Mobile fourth-quarter analysis and outlook

1 Summary

The mobile industry capped another eventful year with a bustling fourth quarter. T-Mobile continued to build on its impressive momentum and became the focal point of rumors of an acquisition at the hands of either Sprint or Dish Network. All four major tier-one operators in the U.S. opted out of the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming spectrum auction, leaving Dish well positioned to walk away with a bundle of new airwaves. And FreedomPop joined the ranks of disruptive MVNOs with a new, IP-based voice and data service.

Meanwhile Android grew its massive market share, Apple finally inked a deal with China Mobile, and Windows Phone finally became the third-largest mobile operating system worldwide, overtaking BlackBerry. Other highlights from the quarter include:

  • Google and Audi prepared to announce a partnership to develop in-car infotainment systems based on Android. The move highlights the promising market of connected autos, which is sure to play a large role as the era of the internet of things begins to evolve.
  • The startup Coin came out of stealth mode to unveil a smart device that will enable users to make purchases at the point of sale from multiple accounts. The gadget, which is expected to come to market later this year, could threaten the existing mobile-payments systems that have yet to gain any real traction.

This report examines these developments and other noteworthy events of the fourth quarter, and it discusses trends that will have an impact through 2014 and beyond.

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