THE WRAP: Special year-end edition


THE WRAP: Special year-end edition

John C. Tanner  |   December 24, 2010
If the biggest stories of 2010 on can be rated in terms of reader popularity, then by far the biggest telecoms story of the year was an industry outsider: Apple.
Apple dominated the headlines for much of the year thanks to the release of the iPhone 4 and its subsequent antenna issues.
Even before its release, the iPhone 4 was making headlines, whether it was being lost in a bar (reportedly costing a hapless engineer his job) or its OS system , iOS 4.0, being jailbroken.
And before that, there was the release of the iPad, which unexpectedly replaced netbooks as the hot device to bridge the form-factor gap between smartphones and laptops. The only thing more impressive than the iPad’s sales figures was the revelation that Apple stood to make over $200 on each iPad sold, according to an iSuppli teardown of the device.
Apple also made headlines thanks to its reported plan to work with Gemalto to create an iPhone SIM card that would allow users to choose their own operator upon purchasing the phone. Apple eventually dropped the plan after Vodafone, France Telecom and Telefonica objected to being shut out of the activation process.
Another top story for 2010: the ongoing saga of Chinese vendors Huawei Technologies and ZTE trying to land contracts in lucrative mobile markets like India and the US despite government worries about national security.
Huawei and ZTE spent much of the year fighting for the right to bid for mobile contracts in India after the government banned telecom operators from buying Chinese-made equipment. India finally lifted the ban in August, but Huawei and ZTE face similar hurdles in the US, where last month both vendors were shut out of Sprint Nextel’s $7 billion LTE tender over security fears from US government officials.
Still, such problems – as well as a general slowdown in operator spending – didn’t stop Huawei from posting full fiscal-year results that not only made it the most profitable telecom vendor in its class, but also second biggest in the market by sales, overtaking Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks during the year.

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