dylan Price and marketing director Michelle Henchoz rumoured to be leaving. LG to double marketing spend in the UK as it looks to double its market share to 10 per cent by 2015. Brightstar reappoints Jim Michel as its UK and Ireland MD as the acquisition of 20:20 Mobile is completed. 20:20 UK MD James Browning to leave in January ahead of Brightstar 20:20 relaunch. Operators to cap stolen handset bills and end roaming charges. BlackBerry publishes another open letter to say: “Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.”

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