2014: Year in Review – Q4

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he 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 Q4 panned out

OCTOBER

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards to step down after eight years.

Tech Data rekindled its relationship with HTC after an alleged fallout in January saw talks break down between the two firms. Industry veteran Rod Millar left Tech Data after more than seven years. Millar had severed links as senior vice president at the distributor since 2012.

Three entered a consultation with staff over a new pay structure but denied claims that it planned to cut wages.

Brightstar 20:20 and Redeem went head to head over a £12 million recycling contract with O2. Mobile News sources revealed that the two firms had been negotiating with O2 for around six months.The contract had been held by Redeem since 2009 but was due to expire.

Former Samsung UK and Ireland head Simon Stanford set to become MD of MOJO Maker in January.

Ofcom hit Three with a £250,000 fine for failing to comply with rules on handling customer complaints as part of a network wide investigation.

HTC launched the the Desire Eye,with specs comparable to its HTC One M8 flagship. EE bought Phones 4u MVNO Life Mobile in a deal believed to be worth around £5 million.The MVNO ran on EE’s network and had around 85,000 users. EE also enters the TV market after launching EE TV. Microsoft launched the Microsoft Band,compatible with iOS,Android and Windows.

NOVEMBER

Two ‘Burka’ raiders who stole £40,000 worth of mobile phones from a Phones 4u store in Putney in 2012 were jailed for five years each.

Premier Mobile Phones tasked bailiffs with recovering £1.2 million from the owner of Cash My Fone after winning a High Court case.

EE said it became Europe’s largest 4G provider with 5.6 million 4G users, up by 1.4 million on its previous quarter.

James Powell left his role as Huawei product director to join Motorola,which officially became part of Lenovo in a £1.82 billion deal. Huawei committed £5 million to 5G tests in a partnership with the University of Surrey.

Government proposals to improve coverage in areas with little to no signal – known as “not-spots”- were slammed by network operators who labelled them as “flawed” after culture secretary Sajid Javid suggested national roaming.

Vodafone announced a 3.1 per cent half-year dip in UK revenues as part of its H1 financial statement. It also announced plans to re-enter the consumer broadband market in 2015,four years after it withdrew its offering. Alongside the broadband announcement,Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao revealed the operator will launch into TV.

Microsoft dropped the Nokia brand, unveiling the Microsoft Lumia 535. The Nokia brand didn’t disappear completely, after the Nokia N1 was launched by an unnamed OEM who licensed the brand name from Nokia.

Conor Pierce quit his role as Microsoft VP UK and Ireland and was instantly linked with the vacant role at Samsung.

TalkTalk ditched Vodafone after four years, switching its MVNO to O2 as part of a “multi-year” deal.Daisy returned to private ownership after a £500 million buyout from a consortium led by CEO Matthew Riley.

Apple replaced Samsung as the UK’s leading smartphone manufacturer, overtaking Samsung for sales share after three years on top.

Google unveiled its latest Nexus devices – the HTC manufactured Nexus 9 tablet and the Motorola-made Nexus 6 phone.

BT sought to re-enter the mobile market after confirming it had been in talks with both O2 and EE over a potential £10 billion takeover.Three owner Hutchison Whampoa also linked.

DECEMBER

BT confirmed that it had entered exclusive negotiations with EE regarding the purchase of the mobile phone operator. If completed, the £12.5 billion deal will see T-Mobile take a 12 per cent stake and Orange a four per cent stake, in the telecommunicatons giant.

EE announced it was purchasing airtime distributor Mainline Digital Communications for an undisclosed fee. The mobile operator had held a 26 per cent share in the EE-exclusive distributor since March 2001 and now takes total ownership of the company.

As predicted by Mobile News, following his departure from Microsoft Devices (Nokia), Conor Pierce was appointed as the new VP of mobile and IT at Samsung UK. The role was vacant since Simon Stanford’s departure in June.

O2 announced plans to cut its CoE scheme and replace it with the O2 Direct Partner Network in April 2015 after more than eight years. CoE branded as having “lost its mojo” by O2 head of partners Jason Phillips.

Its CEO Ronan Dunne tells Mobile News the operator will invest up to £690 million in 2015 to improve its network, a 10 to 15 per cent increase on 2014.

O2 and EE confirmed they are now providing 2G, 3G and 4G services in the Eurotunnel while Vodafone said it had not launched its 4G coverage as yet. Three’s retail director Jacqueline Kelleher left after her role was axed as part of a major retail reshuffle.

EE dealers told us that they feared a cull of the direct partner channel as its director of small business Mike Tomlinson admitted EE was discussing plans to revamp the channel. EE insists no cuts are planned.

BlackBerry finally sets a release date for its Classic handset (December 17) after a month-long delay. CEO John Chen had originally said the phone would be released in November,with a BlackBerry source saying it didn’t want to release two devices in quick succession.

Tanny Jeffrey is handed the managing director job at Mdee – setting ambitious growth targets for 2015. Meanwhile, EE announced plans to use micro network technology to connect rural communities at a low cost. The operator predicted that the new technology would connect more than 1,500 rural communities by the end of 2017.

Ingram Micro confirms acquisition talks with repair specialists Anovo, in a deal reportedly worth around $100 million.

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