Page 1

Power 50 – page 11 Dave Dyson, CEO of the industry’s most disruptive network

First-ever interview – page 15 Huawei special pullout: Consumer MD James Jie reveals UK strategy

Flexible enough? – page 22 How to capitalise on the demand for mobile working

Sharp insight. Inspiring analysis www.mobiletoday.co.uk January 2017 £2.70

Shattered trust Investigating the factors holding back the device repair market


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Contents Noble House Media 1-10 Praed Mews Paddington London W2 1QY @mobile_mag /mobiletoday.mag EDITORIAL 07896 727464 NEWS & COMMUNITY EDITOR

Jack Courtez jack.courtez@futurenet.com 07592 880864 FEATURES EDITOR

Chris Jenkins chris.Jenkins@futurenet.com 07896 727865 CONTRIBUTORS

Désiré Athow Sunetra Chakravarti James Atkinson DESIGNER

Marian Hutchinson PRODUCTION ASSISTANT/ LAYOUT SUB-EDITOR

Certainty in the industry at last 2017 offers a reprieve for squeezed players To compare the predictions that were made for 2016 with those for 2017, it appears the industry’s various components have found firm ground after 12 months in the wilderness. Whereas last year’s trends were mainly how companies would react to mergers, falling ARPU, the SIM-free trend and disruption by OTT providers, this year the industry appears to be setting the agenda, not following it. Though the problems mentioned above certainly haven’t gone away, there seems to be a consensus on how to move past it. Mobile and fixed line dealers are leading the charge on the biggest change to UK employment culture since the rise of the tertiary economy – flexible working. After years of talking about IoT, manufacturers are just about arriving at customerfriendly products and solutions. By the end of the year, operators should finally have coverage under control (if they can meet their promises). Every one of these changes has far-reaching effects on how customers interact with everyone from the smallest of MVNOs to the largest of OTT giants. At the risk of becoming the mobile equivalent to Michael Fish, this all means the forecast for the industry seems brighter. All of the above comes alongside potential improvements beyond 2017 including a new Digital Economy Bill that cuts infrastructure costs, the potential reversal of roaming caps post-Brexit, and hinted government investment in 5G. Plus, even if I’m wrong, you can still cut this out and have a good laugh later on.

Naomi MacKay mobile@nhmedia.co.uk

ADVERTISING 07896 727762 HEAD OF PORTFOLIO SALES

Mark Fermor +44 (0) 7896727762 mark.fermor@nhmedia.co.uk

Jack Courtez News & community editor jack.courtez@futurenet.com

GENERAL ENQUIRIES 07896 727725

Contents

PUBLISHER/MANAGING DIRECTOR Debra Doran

04 08

SUBS/CIRCULATION 07896 727725 Standard subs price: £70.20 Printed by Buxton Press Ltd

ISellMobile Digital Product of the Year Commercial Initiative of the Year www.isellmobile.co.uk

ISSN 1472-0833 All material in this publication is covered by copyright. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form – electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise – in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. © 2017 Noble House Media Ltd. While considerable care has been taken in the production of this issue, no responsibility can be accepted for any errors or omissions. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork or equipment. All correspondence is assumed to be intended for publication unless clearly stated otherwise.

Mobile Download – the iPhone 10 years on Fast stats, facts and news

Mobile Investigates Shattered trust in the repair market: The difficulties facing consumers and repairers in the UK’s £717m tech repair space

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Power 50 – David Dyson Looking into Three UK’s CEO – last year’s fourth-most powerful person in mobile

12

Interview New year new programme at Vodafone: Nick Birtwistle explains the new partner programme and changes in the unified comms space

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World News January: This month’s latest news from around the world

15

Huawei special issue

UK Consumer MD James Jie explains Huawei’s unique premium UK strategy

January 2017

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Analysis Extended life cycles: What happens when users cut their spend by up to 33% by extending their device use?

20

Tech Guide Ruggedised computing: An overview of a growing B2B device market and the key products within it

21

10 opportunities… Fibre rollout. How the 2017 spread of fibre broadband provides sales opportunities for dealers and managed service providers

22

Mobile Explores The rise of flexible working: Driven by demand from businesses and governments alike, this is how solutions providers are making the most of it

24

iSellMobile Store The latest store news including all you need to enter Shop Idol 2017 and an exclusive staff member account of CES

www.mobiletoday.co.uk January 2017

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DOWNLOAD Fast facts, stats, news and debate

The debate: Is the iPhone still as influential as it was 10 years ago at its launch? NO

Chris Jenkins, features editor, Mobile OBVIOUSLY Apple’s iPhone is a significant product in the smartphone market, but let’s not forget it wasn’t the first smartphone, and there’s no reason it should continue to be dominant. With worldwide iOS sales running at only 12.5% for Q3 of 2016, Android devices are in the ascendant. Apple’s real breakthrough was not in technology; at the time of its launch the iPhone was arguably not technically as good as products from Nokia and Motorola. But the third-party software they ran, such as Symbian or Windows Mobile, was not user-friendly enough for the consumer market. Apple took existing technology from phones and PDAs, and repackaged it in a more user-friendly form. And of course, Apple’s real innovation was to disrupt the

CES

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buying process. Rather than sell to the mobile networks, imposing price restrictions on manufacturing, Apple would sell direct – that was the real iPhone breakthrough. The balance of power tipped from the networks to the manufacturers, who were now able to identify consumer groups and design handsets aimed specifically at them. But the world has changed, and iPhone’s technical innovations have been matched by Android devices. Attitudes to Apple have changed too. For every Apple advocate you’ll find another complaining about its expensive hardware, high prices of accessories and repairs, and planned obsolescence. If things continue this way, the much-anticipated iPhone 8 may be the last ‘best-seller’ Apple ever has.

YES

Jack Courtez, news editor, Mobile ‘APPLE didn’t invent, the smartphone/tablet/ smartwatch’ so goes the saying as well worn as Steve Job’s turtleneck. ‘What it did do’ the mantra continues, ‘is make it a success.’ The same can be said of its more recent changes such as the ditching of the headphone jack (the Moto Z did it first) and its UK upgrade programme (Samsung’s launched six months earlier). Despite not being the innovator, it is definitely the influencer, and when others catch on (Jabra predicts that up to 75% of handsets sold in 2017 will have no headphone jack), it will be Apple they are compared to. Apple has a fearsome reputation for negotiating incredible terms with its partners– such as demanding that retailers buy a large number of 5C devices when

they ordered its 5S handsets, or that official resellers only sell certain brands. The reason Apple can do this is the same reason that no other manufacturer plans a device launch anywhere near midSeptember – unrivalled consumer loyalty, interest and engagement. Until this wavers, the iPhone will be the device that manufacturers measure their own products by, the launch stock retailers lobby for, and the one related industries keep a watchful eye on. The iPhone is actually more influential than it was 10 years ago when it launched, sitting on a stronger bargaining position and with its rigid autarkistic software and OTT eco-system perhaps better favoured to the emerging opportunities in the automotive and connected home space.

Big releases Our round-up of the key releases this month ASUS ZENFONE AR

LG HUB ROBOT

BLACKBERRY TCL MERCURY

GARMIN FENIX 5

The first phone to support both Google DayDream Virtual Reality and Google Tango augmented reality

This cute voiceactivated personal assistant will compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home for the smart home control market

Designed by Blackberry, made by TCL, this Android phone retains the familiar physical keyboard

It’s so advanced, Garmin skipped the Fenix 4 to develop this sensor-packed smartwatch

January 2017

www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Download

Stats 10 years on, is the iPhone in decline?

The month in numbers

£52.58b Predicted value of cloud storage business by 2020

50% of damage to mobile phones caused simply by dropping

Phone repair factors ranked by importance

£1,400 Average annual comms services spend by SMEs

£2.7m

EE hit by Ofcom fine for billing errors

36 What will be the biggest trend at MWC 2017?

Number of smart devices predicted in each family home by 2020

1 in 4 Customers would leave a shopping mall with bad mobile reception

-0.1%

Christmas 2016 High Street sales compared with 2015

Source: mobiletoday.co.uk January 2017

PEOPLE

GOOD MONTH SMALL BUSINESSES A million promised help with digital engagement from Do It Digital, eBay, Google and the Federation of Small Businesses

EX-PHONES 4U EMPLOYEES Awarded 90 days’ pay at the end of a two-year redundancy case

THREE ‘Make the Air Fair’ campaign aimed at pressuring Ofcom on spectrum ownership hits 100,000 signups

Ups & downs B2B MOBILE SALES Panasonic’s report says increased device lifespan cutting annual business device spend by 33%

AVAYA Files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US with debts in the area of £4.8b

QUALCOMM Share price plummets as yet another anti-trust investigation is announced, this time by the American FTC

BAD MONTH

Movers A look at who has changed role recently JON FRENCH

MATT BIRD

CLODAGH MURPHY

OLIVER SCHULTE

WAS:

WAS:

WAS:

WAS:

MICROSOFT ASIA PACIFIC GM

TALKTALK OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

ECLIPSE MD

BULLITT GROUP CEO OF MOBILE

NOW:

NOW:

HMD WESTERN EUROPE VP The ex HTC EMEA VP is back in Europe and looking to oversee Nokia’s attempted return to Western European markets.

LINKUK GM Bird will oversee the city rollout of its street units, providing free calls, device charging, Wi-Fi and local data to users

TIMICO COO Joining from rival KCom’s Eclipse subdivision, Murphy will now oversee cloud service provider Timico and its 15,000 clients.

NOW:

NOW:

HMD CHIEF STRATEGY & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OFFICER Schulte joins a long list of industry heavyweights who’ve turned up at HMD.

www.mobiletoday.co.uk January 2017

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Qualcomm faces a bitter Apple FOLLOWING news of the FTC launching an anti-trust complaint against global telco Qualcomm, Apple has joined the party with its own suit, accusing Qualcomm of charging ‘excessive royalties’ and withholding payments in retaliation for Apple cooperating with South Korean regulators that are investigating the chip supplier. According to the lawsuit filed on 20 January, Qualcomm, which provides crucial chips used in the iPhone, charges Apple an unfair amount to license its cellular patents. Apple is also seeking nearly $1 billion in rebate payments, which it claims have been wrongfully withheld. ‘To protect this business scheme, Qualcomm has taken increasingly radical steps, most recently withholding nearly $1Bn in payments from Apple as retaliation for responding truthfully to law enforcement agencies investigating them,’ Apple said in a statement about

the lawsuit to CNNTech. ‘For many years Qualcomm has unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with, ‘Apple said in a statement to The Register. ‘Qualcomm built its business on older, legacy standards, but reinforces its dominance through exclusionary tactics and excessive royalties. Despite being just one of over a dozen companies that

contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined.’ In a response, Qualcomm’s Don Rosenberg, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, said: ‘While we are still in the process of reviewing the complaint in detail, it is quite clear that Apple’s claims are

baseless. Apple has intentionally mischaracterised our agreements and negotiations, as well as the enormity and value of the technology we have invented, contributed and shared with all mobile device makers through our licensing program. Apple has been actively encouraging regulatory attacks on Qualcomm’s business in various jurisdictions around the world, as reflected in the recent KFTC decision and FTC complaint, by misrepresenting facts and withholding information. We welcome the opportunity to have these meritless claims heard in court where we will be entitled to full discovery of Apple’s practices and a robust examination of the merits.’ Qualcomm was fined £680.76m in South Korea last month for forcing phone manufacturers into unfair patent licensing agreements in order to get its modem chips.

Impossible battery demands behind Note7 fiasco AFTER a protracted investigation, Samsung Electronics has announced the results of its investigation into the causes of Note7 ‘incidents’, in a press conference in Seoul. As very much expected, the conclusion of Samsung’s investigation laid the blame for the battery fires on the design of the batteries themselves, not on the design of the Note7 phone. However, Samsung in effect took the blame for the problems, showing that the technical demands placed on the battery by the slim design of the phone had, in effect, placed impossible demands on the battery. Samsung initiated a voluntary global recall of 2.5 million Note7 phones, citing faulty batteries, on 2 September 2016. It offered refunds or replacements, but was eventually forced to scrap the 6

January 2017

short-lived competitor to Apple’s iPhones in October, a move that wiped $US5.3 billion off Samsung’s operating profit in what has been described as one of the biggest tech failures in history. According to the findings, the problems centred on insufficient insulation material within the batteries and a design that did not give enough room to safely accommodate the batteries’ electrodes. Though believed to originate from Samsung’s subsidiary Samsung SDI and Chinese company Amperex Technology, Samsung said it was ‘taking responsibility for our failure to ultimately identify and verify the issues arising out of the battery design and manufacturing process’. Describing the investigation, a statement by Samsung read: ‘Through a large-scale testing

facility where approximately 700 Samsung researchers and engineers replicated the incidents by testing more than 200,000 fully-assembled devices and more than 30,000 batteries, Samsung finally concluded the cause of the issues. ‘We look forward to moving ahead with a renewed commitment to safety. The lessons of the past several months are now deeply

reflected in our processes and in our culture,’ the statement continued. Breaking with tradition, it’s now believed that Samsung’s next flagship has been pushed back from its usual schedule of a release at the Mobile World Congress, which begins on February 27, although it’s not known whether this is due to the Note7 failures or a wider strategy. www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Download

Sylvia Chind to leave Three THREE’S head of devices and products, Sylvia Chind, is to leave the network after 13 years at the company, and six years as head of devices. The handset expert began working for Three in 2004 as handset product manager, before working her way up the company with a continued focus on devices,

with other roles including head of branded handsets and global vendor manager. As part of her tenure as head of devices and products, Chind also played an important part in the Mobile Industry Award’s annual judging panel, using her decade-earned expertise to help discern suitable winners in

each category. Three released a statement to Mobile that said: ‘Sylvia Chind has left her role as head of devices at Three UK. She made a big contribution to our business during her time in the role adding many new devices to our portfolio. We are now recruiting for a replacement.’

Replacing the Cornerstone Phones 4U wages for staff

O2 AND Vodafone’s mastsharing agreement is under negotiation before renewal, with Vodafone looking for more localised autonomy, according to anonymous network sources reported by The Telegraph. Cornerstone goes all the way back to 2012 and saw the two networks agree to share newly constructed masts, with O2 taking the east of the UK and Vodafone taking the west. This aimed to not only reduce the cost of network expansion, but as revealed by Mobile’s investigation on mast rental

agreements, to also create a combined renegotiation strategy for reducing rent at existing sites as well. Senior industry sources claimed Cornerstone is a source of tension between the two networks. Vodafone is said to want more autonomy to expand its own network exclusively in certain key areas such as Birmingham and Manchester. Telefonica UK is apparently after long-term certainty that the agreement is to continue in order to soothe investors as it prepares its Initial Public Offering. While there may be grumbling between O2 and Vodafone over the details, in the face of EE’s billion-pound emergency services network deal, Cornerstone remains a mutually beneficial means of countering this rival infrastructure investment. This is supported by Cornerstone’s signing of a five-year maintenance deal with IT engineering specialists Mitie in 2016, which is due to expire in 2021.

ONE hundred former Phones 4U staff who began court proceedings against their former employer have been awarded the equivalent of 90 days’ pay – bringing the total of successful claimants to more than 400. An ecstatic former employee involved in the case told Mobile: ‘We won the court case today, power to the little people over big companies!’ The ruling in the two-year-old case, which concluded in mid-January, finds that the retailer failed in its statutory duty to inform and consult its workforce prior to making mass redundancies. The claim by the staff involved

Protective Award compensation against Phones 4U via the company’s administrators PWC, began in late 2014. Speaking to Mobile, Morrish associate solicitor Daniel Kindell, who worked on the case, clarified that many of the staff who were successful were from the company’s HQ and the biggest stores, as the law requires 20 staff at each workplace to qualify. Although there’s unlikely to be any money left to pay out the 90 days’ wages, the government’s National Insurance Fund will now pay the staff the equivalent of eight week’s wages.

Odd call: Space mission PANASONIC has tested its Toughpad rugged tablet range by sending two products into near-space, where they survived sub-zero temperatures before plunging back to earth at over 250 miles per hour. The Toughpad FZ-N1 handheld and FZ-G1 tablet were sent up

over 34,000 metres hanging from meteorological balloons and surrounded by cameras to film the journey. The devices survived temperatures of -67 Celsius before the balloons exploded and the devices plummeted back to earth.

www.mobiletoday.co.uk January 2017

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INVESTIGATES

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it The mobile phone repair market is growing, but are manufacturers holding it back? Chris Jenkins

A

recent Motorola survey of six countries showed that someone breaks their smartphone screen every two seconds, and that 21% of smartphone owners are using their phone with a cracked screen. That’s a lot of potential repair work, and this doesn’t even touch on other common problems such as water damage. Yet a recent Envirofone survey showed that a third of users put up with a cracked screen rather than face the cost of having it repaired, and smaller repair businesses are claiming that manufacturers are holding back their business by keeping parts costs high, creating difficulties with warranties and influencing opinion against independent repairers. So who is really making money out of the mobile repair market? The four main groups involved are small independents, official repair channels such as Apple’s own, the increasingly popular high-street franchise chains, and large service providers that undertake repairs on behalf of manufacturers or retailers.

are plans to open at 35 locations in London over the next 18 months. It also has a Central London walk-in store, and a pick-up and return courier service operating in Zone 1. In terms of volume, the largest repair services are the highly visible high-street operations such as Carphone Warehouse’s Geek Squad, which handles 250,000 repairs a year, and third-party specialists who will take on work for a number of manufacturers or retailers, or even direct from the consumer via websites. Kevin Gunter, director of UK&I Services for Dixons Carphone, says that the real challenge for a repair operation is to maintain quality: ‘There are 10 million handsets within the market, and there is a real gap in service quality,’ he says. ‘We want to be the ones to address this, providing an all-around better experience for customers.’ The main requirement of customers, says Gunter, is that the repair is done quickly. ‘With

increasing demand for same-day service, we’ve recently launched a new concept store in Swindon, Wiltshire, which includes a trial for a full repair service on-site, allowing customers to get their phones fixed within hours,’ says Gunter. ‘The store houses the same stateof-the-art equipment found at Carphone Warehouse’s main 750,000sq ft repair hub, and offers the same level of service as that which can be found in any large-scale repair operation.’ On the issue of quality, Gunter adds: ‘We want to provide complete flexibility and peace of mind to customers by offering a same-day service, and with full accreditation we can fulfil this’. Less immediately visible to the consumer are the third-party repair services such as Premiere Eurocom (Premeuro), founded by Raj Patel in 1988. Premeuro provides both in and out of warranty repair, refurbishment and BER Recovery solutions for MVNOs, handling more than 25,000 units per month at its 10,000 square foot facility in

Big and small At the smaller end of the scale – if only in the size of its premises – is Lovefone, which is opening up the world’s tiniest repair shops inside British red telephone booths. The first of its kind opened in August 2016 on Greenwich High Street, and there

8

January 2017

Fairphone’s handsets can be repaired by the user

North London. Patel says: ‘Many PAYG or SIM-only MVNOs still need to provide a repair solution for their customers when their phones stop working. We are able to provide both a walk-in repair solution for fast turnaround (30 minutes), or completely secure reverse logistics for MVNOs and their customers across the UK.’ Premeuro can also provide out-of-warranty repairs for insurance providers, as well as servicing the Recommerce (or ‘buy- back’) industry, and providing BER (Beyond Economical Repair) recovery and asset recovery. Handling devices from Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Yota and CAT, Premeuro offers a threemonth warranty on all repairs (for the same fault), and provides BER recovery services for distributors. The company claims 98% recovery, back to either Grade A or Grade B stock, allowing distributors to put these products safely back into stock at a substantial uplift in price.

Customer aversion So how do these different repair industry channels attract business? Cost and speed of repair are the main competition points. A Motorola survey indicates that 50% of phone damage is caused by the device simply being dropped, but customers can react negatively when they realise that the cost of repair can be high and is not covered under warranty. Research commissioned by recycling specialist Envirofone

www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Mobile phone repairs

He also points out that the government is responsible for holding manufacturers to account for the environmental impact of their products. ‘An iPhone requires 95kg of C02 to manufacture – that environmental cost is not accounted for, and we feel that the government should incentivise manufacturers to build devices that last longer and are easier to repair, upgrade and recycle.’

Rising cost

Lovefone’s telephone booth based repair service in action

suggests that almost 26% of UK adults have cracked their mobile phone screen, and one in three never get it fixed, waiting for their contract to come to an end – 21% with 12 months or longer left on their contract. Richard Mavers, director of group marketing and online strategy at Envirofone, says: ‘The fact that so many of us choose to put up with a smashed phone screen for so long suggests that not enough people know the options out there for getting a new handset. ‘To fix a cracked smartphone screen can cost around £150, but many people will be able to trade in their broken handset and get a replacement before their contract ends, often for much less than that.’ Insurance (either on a household policy or through a manufacturer) may cover repairs, but this isn’t cheap either. The AppleCare+ insurance package for the iPhone 6 and 7 costs £119, and covers repair or replacement for up to two incidents of accidental damage, each subject to an excess fee of £25 for screen damage, or £79 for any other damage. There’s also a degree of coverage on batteries and accessories, as well as a software support service. The cost of this sort of cover may explain why many customers rely instead on third-party repairers. www.mobiletoday.co.uk

Using this route will usually void any manufacturer warranties, so it’s common for independent repairers to offer their own warranty scheme.

Difficult manufacturers But the businesses at the smaller end of the scale are voicing concerns that third-party repairers are being held back by the attitudes of manufacturers. Lovefone CEO Rob Kerr says: ‘Mobile device repair as a category has grown rapidly since the introduction of the iPhone, while traditional PC repair has declined. We see two big challenges facing the industry. The first is the growing tendency of manufacturers to create devices that are difficult or impossible to repair. An example is Samsung, and the use of adhesives to attach screen assemblies, which often require a repairer to break parts of the device (the back casing) to open the device. The use of adhesives also means that reusable components such as the LCD are broken during disassembly, which is very wasteful. ‘The second challenge is the unwillingness of manufacturers to provide access to genuine spare parts for their devices along with information on repair guidance to the third-party

industry. There are accredited repairers for manufacturers that operate out of large depots for warranty and insurance repairs, however there is a huge third-party repair industry for older devices (second, third, fourth generation) that require repair and maintenance that is completely ignored (and in the case of Apple vilified) by manufacturers. Can you imagine having a Volkswagen Golf that could only be serviced by VW? There is a multi-billion dollar part industry in China that fills the gap here.’ Kerr continues: ‘Ironically, manufacturers such as Apple are responsible for creating a vibrant and healthy third-party repair industry with great product design, low model fragmentation and very repairable devices. It also goes out of its way to make it as difficult as possible for repair companies to service iPhones by not making official parts available on the open market, voiding the warranty on devices if they have been touched by any third party, and generally tarring the entire repair industry with the same brush.’ But Kerr sees promise in companies such as iFixit and The Restart Project, ‘who promote repair as a noble profession and publish tear-downs and repair guides for DIYers and the third-party repair industry’.

Some repair enterprises are disrupting the industry, offering not only an alternative to the manufacturers’ own repair operations, but also a different approach to social concerns. Cracked It is a social enterprise specialising in screen repairs, which runs clinics in central London. Aiming to complete repairs in under an hour, Cracked It also runs regular pop-up clinics in workplaces, and is trialling an on-demand service where the tech travels to the customer’s home, office or café. Cracked It serves a social purpose too, training 16-to-25-year-olds deemed at risk through gangs, crime or anti-social behaviour. Founder and CEO Josh Babarinde says: ‘We harness the alluring elements of gang membership – gaining income, self-worth and belonging – and positively incorporate them into our enterprise curriculum. ‘Our flagship programme is the Cracked It Bootcamp, an intensive five-day course where at-risk young people learn to repair three iPhone models, and how to market their talents. Our bootcamp culminates in a stall that the young people run in Spitalfields Market, where they’re able to sell their repair services to the public and showcase their talents.’ Babarinde agrees that price of parts and the attitude of manufacturers can be challenging. ‘We want to keep prices as low and fair as possible, but this is very difficult when the price of hardware can often be very high – especially for the iPhone 6s and 7 models. January 2017

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INVESTIGATES

A repair under factory conditions

iPhone 6 cracked screen replacement charges G@dgetClinic – £59.99 Lovefone – £79 QuickMobileFix – £99.99 Geek Squad – £119 Apple – £126.44

Moreover, the price of hardware fluctuates regularly, so our margins change from month to month. Prices of hardware for older models (eg. the iPhone 5 series) tend to be more stable. ‘The biggest impact that manufacturers had on our work was when there was public outcry over Apple’s ‘Error 53’. Many people were concerned that repairs conducted by third-party organisations like us would result in their iPhones becoming permanently locked due to Apple’s accidental rolling out of this factory test. It was put right fairly quickly but made people cautious of third-party repair organisations for a while. We’re doing everything we can to restore the trust lost throughout that fiasco.’ At the higher end of the recycling scale, GreenTech Distribution describes itself as a hybrid distributor of mobile phones and other devices, combining recycling, logistics and fulfilment. It carries out Environment Agency accredited recycling of old/BER handsets, components and other WEEE materials; carries out global product remarketing through multiple channels to maximise return – including bulk distribution, e-commerce, and drop-ship – sources and supplies refurbished and graded handsets, and performs value add reverse logistics processes such as customer returns processing, IW

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January 2017

repair, refurbishment and remarketing. MD Clive Merrick says: ‘We’re not a handset distributor or recycler in the traditional sense. Whereas rivals solely focus on the trade-in element of recycling, we offer a broader range of services.’ And even the largest repair and recycling businesses now face competition, with a move towards DIY repairs. Amsterdam-based social enterprise Fairphone, for instance, sells the Fairphone 2, a long-lasting, modular approach designed to be ethically manufactured, repairable, and customisable by its users. The phone is made to be easy to open, and the most commonly damaged component, the screen, can be replaced in under a minute without any tools. The life cycle assessment (LCA) of the Fairphone 2 shows that a repair scenario based on five years of use would reduce CO2 emissions by about 30%, and that the phone’s modular construction did not significantly increase its environmental impact over its full lifespan – certainly factors which may influence the product choice of the ethically aware customer.

Trust issues But can customers rely on all third-party repairers for reliable and cost-effective work? Businesses such as iMend, a nationwide repair service specialising in Apple and Samsung devices, have fully-

trained and DBS cleared technicians, including specialists in areas such as micro-soldering, system diagnostics and water damage. The company also has an apprenticeship scheme in place to bring on new talent. But a recent ASA ruling against another repairer, claiming inaccurately to use only genuine parts, revealed a history of dozens of complaints – so how can customers find a reliable and cost-effective repair service? Aware of the difficulty of comparing various claims and prices, MendMyDevice has positioned itself as ‘the Uber for mobile device repairs’. Mend My Device allows consumers to search for mobile device repairers locally, request quotes and choose a suitable repair shop. The platform has been in beta testing for several months and has now opened up for repair shop owners to register. Registration is free, with an optional package containing premium features and services. So far 77 repair shops have set themselves up on the service, which is now generating daily leads. Founder Dan Stevens, who also founded Case Hut, says he built MendMyDevice.com to make the selection process simple for the consumer. ‘I see it on Facebook a lot; statuses asking where to get their phone repaired, what it will cost etc. Google struggles to cater for this process.’ He goes on to say: ‘We have seen

an uptake in people requesting repairs on a location-based aspect, but with the view of either an on-site repair or delivery service. There is also a real customer demand for a reputable service. Customers now carry a wealth of information on their devices, and are becoming ever-more security conscious. One repair company we have seen doing this very well is iFix (with five locations and growing). It has the concept right, the store presentation, and the questions answered transparently by most consumers. ‘The challenge for the repair industry is price point. The consumer’s knowledge on what a repair should cost and the parts they receive, or having a consumer contact us saying a friend or colleague was charged less, or asking why a service is so expensive, is challenging. ‘Some repairers respond by using sub-par parts – but for example if an iPhone 6 has a Retina screen replaced with a sub-par screen, it is no longer Retina quality. The consumer may not pick up on this at first, but will eventually, but by then it’s too late. ‘But the opportunity is there to provide the customer with a service where they feel secure in handing over their device, and receiving a proper repair job. Combining this with a retail store front allows for accessory up-sells and a memorable service.’

www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Power 50 presents

Power 50 presents

David Dyson Chief Executive Officer, Three 2016 Power 50 rank: 4th

The only network CEO to keep their post throughout 2016, Three’s leader isn’t just trying to shape the company, but the entire market as well Leadership As CEO of Three, David Dyson has developed the company into a significant force in the UK mobile market, taking it from a price-led market disruptor to an established name with a loyal customer base, while maintaining its public perception as a consumer champion. In 2015 he was rated the world’s third best boss, and best in the UK, in a survey by Glassdoor Recruitment, with one employee saying Dyson was the best CEO they had come across: ‘Management communication is amazing, with regular monthly presentations from the CEO to all staff members, which is the best communication I have ever received from management.’ The company also came seventh in the Best Places to Work 2015 Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards. As a highly visible front man for Three’s market proposition, Dyson has ensured that the company punches above its weight in terms of consumer awareness.

Innovation Dyson helped to develop an Inspiring Leaders programme designed to ‘reconnect the brand with its mission to make mobile better’. In explaining this strategic shift from a budget service to a market innovator, Dyson said: ‘Three only exists because a lack of competitiveness and innovation within the mobile industry led the

www.mobiletoday.co.uk

UK Government to allow the introduction of a new operator back in 2003. To achieve growth, we had to price our services at a discount… ‘When I was appointed CEO in 2011, my first priority was to reconnect the brand with its mission to make mobile better… But to reinvent the rules of mobile and live up to our brand promise, we had to develop leaders to be creative and bold. It wasn’t enough to have great ideas, we also had to bring them to market first.’

Breakthrough Dyson can claim significant improvements in Three’s network infrastructure and customer satisfaction such as all-you-can-eat data, 4G at no extra cost, and an international data roaming service. But early failure to acquire network spectrum, and the EU’s blocking of CK Hutchison’s attempt to purchase O2 UK from Telefonica, means that Dyson now has to fight to expand Three’s services. A National Audit Office review of the 2013 auction concluded that Three won what little spectrum it did at the lowest price possible under conditions designed to make its life easier, but was this a shrewd cost saving strategy or a sign of insufficient financial commitment?

Headline maker Dyson certainly knows how to make headlines, challenging established policies and

principles with provocative statements and distinctive, unconventional marketing. He queried consumer appetite for ‘quad-play’ while many rivals scrambled to provide bundled services, and put Ofcom CEO Sharon White in the spotlight with the Make the Air Fair campaign. Urging Ofcom to limit BT’s purchasing power in the next spectrum auction, Dyson said: ‘The UK has the most unbalanced spectrum ownership of all the countries in Europe. We need competitive restraints to stop the imbalance getting worse’.

Financial muscle After working with KPMG in Hong Kong and the UK, Dyson joined Hutchison in Hong Kong in 1998, worked at Three Sweden and Three Australia, before joining Three UK in 2006 as CFO. Becoming COO in 2009, with responsibility for balancing commercial and operational issues as well as a focus on improving customer experience, he was then appointed CEO of Three UK in July 2011. CK Hutchison, the Hong Kong conglomerate that owns Three, made UK losses for almost a decade as it built up business at a cost of about £11bn. It went into profit in 2012, although Dyson still states the market is difficult for smaller players. Three UK’s financials for the first half of 2016 showed earnings before tax growing to £231m, with capital expenditure increasing year-on-year by 9% as Three ramped up network investment. Customer adds reached 191,000, but average margin per user decreased by 1%, falling to £12.81 per month.

Ones to watch Sharon White CEO, Ofcom Portrayed as a consumer champion by Three’s ‘Make the Air Fair’ campaign, and often described as one of the most influential business people in the UK. Chris Pateman Chief Executive, FCS The Federation of Communication Services has put its weight behind Three’s Make the Air Fair campaign, supporting the argument that the mobile telephony market needs a fair balance of radio spectrum to encourage competition.

January 2017

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Interview

Nick Birtwhistle

New year, new programme Vodafone’s new partner programme went live at the beginning of January. Behind the redevelopment is Nick Birtwistle, director of partnerships & alliances, who spoke with Mobile to explain the new unified comms focus and how dealers are reacting to changing end-user demands

The first 100 partners accredited under the new scheme were proud not just of their new status, but of the new programme as well. Assimilated Communications director Peter Szirtes called it, ‘a fantastic platform to use to expand our business development opportunities’ while Olive CCO Paul Butler described the model as ‘truly industry-leading’. Having also overseen the previous redevelopment of its partner programme in 2013, Vodafone’s director of partnerships and alliances described the evolution of the portal: ‘Historically I think our partner programme has been very well received in the marketplace but it’s been a mobile-only programme. So when Vodafone and Cable & Wireless came together we suddenly had access to a whole load of fixed line reseller partners who basically said, “look I like what you’re talking about, but it’s a mobile-only programme and it doesn’t do anything for me”. Now 12

January 2017

there’s a relevance, and it helps answer a lot of questions that people had. ‘I think it’s going to help the channel, having a partner system that stands for something, that gives something back.’

The unified comms transition Dealers in the B2B mobile space began expanding their services long ago, with some even leaving mobile altogether in favour of increasingly lucrative cloud, fixed telephony and unified comms services. For many, however, mobile continues to be a cornerstone of dealer offerings across the UK, and for some it

remains the main focus. Explaining how the new portal and programme will change its relationships with dealers across this spectrum, Nick Birtwistle told Mobile: ‘We’ve not been secret in that our business has evolved from a mobile company to a UC company – we want to make sure we are working more and more with partners who are in that UC space. The new system will help our partners get from A to B, and also attract new partners that traditionally we’ve not worked with. ‘It’s also about growing a better, more capable channel. If you look at what customers are doing you can see where the market is going;

We’ve not been secret in that our business has evolved from a mobile company to a UC company

it’s evolving rapidly and customers aren’t seeing fixed and mobile separately like they used to. Now it’s frankly about the adoption of cloud and IT services.’ Clients viewing fixed, mobile and other services as a combined offering may be behind convergence in products and services on offer, but it may be a factor behind consolidation as well. Birtwistle said: ‘There’s a lot of consolidation going on – especially in the past six months – and I don’t expect that to change. Those who are just fixed and those that are just mobile are clearly finding it harder now because the market dynamics are changing. I think if they’re not able to change themselves they are going to get left behind.’

A portal to another sales dimension The new portal was built over two years featuring feedback from a select group of partners. From this, Vodafone added a range of tools to help ‘level the playing field’ by providing 150 hours of www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Nick Birtwhistle

Swindon-based Excalibur Communications received ‘Total Communications’ partner status in Vodafone’s new year’s honours list

training, marketing material and strategies, social media plans and sales material. Detailing the predicted effects of the tools, Nick Birtwistle explained: ‘I think the real challenge for the smaller partners is being able to appear bigger than they are so they can compete credibly with the bigger players. The new programme helps with this.’ With rival partner portals such as Plan.com with their own upgrade in the works, Mobile asked why the portal seems to be playing an increasingly prominent role in aligning dealers with the provider’s services and strategies, and the director answered: ‘I think the portal is about putting partners in control of their customers and enabling them to serve their customers better. You have to embrace that as a strategy if you want to really deliver on customer experience. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do, it’s quite encompassing and we’ll continue with our roadmap of

The market is large enough for everyone to co-exist portal enhancements as we move forward. The more we can take from where partners have relied on Vodafone’s infrastructure and people, and place in the portal to allow partners to self serve, the better. It’s clearly the right thing to do.’ On the comparison between their new portal’s features with rivals, Birtwistle added: ‘Really, we benchmark ourselves against other providers and speak to our partners who’ll tell us what works and doesn’t work, and that to be honest with you is the main driver for us. I don’t want to waste time developing something that may look nice with some swanky functionality but will never get used, especially if the partners don’t see value in it.’

Big enough for the both of us All networks with a B2B offering have increased the range of services they offer throughout 2016. Both O2 and BT now offer Apple business device management, while Vodafone launched its own superfast broadband service for small businesses in September. Asked if networks were beginning to step on the toes of their partners, Birtwistle said: ‘We see the partners as complementing our direct channels. If you look at the market itself it is kind of segmented into those customers that would happily buy direct from the network and do so, and those who have a different set of requirements – some for

example want a service wrap that the bigger players find difficult to do. The market is large enough for everyone to co-exist. The way we look at it and the way we’re developing our partners as well, is very much around if a customer wants to get Vodafone from a partner they can; if they want to buy it direct they can do that too.’

www.mobiletoday.co.ukJanuary 2017

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January around the world Africa Nigeria – sub-standard phone sting Two Chinese nationals were arrested in Lagos by The Standards Organisation of Nigeria for importing fake and substandard mobiles, following consumer complaints. Referring to one of the detained, Nigerian Director General Osita Aboloma released a statement saying: ‘Based on the information we have gathered and what we found on ground in the office and on the import documentation, it indicates that he is one of the leading suppliers of sub-standard phones in Nigeria.’ Kenya – Maasai experience Gear VR demo Samsung visited Kenya’s Great Rift Valley to give one of its most remote Samsung Gear VR demos including videos from the Great Barrier Reef, the French Alps, rollercoasters and busy cityscapes. The footage of the demos was filmed on the Samsung Gear 360 camera and is available in 360 VR from the company’s Youtube page. Samsung UK Mobile VP Conor Pierce said: ‘The reactions from the nomadic herders of Mongolia and the Maasai people of East Africa have been amazing to watch and it is incredible to hear their feedback.’

Asia Myanmar – Fourth operator announced Vietnamese network Viettel alongside a consortium of Myanmar-based businesses has won governmental approval to launch a mobile network in Myanmar. The new and yet-to-be-named network is to begin operation some time in 2018, and is planning to run as a 3G network in competition with the existing networks – Telenor, Ooredoo and state-owned MPT. The consortium plans to achieve 95% coverage within three years. India – Vodafone quadruples 4G deals Vodafone in India is to increase its 4G data allowances to up to four times its current 14

January 2017

amounts in order to defend against rivals eating into its market share, especially newcomer Reliance Jio, which signed up 54 million subscribers in its first three months. The newly invigorated market rumbled Vodafone’s plans when it reduced the pricing of its Indian arm by around £4.33 billion and knocked its planned IPO in the country back to late 2017/2018.

Oceania Australia – 2,500 Note7s still at large Despite the battery being limited to 60%, warning signs at airports and not a single Australian network allowing the devices to connect, roughly 5% of the 51,060 Note7 devices sold in the country are still unaccounted for. A statement by Samsung Australia suggests the company is lobbying Australia’s aviation authorities and airlines to finally remove the Note7 flight warnings, now so many of the devices are out of circulation.

Europe Denmark and Norway – Vodafone and TDC Group renew partnership Vodafone has renewed its previous 15-year agreement with Scandinavian mobile operator TDC Group. The deal gives multinationals present in both markets access to Vodafone’s enterprise services including IoT and mobile communications. It also means customers on both networks will be able to use the other’s high-speed data when roaming abroad. Czechia – Vodafone and O2 play monopoly and lose to regulator Czech anti-monopoly authority UOHS has hit Vodafone and O2 with a CZK 99m fine (£3.18m) for anti-competitive agreements that saw the operators refuse to use third party to interconnect users, even when the third party offered a better service for either the operator or the end user. The court case has been rumbling on for over 14 years and it’s not over

yet, with at least one of the operators said to be contesting the fine, which is to be split equally between the two providers.

North America US – What happens at CES, stays at CES Las Vegas gets a little bit weirder every January when the Consumer Electronics Show comes to town. Alongside the key trends of autonomous vehicles, AI systems, connected home products and AR/VR, sits the bizarre – connected hairbrushes, phone radiation-proof underwear and medically conspicuous memory-boosting headbands. Canada – Fast internet a ‘basic right’ The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has said that access to 50Mb/s download speeds is a basic right. Genesis Technical Systems, a Canadian company that helps networks get faster speeds from their existing copper infrastructure, applauded the decision, with CEO Peter Khoury stating: ‘Achieving higher broadband speeds will offer enormous socio-economic benefits to Canadian communities that currently have poor internet service by allowing effective teleworking, telemedicine and new opportunities in education.’

South America Chile – Cisco Jasper give Entel users IoT power Chile’s largest telco, Entel, has signed a partnership agreement with Cisco Jasper in order to bring IoT solutions to its business users. This includes fleet management, security, retail, health and metering functionalities. Entel corporate market VP Julián San Martín said: ‘Businesses throughout Chile are pursuing IoT to help reduce costs, introduce new services and drive new revenues.’ Cisco works with 120 mobile operators worldwide, also recently adding operators in Hong Kong and Taiwan to its roster. www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Huawei special edition

Huawei MD: ‘Our 2017 focus is premium products’ Huawei’s London-based global P9 flagship launch in 2016 announced not just the device, but also the arrival of Huawei as a powerful force in the UK market. It was the year the manufacturer secured a presence in every major retailer and the year in which a unique strategy for the UK was introduced. In his first interview, Huawei UK Consumer Group MD James Jie reveals the details of this unique strategy and how the P9 changed the perception of Huawei in the UK consumer space. With 139 million devices shipped in 2016 including over 10 million P9 and P9 plus sales, Jie describes Huawei as being ‘in a very healthy situation’, citing strong overseas sales in Western Europe and an increasing average selling price. Detailing previous challenges and how the strength of the P9 overcame them, Jie says: ‘In the past three to five years it’s been difficult to prove our capabilities and develop co-operation with important players in the UK market, but the P9 has made a real difference. ‘The P9 is the most competitive product Huawei has released, with the Leica partnership in particular being very popular in the UK. I think the Leica-Huawei partnership is important, it’s based on the value we add to each other. For instance, Leica helped to establish Huawei with the UK audience, but it was the other way around in Asia. ‘I think this is similar to the relationships we’ve built with our channel partners in 2016 through the strength of the devices we’ve developed and the strength of our marketing partnerships with Scarlett Johansson and Henry Cavill for instance,’ says Jie, referring to the Hollywood stars of the company’s advertising campaigns. Having played a central role in the development of Huawei’s premium devices as head of the P series beginning with the P6, Jie explains the role of the company’s latest flagship. ‘The UK market is very concentrated, the big five take over 80%, especially of the www.mobiletoday.co.uk www.mobiletoday.co.uk

James Jie accepts Huawei’s Camera Phone of the Year win

pay-monthly tariffs. Our UK strategy is very clear and it’s the only country the strategy applies to. ‘In the UK we broke through into the market not as we had in other countries – through budget devices – but through the premium tier of devices. Our biggest seller in the UK is the P9, so the UK is a special market, so it must have a special strategy. This success of the P9 has laid the groundwork for Huawei’s future releases, the confidence is now there.’ Jie summarises the transformative impact in the UK of this premium handset first approach on Huawei’s place in the market as: ‘We’re no longer a challenger, we’re a contender.’ Huawei has good reason to be confident in the UK. The hyper-competitive Chinese domestic market sees all six of the world’s biggest international mobile brands play an active role, alongside a number of Chinese brands, yet Huawei is the only Chinese manufacturer to break out of the domestic market and make rapid progress overseas in western markets. Jie tells Mobile: ‘I think if you can be number one in China, in the most competetive and crowded devices market in the world, we can have the confidence of success elsewhere as well.’

Asked if the success of the P9 launch in Europe had changed the company’s approach with its upcoming Mate 9 release, the Huawei boss says: ‘I think what we originally thought is the Mate 9 is more adept for business users, so at the beginning we wanted to concentrate more on the P series, but what we’ve seen as it has been released across Europe is the Mate 9 selling out and winning top consumer awards – in Germany in particular.’ Elaborating on the business opportunities presented by the upcoming Mate 9 UK release, he adds: ‘Big-screen device sales have increased in Europe by 12%, so I think for next year there are opportunities, not just with the operator’s B2B and enterprise channels but also with Exertis. It’s a huge opportunity for us, our product is ready for B2B, the phablet is perfect for business scenarios, so I think there’s potential for growth for Huawei here through the Mate 9.’ Now stocked across the UK’s high-street estates, with additional exclusive devices in Carphone Warehouse and Three, Huawei built and grew its field marketing proposition in 2016 and intends to continue this in 2017. Jie emphasises the importance of building up the company’s field marketing team: ‘What we have found is that we benefit so much from even having just one territory sales manager compared to without one. It’s 10 times better and we must keep going with this strategy.’ He adds: ‘The store staff are so important for us, so to have them feeling confident and engaged is a real priority. Our training team in the UK is the biggest we have in the whole of Western Europe.’ With an increasing number of sales channels, revenues on the up and expanding levels of consumer awareness, Jie believes Huawei is well positioned to capitalise on its success in the UK. ‘We’ve proved we can break into the UK. My personal view is that in 2017 we will keep going, and we will be more focused on the premium products to build our brand around devices like the P9.‘ January 2017

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HUAWEI

Huawei Mate 9 The Huawei Mate 9 offers exceptional sharpness. Its second-generation Leica Dual Camera renders images in unprecedented detail for images that take you from mere Hybrid zoom photography to artistry Go Faster

Stunning looks

Ground-breaking interplay between hardware and software means your Huawei Mate 9 is born fast and stays fast.

Gorgeous ergonomic curves and rounded corners create a striking marriage of form and function.

• Processor: octa-core CPU (2.4GHz Cortex A73 + 1.8GHz A53) 18% faster performance • Graphics: Octa-core Mali-G71 octa-core GPU 180% performance boost • RAM: 4GB DDR3 40% higher frequency

A smarter battery A toolkit of technologies that automatically saves power, letting you do more, for longer. • 4,000 mAh battery 20h 4G browsing • Huawei SuperCharge 50% faster

First shot selfies Sports an 8MP front camera with autofocus and speedy selfie features

Business Secure, powerful and ready for the workplace, the Mate 9 is unrivalled as a business device. • Directional audio: 4 noise cancelling mics • Huawei Share auto sharing between EMUI 5.0 devices • Security first encryption, separation and 3D fingerprint scanning

– What the experts think Mobile Choice ‘You don’t have many choices if you’re looking for a flagship phablet but the lack of choice doesn’t mean you have to compromise quality. The Huawei Mate 9 is one of the best Android devices available just now, including the crop of smaller ones. ‘The Mate 9 is a fantastic phone with all the right components to elevate it above the competition. Huawei has amped up the processor, camera and the RAM, so concentrated on all the right areas to make sure that the Mate 9 is one of the best value-for-money propositions around.’ January January2017 2017

Allows users to take high-quality pictures, even at range.

• 5.9” FHD Largest on the high street • 30% thinner bezels • Right for you Five demure colour options

Huawei Mate 9

16 2

Sensational night shooting Dual camera pixel-binning on both lenses doubles image brightness in low-light. OIS

Brilliant video 4K video recording with optical image stabilisation. Uses the H.265 video compression standard, allowing for video file size compression of up to 50%.

Available from Three on contract from 13th of January

Tech Radar

T3

‘The Huawei Mate 9 is a phablet that’s built to last, with an impressive camera, powerful processor and great battery life. ‘If you’re after a phone with fantastic battery life, the Mate 9 is well up to the job; you could even get two days of use from a single charge. And for when you do run low, there’s fast-charging to get you going again quickly. ‘It’s also one of the most powerful phones around, so if you’re a power user this is the perfect setup. Another plus point is the software – it’s based on Android 7 Nougat, and right now that’s a rarity on phablets that aren’t made by Google.’

‘The Mate 9 has an impressive number of business features pre-installed. Firstly, it can hold two accounts for apps such as Facebook, which should make switching between work and family life a bit easier. ‘It also has four directional microphones – this is great for the audio recording app, as they each record to a different channel, allowing you to mute background noise or a specific voice. It also improves call quality. ‘The Huawei Mate 9 is the best smartphone to hail from the People’s Republic. It has a great 5.9-inch display, and brilliant battery life, thanks to the large 4,000 mAh unit.’

www.mobiletoday.co.uk www.mobiletoday.co.uk


HUAWEI

Huawei P9 The Huawei P9 captures brilliant colour, striking black and white, and the emotional appeal of Leica images. Winner of Camera Phone of the Year at the 2016 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards Style & elegance Created by some of the world’s top industrial designers to achieve a visually stunning design. • 5.2” FHD display 96% colour saturation • Confident design 3 year warranty • Right for you four demure colour options

Super connected With leading reception-boosting technology, ease of use sits at the core of every P9. • Signal+ 2.0 overcomes signal issues • Wi-Fi+ 2.0 seamless network browsing

Staying power keeps up with even the most avid of users, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Ground-breaking dual-lens IMAGEsmart 5.0 technology, and a 1.25µm pixel size on both lenses gives even quick snaps a professional quality

• Speedy charging Type C USB charging • 3,000 mAh battery Never miss a moment • Ultra power mode get up to four days’ use

A professional camera effect Achieve professional effects through the powerful array of unique functions.

Process this An expertly tuned, lightning-fast device, which breezes through even the most intensive of tasks. • RAM: 3GB DDR3 optimised memory use • Processor: octa-core CPU (2.5GHz A72 + 1.8 GHz A53) superfast app use • Storage: 32GB expand by up to 128GB

Huawei P9

– What the experts think Mobile Choice

Clear, fast, precise imagery Capture sharp images with its built in dual core image signal processor

‘Huawei has taken on Apple in the looks department and has produced a device that not just takes on the iPhone but has also delivered one of the most beautiful smartphones in the market.’ ‘Beautifully built, seamless juxtaposition of metal and glass and the slim and light body cloak a superfast processor, one of the best fingerprint sensors I have seen, great RAM and expandable memory. Huawei has hit the ball out of the park with the P9, which isn’t just a step up from the P8 but a reimagined flagship.’

Be ready, quicker Laser focus, depth measurement and contrast work together to give speed, depth and clarity.

Tech Radar

Gizmodo

‘One of the best looking and performing phones the company has ever produced. There’s a lot to love here in terms of the design, the spec and how everything comes together to work. ‘Paired with a strong camera that works perfectly on auto-mode and a fingerprint scanner that boots up the phone in a matter of milliseconds, it’s hard not to recommend the Huawei P9.’ ‘With a solid amount of storage as standard, and all the spec you’d hope for, you won’t be disappointed by what the Huawei P9 can do on a daily basis.’

‘The P9 is more than just it’s camera. Whilst super thin, it also feels like a solid, premium device in the hand. The large screen and small 1.7mm bezels also makes it easy to use without sacrificing screen real estate. Should You Buy It? In a word, yes. The phone takes great pics, while catering to both those who want to grab happy snaps without too much thought, or prefer to dig into manual settings. The build quality is top notch, as is the hardware and performance.’

www.mobiletoday.co.uk January 2017 www.mobiletoday.co.uk

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HUAWEI

Mate 9: Ask an expert Mobile spoke with Huawei regional trainer for the North East, Iain Jones, ahead of the launch of the Mate 9, to find out a little bit more about the company’s latest flagship device What were your first impressions of the Mate 9? Loved it, absolutely loved it. I think it’s going to be the next big thing in my opinion. What’s special about the handset? It’s a big, big screen mobile device at 5.9ins but it still feels light and ergonomic. This combo means that for users looking for a perfect device for gaming, movies, television – and even working on the go – there’s no device like it. With the 4,000 mAh battery as well, it just means you can do whatever you like on your mobile, on the go and with confidence. What’s your favourite feature? As a bit of a photographer myself, it’s got to be

the camera. We’ve taken the great achievements of the P9, of the Leica collaboration and made it even better. Leica is the Rolls-Royce of lenses, and to be working as close as we are together gives users something really special. What are the store staff members in your area saying about the Mate 9? They’re excited. At Three, some of the techy guys have been reading up on the devices already on sites such as TechRadar: they’re buzzing about it, they’re excited to see the Mate 9 when it arrives. I think once the staff get the device in hand on 13 January they’ll see just how much it offers their customers.

Meet the extended Huawei Family Huawei P9 lite

Huawei MediaPad M3

Screen: 5.2in FHD RAM: 3GB Processor: Kirin 650 octa-core Memory: 16GB Battery: 3,000 mAh Cameras: 13MP rear, 8MP front Features: Cutting-edge slim design, chip-level fingerprint security

Screen: 8.4” WQXGA RAM: 4GB Processor: Kirin 950 octa-core Memory: 32/64GB Battery: 5,100mAh Cameras: 8MP rear, 8MP front Features: AKG audio technology, ClariVu 3.0 maximized colour definition

Huawei P9 Plus Screen: 5.5in FHD RAM: 4GB Processor: Kirin 955 octa-core Memory: 64GB Battery: 3,400 mAh Cameras: 12MP + 12MP rear, 8MP front Features: Leica camera, dual stereo audio modes, pressure-recognition screen

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2017 January 2017

Huawei MediaPad T2 10.0 Pro Screen: 10.1 FHD RAM: 2/3GB Processor: Snapdragon 615 octa-core Memory: 16/32GB Battery: 6,660mAh Cameras: 8MP rear, 2MP front Features: super-wide sound’, split view, multiapp/ window support

www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Analysis

Extended lifecycle

What is the industry impact? With end-users increasingly attracted to durable products, Mobile looks at how this affects different areas of the industry Extreme life cycle: Motorola’s Martin Cooper recreated the world’s first mobile phone call in 2014 using a 30 year old handset

Chris Jenkins

Manufacturers Jan Kaempfer, general manager for marketing for Panasonic Computer Product Solutions, says: ‘Businesses still waiting to implement a sustainable mobile device strategy are missing out on significant savings – on average 30% of their annual mobile device budget.’ A recent study sponsored by Panasonic Business showed that a sustainable device strategy can extend device life by around two years. Jonathan Tucker, European product marketing manager at Panasonic Business, says: ‘Businesses adopting durable devices may be looking at a five-year replacement cycle, instead of the two-year one typical of consumer products. Though the price point for these durable devices is premium, because they have high-reliability, reduced downtime and fewer tangible benefits such as contribution to CSR policy, it means that they are delivering significant financial, as well as environmental benefits.’

Dealers But there’s an obvious concern that an extended replacement cycle for devices might impact dealer revenue. Jonathan Tucker of Panasonic Business comments: ‘The move to an as-a-service model means that dealers might make less upfront, but with the increased longevity of the device comes the potential for a longer relationship with the customer. Sell-in services are an opportunity for the dealer channel. It’s a process change.’ And Lee Sparks, head of Account Management at Aerial Communications, emphasises that the long-term customer relationship can be more important than the initial sale. He says: ‘Mobile device durability has little effect on us as a dealer, because there are minimal margins in a device. The value is in the products and

services that can be billed to provide an ongoing monthly revenue. Because our pro-active account management means that a customer is contacted on a monthly basis as part of our lifecycle management, to review bills, advise of products and services that benefit the customer, or inform of industry changes and trends, we are never ‘not in contact’ with our customers.’

Distributors Richard Ferguson, former UK commercial director of Brightstar, says: ‘It can’t be good for manufacturers that they can’t rely on consumers sustaining the familiar two-year replacement cycle. But the issue isn’t just that devices are more durable, it’s the fact that the technology is no longer making quantum leaps, so there’s less incentive for consumers to replace products regularly. For operators, if they can’t rely on subsidy, they have to be able to attract customers through generous SIM-only deals. If there’s a way to retain business, it just has to be great customer service.’

Retailers Ian Fogg, senior director Mobile and Telecomms at industry analyst IHS, argues that device durability itself is not the real problem for retailers. ‘Modern smartphones are not designed to last for years – prompted

by customer demand for sleek and light designs, Apple led and others followed the trend for built-in batteries and the removal of user-serviceable parts. The real problem for retailers is that customers are hanging on to their phones for longer because it’s becoming harder to convince them that new models make it worth while upgrading. This can lead to its own problems because the phone is retained beyond its intended life. For retailers, the only way to maintain the product replacement cycle is to sell on really new features, such as VR and improved cameras, which are not available in older phones.’

Accessories manufacturers The longevity of the mobile device itself may make little difference to the accessory manufacturer. While companies such as Griffin offer cases designed to protect a phone from damage, this needn’t be a one-off purchase. ‘What we do is operate a lot of fashion, it’s our big focus,’ says Neil Edwards, Griffin EMEA MD. ‘A customer may buy a case with their phone, but they’re going into stores all the time so there’s plenty of opportunity for change. It’s like clothes; you’ve got one body, but you don’t just have one shirt do you? It’s the same – as long as we have compelling fashion brands, we can give customers the reason to repurchase.’

www.mobiletoday.co.uk January 2017

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Tech Guide

Ruggedised computing Ruggedised devices, whether tablets or 2-in-1 models, have been one of the brighter points in an otherwise-morose mobile computing market. Around a million units are sold worldwide every quarter with an average selling price of around £815

Hottest devices

From the field Getac RX10. From £2,031 ‘Clearly, given the price and the feature set, the RX10 is not for everyone. This was never Getac’s intention in the first place, and it is good to see that the manufacturer didn’t end up with a half-baked product blighted with the sort of compromises that consumer-grade devices usually come with. All in all, the RX10 is a very solid contender if you’re in the market for a ruggedised tablet. One thing that might be improved is battery life, which Getac claims should be up to eight hours, which we assume would be without 4G and with brightness set to minimum.’

Panasonic ToughBook CF-20 From £3,100 ‘The CF-20 might not look like a flagship offering, but it feels like one in the hand and performs like one under strain. It’s impressive how Panasonic has managed to keep the device relatively light while crafting it from such strong materials. Throw in an abundance of ports, a small, yet crisp and bright display, and excellent battery runtimes (which could be extended with another battery), and it adds up to make a device that leaves no stone upturned for outdoor workers. It’s not perfect though, due to its inevitably cramped keyboard and sticking trackpad, which form two minor blots on an otherwise impressive package.’

Asus Chromebook C202 From £200 ‘No one would expect Asus to build a ruggedized laptop but Google’s Chrome OS heralded a new generation of affordable rugged devices and the C202 Chromebook is built to last. Drops, spills, bumps and dents can send any device to the scrapheap, but it takes its lumps in stride. And, if something does manage to put it down for the count, it’s easy-to-repair modular design gets it back on its feet quickly. Sure, it is far from being a complete all-rounder but if all you need is a device to withstand the hardship of a classroom, this Chromebook and its ilk should fit the bill.’ Source:

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What is it? ‘From a user perspective, rugged is the computer’s ability to keep operating under all exposed working conditions. And not just once, but for the life of the unit, which can easily be three to five years. However, depending upon the kind of work being performed, what is rugged for one user may not be rugged for another.’ Handheld Group Looking to Europe ‘Panasonic has now set its sights on Europe’s rugged handheld market. In the past 12 months, our revenues in this sector have grown 55% and almost a third of the product range is now dedicated to this market. ‘Our focus is to work with a range of specialist partners to create new business solutions for our devices across a range of vertical industries, such as retail, logistics, manufacturing and the public sector.’ Sylvaine Smith, Panasonic head of partner management for Europe On demand ‘We’ve seen a massive uplift in demand in the past two to three years for Samsung’s semi-ruggedised devices that can be protected from dust and water… In a b2b environment a lot of people use phones outside so there’s a need for standalone devices that don’t need protective cases.’ Dan Manser, Ingram Micro Business development manager Damage limitation ‘The rugged smartphone market is growing, with more than 10m units sold globally in 2014 and our Cat phones portfolio appeals to those who regularly damage their existing phone due to them being used in work environments they were not built for.’ Oliver Schulte, ex-Bullitt Mobile CEO

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Sales tips

management of IT infrastructure in ways that eliminate broad swathes of the IT department. The future of the datacentre involves one guy and a dog. The dog is there to keep him from touching anything.

10 opportunities from 2017 fibre rollout

7.

Why faster broadband could offer the chance to sell more services to more businesses

1.

2.

3.

Broadband sales Fibre rollout should invigorate businesses, so there are obvious opportunities for broadband sales. A cheaper alternative to dedicated lines, Openreach’s Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) product, which is designed for SMEs, promises hundreds of thousands of businesses increased data speeds of up to 1Gbps by 2020. Initial rollout is in Bath, Bradford, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Westminster, Holborn and the City of London.

researcher Marketsandmarkets predicting growth in global cloud storage business from £15.13b in 2015, to £52.42b by 2020.

4.

4G as a transition plan Government figures show that only 2% of the UK has access to ‘full-fibre’ connection download speeds of up to 1Gbps (35 times faster than the 28.9Mbps average). With average 3G speeds of 3mbps, standard broadband at 22.8mbps, and Openreach’s ‘G.fast’ copper line technology at 330mbps, in many areas 4G – with its theoretical maximum speed of 150mbps – will be a viable alternative to standard broadband for some time.

Independent broadband providers such as Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and B4rn already offer full-fibre provision to thousands of customers, but wider availability of fibre speeds enables adoption of cloud technology to manage large files with the speed of local servers. Cloud cost savings offer strong opportunities for dealers, with

Storage technology Cloud storage development will be matched by technologies such as Solid State Drive. As SSD prices drop, its performance advantages become clear, and it will overtake conventional hard drive. Cloud storage will also offer opportunities for regional cloud services, and added-value specialised services to niche company needs, such as modular data centres and data analysis hubs.

Government subsidies

5. and investment

The government’s Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund should deliver £400m of funding to expanding fibre broadband providers. There’s also a commitment to £740 million of investment in 5G development, and 100% business rates relief for new full-fibre infrastructure builders for a five-year period from 1 April 2017.

Cloud storage

6.

8.

Job creation While fibre rollout will lead to increased employee numbers, hence more connections per client and efficiency savings in unified comms, it’s also important to identify areas of job loss. Virtualisation specialist Nasstar says: ‘Every IT vendor worth their salt plans to automate

9.

VoIP Full-fibre provision overcomes client worries about quality and reliability of VoIP services. For 10 concurrent calls, minimum bandwidth required is 1 MBps up and down, and recommended speed is 5-10 MBps, available simultaneously with other services. Many businesses would currently struggle to cope, but superfast fibre speeds up to 1Gbps would provide plenty of data headroom for VoIP.

Consultancy Tailoring solutions to fibre broadband implementation continues the trend of client service integration. This gives opportunities to renegotiate existing contracts as fibre provision changes how businesses operate, particularly in management of customer relationships in the transition between online and conventional calling.

Virtualisation Fibre rollout enables remote server desktop virtualisation, even for data-heavy companies such as media and design industries. Hosted desktops provide clients with traditional PC functionality, support legacy and custom applications, and enable them to build tailor-made IT infrastructures. Automated backup, disaster recovery and offsite encrypted data replication can also be supported.

Living up to

10. expectations As fibre rollout affects more businesses, client expectations will increase. Fast broadband and WiFi connections will be expected in all kinds of businesses from conference centres to hotels, cafés and restaurants, estate agents, graphics bureaus, publishers, educational institutions, and even dentists. So the pool of potential customers will continue to increase.

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Explores

The future of work is mobile Implementing flexible working patterns demands new approaches to mobile technology. How will unified comms dealers meet the challenge? Chris Jenkins

Productivity matters If the essential problem with UK business at the moment is one of productivity, flexible working may be part of the solution. Selling the flexible working concept to businesses presents opportunities for unified comms dealers. At more than three-quarters of UK companies, productivity is stagnant; hourly output in the three months to the end of September 2016 was only 0.4% higher than the previous year, and UK productivity is lagging well behind other G7 nations. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond pledged in November 2016 to spend £23bn tackling the problem, but O2’s January Business Barometer report found that 48% of British businesses want more government help to improve access to technology and connectivity. With 59% of all businesses saying better access to connectivity would benefit their organisation, Ben Dowd, sales director at O2, says: ‘For us to continue to deliver a customer-centred digital transformation it has to be supported by further digital infrastructure investment.’

What are flexible working solutions? Employees have expected a degree of flexibility in their working patterns since changes to the legal entitlement to flexible working in 2014. But with the near-universal adoption of mobiles, workers now feel that their digital devices should allow them to keep in contact, access apps and data in the Cloud, and exchange data from home, or when they are on the move. Flexible working has been shown to reduce absenteeism, improve morale, reduce commuting time, reduce staff turnover, improve recruitment, and extend hours of operation for departments such as customer service. While managers must learn to measure productivity by factors other than time spent at a desk, with 22

January 2017

flexible working, improved employee satisfaction leads to improved productivity. The recent Power of Productivity report by the LSE, commissioned by Vodafone, suggests that there is no single key to productivity improvement; instead, what’s required is a combination of change in management practices, enhanced technology, and flexible working arrangements. The LSE report states that while changes in management practices are essential, these have to be coupled with constant review of how the firm is integrating technology.

Keys to improvement With news of tax relief for fibre installers and the separation of BT from Openreach comes the opportunity to sell broadband services at more competitive wholesale prices. For unified comms suppliers, the key is to integrate digital systems allowing flexible working with existing technology. A package of connectivity options could include unified messaging, which enables all message types to be collated in a universal inbox; audio or video conferencing; mobile internet connectivity, and cloud storage services. Only 2% of UK addresses are currently connected to a full fibre line, but upcoming superfast connections and increased data speeds could transform businesses by allowing them to access ever-more powerful cloud services such as VoIP and ‘Platform-as-aService’ solutions. Gemma Morris, head of business development and marketing at TWL Voice and Data, says: ‘Ease of use and a balance between simplicity and accuracy need to be kept front of mind for all companies offering a service in our industry.’ Stuart Carson, sales and marketing director of Rainbow Communications, says: ‘Unified communications will come of age as more businesses transfer onto VoIP systems. This will have a positive effect on mobiles, as business

people will be able to do more with their phone and data connection.’ Chris Earle, CEO of Verastar agrees, and adds: ‘For small businesses in particular, the support of a service provider who can provide their core services effectively to allow them to focus on running their business is a trend we don’t expect to change.’ And Onecom CEO Darren Ridge says: ‘The widespread adoption of full-fibre broadband is increasingly becoming a necessity rather than a luxury. The biggest challenge will be in ensuring that businesses understand the benefits of adopting full fibre as part of a tailored unified comms package – efficiently bringing all their comms needs together and putting them in the best position to compete.’

Opportunities to connect Clearly, there are opportunities for unified comms providers to put mobile connectivity at the heart of their proposition; and with the client reliant on them for device management and guidance, there are also opportunities to increase ARPU and connections per user. A key emerging trend is that customers now favour getting their communications from a single provider, enabling one point of contact for support for mobiles, telephone systems, IT and internet connectivity. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a delivery model in which a variety of communication and collaboration applications and services are outsourced to a third-party provider and delivered over an IP network, usually the public internet. With a single-tenancy approach, the customer receives a customised software platform that can be integrated with on-premises applications, while multi-tenancy customers share a single software platform. Hybrid solutions are also available, with a portion of unified communications on-premises and others in the cloud. www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Flexible working

Stats

60%

Employees saying they preferred flexible working to a 5% pay rise

Many companies, primarily small businesses, use UCaaS to avoid the capital and operational expenses associated with deploying a unified communications solution on their own. As data speeds increase, cloud IT solutions will make businesses ever-more reliant on mobile devices. This will require provision of mobile coverage solutions such as distributed antenna systems (DAS) and managed small cells.

System integration Unified comms specialist Mitel proposes moving business communications technology to the Cloud, so that systems can be built around the way a company works. Cloud communications can deliver the comms technology of a large corporation to any smaller enterprise; mobile-friendly communications, intelligent call routing, a broad selection of endpoints, automated callbacks, announced queue times, and so on. These advanced functions can be integrated with business critical applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, to support key business processes that need to be communications-enabled, such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps. The crucial aspect is the correct choice of communications deployment model. Mitel suggests that a small business could implement some integration into other key applications such as Salesforce.com, and a basic contact centre; mid-market (100 to 2,500 employees) would require sophisticated business process integrations and contact centres, with private networking; while a large enterprise of 2,500 to 10,000 employees would be looking to private cloud migration, hybrid cloud solutions and integration into larger IT frameworks. Mitel’s solutions such as MiCloud Office, MiCloud Business and MiCloud Enterprise use geo-redundant datacentres to service voice calls securely traversing the public internet. Whether through a public, private or hybrid cloud solution, Mitel’s systems are scalable to support a transition from an on-premises phone system to a more robust cloud-based

unified communications solution – and moving to a cloud communications provider enables businesses to reallocate IT staff to more value-added projects and business-critical responsibilities. Another unified comms provider, Polycom, aims to enable businesses to use video as their preferred method of collaborating. This approach is not dependent on any one network, carrier, protocol, application, or device, but nor, the company admits, can it be achieved by any one vendor, equipment manufacturer, service provider, or standards body. Polycom’s President EMEA, Marco Landi, recently said: ‘I think the big trend you will see in the market is a transformation from telephony on one side and videoconferencing on the other, to collaboration. That is driven from Microsoft and other big vendors. I think Microsoft has started to push it, but if you look at Google, and the likes of Cisco, everybody is looking to the collaboration space, whether it’s with instant messaging, content sharing, voice conferencing or video conferencing. Rearranging the way people work and collaborate is a major driver. That is really pushing companies, and they are really looking at their infrastructure and all of the platforms they’re using, and trying to consolidate it.’

Next issue With flexible working solutions come implications for security, and in the next issue of Mobile we’ll look at the challenges and opportunities in this market.

£30,000 Estimated cost to a company of losing an employee

3m tonnes Carbon emissions saved by 4m UK employees working from home

2 hours Average time per day people spend on their smartphone

17% Predicted number of UK organisations adopting flexible working by 2020

61%

Companies whose profits increased after adopting flexible working

75%

SME managers unaware of productivity enhancement technologies

£520m

Estimated saving by equipping Traffic Police with mobile broadband

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Phone shop repairs top trust survey Good news for mobile retail staff as high street phone shops came top of the table when it comes to who consumers would trust to repair their device. The survey by Mobile & Mobile Choice magazines revealed that high street shops scored 67%, ahead of independents (63%) and even the official manufacturer repairers, who came last with 53%.

Pictured: Claire Short

Coffee break winners

EE Doxford CC staff raise £11,446 Contact centre staff at EE’s Doxford site raised an incredible £11,446 for Sunderland Hospital’s neonatal unit. The giant cheque was presented to the hospital at the end of December, with the hospital thanking the staff’s good work on Twitter: ‘Amazing people at EE Doxford Park did some incredible fundraising for Sunderland Royal Hospital’s Neonatal Unit in 2016.’

WIN your team a coffee break! iSELLMOBILE knows that some days you just need a boost of caffeine to stay on your toes! We’ve got five £10 Starbucks vouchers to give away so you can keep yourself and a few colleagues in the game on those days when you really need it. TO ENTER: pick out a member of your team and drop us a message telling us why your colleague deserves a coffee break! email editorial@isellmobile.co.uk with the subject ‘coffee break’ to enter.

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January 2017

WIN!

Company: Carphone Warehouse Store: Durham Winner: Claire Short Nominated by: Chris Robinson ‘For making us Christmas dinner at work – turkey in the slow cooker, stuffing balls and pigs in blankets. Smells delicious in here!’ Company: Tesco Mobile Store: Dover Winner: Charlie Solomon Nominated by: Scott Janaway ‘Charlie is one of those guys that is always happy and this rubs off on everyone including his customers. His NPS feedback is always fantastic and the ongoing support he gives me is priceless. Nothing is ever an issue when I ask him.’ Company: Tesco Mobile Store: Bournemouth Winner: Dan Mawer Nominated by: Ryan Hinchcliffe ‘He is a great leader, very creative and always thinking of fun, great new ways for us to push our phones in store. Always going above and beyond for customers, He never fails to get his staff motivated, energised and ready for a day of trade. Needless to say an energised manager can only aid in having an energised team which will improve our trade and general job satisfaction.’ www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Straight out of CES O2 Telenomics guru Kris Hodgetts was invited alongside 11 other colleagues to visit Las Vegas for the worldfamous Consumer Electronics Show. An avid photographer, here are his thoughts and photos from the trip How was Vegas? Really good, going back for CES was incredible. When I found out I’d won the trip I was thrilled, especially after that busy Christmas period – it was nice to get an extra present and a bit of a relax! How did you get invited? It was an incentive for the Telenomics franchise. Those who came top over the Christmas period got to go to CES – there were two store managers, two gurus, two assistant managers, two area managers and two sales people. Apart from CES what else did you get up to in Vegas? We hit the gun range – that was the first time I’ve done something like that, and it was really good. We took a Grand Canyon helicopter flight from the Vegas Strip and back again, and we saw the magician Chris Angel, who was pretty impressive. But my favourite was going up the Stratosphere – a spinning

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restaurant at the top of a very tall building. It gives a 360-degree view of Vegas, and as I’m into my photography, I managed to get some brilliant long-exposure shots from up there. What was your favourite bit of tech from CES overall? I think LG’s OLED LED TVs were pretty impressive, they are not much wider than a phone. They had one revolving on a stand and I think it was 0.35 in thick; it’s come so far from those old massive cathode ray TVs.

Snapdragon processor 835 chipset. It was demo-ing the Power Rangers film that is due to come out. They wouldn’t say what phone it was though, they said it was a prototype and we couldn’t look. If I were to guess what it was I’d say an upcoming HTC device.

What about the weirdest tech? Definitely the exoskeletons; they’ve brought that technology to a consumer level rather than the likes of Call of Duty and those sort of games. They’re calling them hyper suits, a bit like Iron Man!

And the best phone you saw at the event? It was the new Huawei, the Mate 9. If you’re into your photography, being able to control the aperture coupled with the dual lens means you have great depth of field and you can get brilliant results focusing on either the background or the foreground.

What was the main mobile tech focus? VR – they seem to be really pushing it for 2017. I had a go with a headset powered by the latest

What about the accessories space? Casio released a new smart

watch that I thought looked pretty good; it is aimed at the rugged side of the market, for mountaineering and stuff like that. If you could take one thing back to stock in your store what would you pick? I would say the little Mimobot Star Wars battery chargers; you could pick your own character so it’s a little bit more inventive than your standard battery block. I think they would sell really well if we got them stocked. I think I really enjoyed focusing on the little companies that were exhibiting there; their products are usually a little more inventive and they’re always very passionate about them. I like to see them trying to break through with innovation.

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Shop Idol is back! Previous winners

What is Shop Idol? The only competition of its kind, Shop Idol sees staff from every major phone retailer compete for the prestige of being recognised as the best sales and customer service agent in the UK. Open to every store staff

Why should I enter? Get rewarded It’s not all fame and glory… there are prizes too! Those who make the final will each receive prize packs, with an additional bonus prize for the winner. On top of this, there are also opportunities for your supporters to win. Get recognised Followed closely by HQ staff including heads of retail and board-level executives, there’s no better way to stand out from the crowd than to win or even just

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member below store manager level, more than 3,000 competitors have taken part since its launch back in 2003, and while the handsets have changed, the challenges remain, providing retailers with the chance to see how their best and brightest compare to their rivals. Each year the competition

attracts tens of thousands of votes and comments from supporters looking to propel their colleagues to victory, but the fate of each competitor is in their own hands. To be Shop Idol 2017 demands incredible product knowledge, expert customer care and mighty sales prowess. Could it be you?

make the final 12. With the live winner announcement taking place at the Mobile Industry Awards, what could be better than having your hard-earned expertise highlighted in front of the most influential individuals in mobile?

additional opportunities within their company.

Get ahead Being recognised on an industrywide level isn’t just a giant tickle for the ego, Shop Idol plays an essential role in helping retailers to identify staff with the tenacity, self-motivation and skills to go further, with many finalists fast-tracked for promotion and

Get learning Every year one of the most common remarks from competitors is about the value of having their skills tested through the challenges and through the interviews they undergo with industry retail experts. Shop Idol is unique in that it allows staff to not just be tested against and to learn from their own top staff, but also to be tested against and to learn from their rivals as well.

2016 winner: Aaron Robinson, Tesco Mobile ‘Winning shop idol for me is a culmination of years of hard work. It has been said before but it is like the Oscars for films and the Brits for music. So to have won the biggest achievement for my industry is the biggest honour I could receive. ‘My colleagues have been incredibly supportive in the run-up to the final and were over the moon for me! Every day since I’ve had someone new congratulating me at work and out and about. ‘To people thinking about doing it next year, do it! You won’t regret it and it can only improve the way you view the industry and it’s a way to gain invaluable experience that you can apply each time you walk into the shop. It’s something I will be pushing my colleagues to do!’ 2015 winner: Claire Pulpher, Carphone Warehouse From walking off-stage to in-store I’ve received so much support and congratulations. ‘At the event I couldn’t move without someone congratulating me, and not just people from Carphone Warehouse, it was people from EE, O2, Three, Tesco, Sony and Samsung. It felt like such a great community to be in. 2014 Winner: John Sherwood, Digital Phone Company ‘It meant a lot to me – to get this national award for doing what I love, (helping customers) is fantastic. It helped catapult my career and give me confidence in my abilities. I now work as an area development manager for Sony, and I definitely have Shop Idol to thank for that.’ www.mobiletoday.co.uk


Sponsored by

The contestants so far: Carphone Warehouse Joshua Kenny, Portsmouth Rebecca Shaw, Aberdeen Waqas Akhter, Leicester John-Victor Emmanuel, London

Tesco Mobile Lee Bennington, Coulby Newman Christie Driver, Chelmsford Hamish Patterson, Aberdeen Matthew Thorns, Gillingham

EE Aaron McBlain, Corby Tommy Allen, Romford Rob Bulmer, Dover Jess Nugent, Carlisle

Three David Meredith, Glenrothes Liam Crossley, Birkenhead Brandon Warren, Hereford Jimi Adedayo, Lewisham

O2 Tom Clough, Hyde Paul Wilson, Thornton-Cleveleys Rosie Cowan, Blythe Hayley Charlton, Ashington

Vodafone Emma Freeman, Ruislip Lilly Tse, Manchester Rachel Derby, Bluewater Ethan Moss, Chelmsford

2013 Winner: Martin Haig, Carphone Warehouse ‘After Shop Idol I was handpicked to help roll out CPW’s new sales strategy, Pinpoint. Now I’m in Scotland’s flagship store and one of Carphone’s Top 20 assistant managers.’ 2012 Winner: Nicola Black, Phones 4u ‘It was a huge stepping stone in my career! I am now a deputy manager and still recognised for my success.’ 2011 Winner: Chris Bowden, EE ‘Shop Idol gave me better opportunities – I went from being a sales asssociate to a Regional Business Development Manager for EE.’

How to take part: 1. Go to

1. Go to www.isellmobile.co.uk/ www.isellmobile.co.uk/ shopidol shopidol 2. Click ‘Enter 2. Click ‘Enternow’ now’ 3. Add your details and a 3. Add your details and a profile image profile image 4. Get your colleagues to your colleagues 4. Get endorse you online to endorse you online

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See the rest of the competition online

January 2017

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Mobile January 2017