2014: Year in Review – Q3

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The last 12 months have seen some tectonic shifts not least with the disappearance of Phones 4u and Nokia (in handsets) from the mobile landscape and the formation of the new retail superpower we now know as Dixons Carphone. If you were on a long holiday, this is how Q3 panned out

July

Samsung says it will increase focus on the B2B market, aiming to double revenues in the space to £580 million this year.

Vodafone came under fire from its dealer partners due to delays in rev-share payments, 11 months after it launched a new payment model. Meanwhile, Chess said it was still in the acquisition game, aiming to follow its purchase of Avenir Telecom with more acquisitions.

Phones 4u launched its “biggest ever” marketing campaign using movie ‘Back To The Future’ as part of widespread advertising.

LG’s plans to achieve a 10 per cent share of the UK market by the end of the year are slammed by analysts – as share falls to below two per cent.

Three replaced O2 as the least complained about network, the first time that the latter had not been top of Ofcom’s list for more than three years.

Microsoft announced its biggest ever job cull, axing 12,500 jobs from Nokia Devices and 18,000 jobs overall following the completion of its £45 billion purchase.

London Mayor Boris Johnson promised 5G speeds would be available in London by 2020.

Former Sybase head Marty Beard joined BlackBerry as COO to head up marketing, BB10 development and customer care and quality.

Apple joined forces with former computer rival IBM as part of a deal to develop B2B focussed software.

August

EU regulators came under fire after UK operators EE and Vodafone both accused  EU roaming regulations of “crippling” their investment plans. EE claims £42 million “wiped” in six months.

EE tried to repair its fractured relationship with dealers by offering settlements in an attempt to end the two-year dispute over commission payments. The operator said it had issued a cut off point for all outstanding payments, devoting extra staff to resolve the problems.

O2 announced record-low levels of churn, with CEO Ronan Dunne labelling its customer base – which included two million 4G customers less than a year after launch – as the most loyal in the UK. Meanwhile, Three announced record profits of £37 million, which it said was driven by increased data usage which accounts for 45 per cent of all UK usage.

Asus partners with Exertis and launches its ZenFone 4, 5 and 6 handsets. It claimed it’s now ready to make a genuine assault on the UK smartphone market, with Currys/PC World, John Lewis and Argos signed up.

Phones 4u says it will become the ‘retailer of choice’ for connected wearable tech through its ‘Be.Smart’ store roll out.

Dixons Carphone opens its doors for the first time as a single company, with seven stores rebranded – with 23more by the end of the year. The merger has created a business owning 1,298 UK stores and nearly 3,000 globally, with a market value of £3.74 billion and potential combined revenues of over £10 billion.

September

September was dominated by the collapse of Phones 4u which went into administration after Vodafone and EE terminated their airtime partnerships. All 720 stores closed on September 15, leaving 5,600 staff (total) in limbo.

EE and Vodafone, publicly blamed by Phones 4u owners BC Partners for the collapse, picked up almost 200 Phones 4u stores between them, saving 1,260 jobs. Dixons Carphone retains the 800 Phones 4u staff from concession in its stores.

It was also a big month for handset launches as IFA returned to Berlin. Sony unveiled a new flagship device, the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact while Samsung revealed the Galaxy Note 4 and the curved Galaxy Note Edge. HTC showed off the HTC Desire 820 while Motorola unveiled its new Moto X and Moto G devices.

IFA was also a big opportunity for manufacturers to show off new wearable tech, with Motorola launching the much anticipated Moto 360 with a rounded timepiece. LG also unveiled a round smartwatch, the LG G Watch R. Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy Gear S, the first smartwatch to support 3G connectivity, while Sony launched its Smartwatch 3.

O2 brought the Amazon Fire smartphone exclusively to the UK but the biggest announcement came from Apple, launching its latest iPhone devices the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as its debut wearable, the Apple Watch due out in 2015. iPhone sales topped a record breaking 10 million in the opening weekend, beating the iPhone 5s by half a million.

BlackBerry also returned to the UK market for the first time in a year by unveiling its BlackBerry Passport. Huawei UK and Ireland VP Mark Mitchinson left after three years.

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