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Air pollution in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, northeastern China, in October 2013

It's FONDLEMANIA: Mobile devices outstrip PCs on China's internet

Mobile devices have edged out PCs when it comes to Chinese online browsing, an official government agency in the People's Republic said on Monday. For the first time more Chinese folk are plugging into the internet using phones or tablets, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said (PDF in Chinese), according to …
Team Register, 21 Jul 2014
Workers in a Foxconn plant, credit: Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

iThing builder Foxconn applies to be mobile network operator in China

Foxconn, maker of Apple's iPhone, wants to own a mobile phone network in China and has applied for an MVNO licence. Under Chinese law Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd, cannot own an MVNO itself and so is partnering with an unnamed Chinese internet company, according to an MVNO Dynamics report. That …
Simon Rockman, 21 Jul 2014
Gotenna offers secure communications

GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?

You may have been hearing about a well-nigh miraculous device called GoTenna lately - a gadget which, apparently, lets your phone work even if there's no network coverage to be had. GoTenna is a two-way radio for mobile phones: it pairs with an Android or iOS device using Bluetooth and uses 151-154 MHz radio to communicate with …
Simon Rockman, 21 Jul 2014
Hyperbolic map of the internet. Credit: Nature Communications

CAIDA to survey peers, colo sheds and ISPs for new map of internet

CAIDA – the group of router boffins established at the University of California to research 'net traffic and look for solutions to threats to Internet stability – has given itself a new name. If you're thrifty with your letters and don't want to learn a new acronym, you'll be pleased to know that the name change is from the …
Orange Competition

Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs

Customers of UK mobile carrier Orange have spent the weekend nursing their thumbs after receiving a deluge of unwanted TXT messages. The messages spruiked “Magic Numbers”, a service whereby it is possible to make “ free calls to your favourite Orange mobile and Orange Broadband Wireless and Talk numbers” that you nominate in …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2014

Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN

Video Yet another person has stepped forward to claim that Verizon is deliberately throttling Netflix traffic, this time with video evidence. Colin Nederkoorn, CEO of software firm Customer.io, alleged in a personal blog post that his Verizon Fios internet connection in New York slows Netflix traffic to a trickle, but runs at full …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Jul 2014
self-service checkout

Facebook in new 'experiment' drama: Will users buy it?

Facebook is dipping a toe into the e-commerce market to test an Amazon-style "Buy now" button on the adverts it serves. The social network is initially rolling out the feature to a select number of small and medium-sized businesses in the US. The button will appear on the website and in its mobile app. It's not only about …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Jul 2014
Apple iPhone

Telstra to grinch WAP 1 network five days before Christmas

Telstra has quietly announced it will shutter its WAP 1 network, just five days before Christmas. The carrier is warning that users of older handsets will lose the ability to send Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages or access the internet as of December 20th. The list of soon-to-be-internet-deprived handsets won't alarm …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jul 2014

Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup

A backbone provider that pumps video from Netflix to viewers has hit back at Verizon's moan that everyone else is to blame for its users' slow streams. Verizon blogged that poor Netflix playback is caused by the networks used by Netflix to pipe films and TV shows to subscribers. Verizon said that while its wires have more than …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Jul 2014

Move up, Siri and Cortana: BlackBerry's new... 'Assistant' is here

BlackBerry has unveiled a voice-powered assistant due to appear on its BB10 devices later this year. Imaginatively named er, "BlackBerry Assistant", the speech software hooks into web searches, social media and basic phone functions, like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Now. We tried Assistant on a very early leak …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014

X marks the chop: Microsoft takes axe to Nokia's Android venture

Microsoft's Android phones are the latest casualty of the company's axe. The X range was only launched in February this year, before the acquisition of Nokia's devices unit had been completed, but the mutant 'droids will soon be phased out, says CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft is getting rid of up to 18,000 jobs as it digests the …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

ACCC should be regulated: Vertigan NBN review

The first slab work by the Vertigan panel, the group assembled to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of Australia's National Broadband Network (NNB), has landed and suggests the industry is happier with dealing with NBN Co than it is with the Australian Competition and Consumer Comission'ss (ACCC's) regulatory processes. Broadly, …
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

UN to Five Eyes nations: Your mass surveillance is breaking the law

Edward Snowden should be shielded from prosecution because the world needs people willing to expose violations of human rights, says the UN's High Commissioner for Human rights Navi Pillay. Speaking at the launch of a report into digital privacy, Pillay said Snowden's revelations “go to the core” of the UN's concerns about mass …
iPhone 4 unlocked

Want to legally unlock your phone from its network? The US Senate says that's A-OK

In a rare display of equanimity (and common sense), the US Senate has unanimously passed a bill allowing cell phone owners to unlock their handsets, should they choose to do so. "I applaud the Senate for so quickly passing the bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, which puts consumers first and …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jul 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Nadella: Yes I can put 2 THINGS FIRST. I will say them at the same time – CLOUDOBILE

You can have “mobile first, cloud first” and target business and consumer users at the same time, apparently. So says Microsoft’s recently installed chief executive Satya Nadella, who reckons there’s no contradiction in his big plan for Microsoft. Nadella was speaking this afternoon at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Jul 2014
scissors cut cable

WiGag war: Tiny low-power chip promises mobes 4.6Gbps Wi-Fi

The quest to kill video and IO cables with super-fast wireless connections is an old one. Now chip companies are gearing up for another push using the 802.11ad standard – aka WiGig – to scrap wires and carry data over the air at multi-gigabit-a-second speeds. Today, one such biz, Nitero, reckons its new hardware will outperform …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jul 2014

US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe

Freemium mobile network FreedomPop has set its sights on Europe. The LA-based company has signed a deal with BASE, a subsidiary of Dutch telco and MVNO-lover KPN. It will launch in Belgium and then plans to expand to the UK, Germany, France and Spain. In the US FreedomPop’s model starts with a base price of $0 for 200 minutes of …
Simon Rockman, 16 Jul 2014
BlackBerry bleeding

If BlackBerry killed off its social gaming platform, would anybody notice?

Sticking to its knitting, BlackBerry is closing Scoreloop - the German social gaming platform and tools company it acquired in 2011 for $71m. The Canadian mobile phone company once known as RIM told the Wall Street Journal that this was in line with its focus on enterprise. When BlackBerry bought Scoreloop, it was at the height …
Simon Rockman, 16 Jul 2014
White flag

Remember when Google+ outed everyone by their real names? Now Google's sorry

In another attempt to get someone, anyone, spending time on Google+, the Chocolate Factory has abandoned its “real names only” policy. The policy has been criticised for its entire existence. The company began deleting accounts that didn't pass its real-names test in 2011, without any particular consistency of enforcement. In …

'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended the deadline for public comment on its net neutrality proposals – after a flood of traffic borked the agency's website yet again. At the heart of the proposals are rules that could allow huge corporations to pay for prioritized internet traffic. While on the one hand, …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jul 2014

Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

Audio Comcast has apologized to a subscriber who was subjected to a haranguing customer service call when he tried to cancel his account. Ryan Block, a VP of product at AOL and a former tech blogger, was moving home and taking the opportunity to scrap his Comcast service after nine years. The only problem was that the customer service …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jul 2014

Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee

Nest Labs, the connected thermostat upstart acquired by Google for $3.2bn, is leading the charge of tech companies launching a new wireless protocol for Internet of Things devices. The Google-owned Internet of Things biz has, in effect, turned up the heat on a standards war. The major difference between the new low-power Thread …
Simon Rockman, 15 Jul 2014

BT: Whew, we've been cleared of major privacy breach. Oh SNAP, another webmail blunder

Exclusive BT has been cleared of a serious data protection violation by the UK's privacy watchdog, The Register has learned. A probe into the one-time national telco's webmail system was carried out by the Information Commissioner's Office after a whistleblower exposed evidence that appeared to show BT's customer email accounts were being …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Jul 2014

YES: Scotland declares independence ... from the dot co dot uk empire

Scotland has shaken off the shackles of its English oppressors by ditching the vicious Sassenach web address system – and replacing it with a homegrown one. Anyone living in the People's Republic of Salmond can now manually secede from their Tory overlords in Westminster by choosing a new .scot suffix. Previously, the coddled …
Team Register, 15 Jul 2014

Verizon, Ericsson, Qualcomm plot spectrum-sharing test

Verizon, along with vendors Qualcomm and Ericsson, hopes to soon conduct field trials sharing spectrum currently owned by the US government as a means of expanding its wireless network capacity. Wireless carriers around the world face the problem of finding extra spectrum to support a huge population of new users expecting …

French telco vendors line up with government on 5G

A group of French telcos is warning that Europe could fall behind Asia in the race towards 5G, and has launched a joint effort to stave off the threat. “Club France”, reports Paris financial outlet Les Echos, is an Alcatel-Lucent-led effort whose members include Orange, Thales, LTE chip-maker Sequans Communications, and base …

'Big Internet' wades into 'net neutrality' battle with the FCC

Major internet companies have submitted their comments to the US Federal Communications Commission's consultation on new rules for internet discrimination and pricing – the so-called "net neutrality" consultation. The Internet Association – which lobbies on behalf of Google, Amazon, Facebook and others including Reddit – said in …
Team Register, 14 Jul 2014
Cellular basestation antenna

Rural mobile coverage: Tweeting twits to join chirping tits in UK's national parks

The Mobile Operators Association has signed an accord with National Parks England to improve coverage over the 10 per cent of the UK which falls under the category of the national parks. Youtube Video The organisations are predictably keen to emphasise that this will be done without compromising any natural beauty. The move is …
Simon Rockman, 14 Jul 2014
Rolex in Live and Let Die

ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

The Tory-led government's "emergency" data retention and investigation powers (Drip) bill currently being rushed through Parliament has caught ISPs off guard, it has emerged. The Register understands that telcos were only gently briefed on the plans ahead of last week's announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron. An industry …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jul 2014
slow_sign

UK.gov warned: Small biz bods 'blunted' by broadband bumbling

Small businesses in Britain are missing out on the government's £1.2bn taxpayer-funded broadband deployment project, a lobby group warned today. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) complained in a report titled The fourth utility (PDF) published this morning that 45,000 companies in the UK remained stuck using dial-up …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jul 2014
RFID_snail

NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015

NBN Co executives have defended the slow progress of the organisation's fibre-to-the-node rollout, telling a Senate committee it would be “unlikely” for any telco to have a product ready for launch within a year of receiving new policy directions. The statement was made by NBN Co chief customer officer John Simon. Under …
closed_sign shut down under collapsed liquidation

China Mobile to quit WiFi rollout

After spending 17 billion yuan on WiFi hotspots – more than $US2.75 billion at the current exchange rate – China Mobile has quit on the rollout and will redirect its spend to LTE. The reason for the decision, reported in Sohu IT (original in Chinese, here), is simple: the hotspots don't make money. Sohu IT says the hotspots are …
School kids

FCC OKs $5 BEEELLION Wi-Fi cash splash in schools, libraries

Five billion dollars will be used to fund Wi-Fi networks in US schools and libraries after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed an overhaul of the E-rate program. The commission issued an order that will pour $2bn of additional funds into E-rate over the next two years for the purpose of installing and upgrading …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jul 2014
Microsoft campus

Will Microsoft devices sit happily on a single platform?

The world can be a confusing place. Often a one-size-fits-all solution looks to be just the thing but ultimately it turns out that it fits no one. Microsoft is touting a single development environment for desktops, laptops, tablets, phablets, mobiles and the Xbox. Can this deliver? The platform for PC, phone and tablet comes …
Simon Rockman, 11 Jul 2014

Telefonica inks deal with mobile ads platform: Find your customer? There's an API for that

Spanish telco Telefonica has looked to Brainstorm Mobile to supply it with a platform to roll out its global marketing strategy. The Brainstorm platform is also behind Weve, which is the UK consortium of mobile operators working in mobile marketing. By working directly with Brainstorm, Telefonica can use the service outside the …
Simon Rockman, 11 Jul 2014

Do your execs take mobile security seriously?

Reader Poll One of the findings emerging from our latest poll is that many of you are highlighting a lack of exec awareness and air cover when it comes to mobile security. This in turn appears to translate to a lack of funding to put the systems in place to cope with new devices, BYOD and so on. Is this something you are experiencing? If …
Dale Vile, 11 Jul 2014

Verizon points more fingers at Netflix: It's YOUR pals slowing data

Verizon and Netflix are having another go-round in their ongoing war over network access for streaming video. In a report posted to its Public Policy Blog, Verizon vice-president of federal regulatory affairs David Young said claims that it deliberately throttles Netflix traffic are untrue and that any traffic bottlenecks were …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jul 2014
Silent Circle email

Silent Circle takes on Skype, Viber, mobile telcos with crypto-VoIP

Silent Circle has launched a global encrypted IP voice calling service that will go up against over-the-top services Skype and Viber, among others. The idea here, however, is that it will feature a way to communicate privately. It's more bad news for mobile carriers, which are already beating off roaming-revenue pinchers in the …
John Leyden, 10 Jul 2014
Cat 5 cable

10Gbps over crumbling COPPER: Boffins cram bits down telco wire

Bell Labs has pumped data faster than ever before down antiquated copper wiring. The boffins used a frequency modulation system that they claim will be perfect for hooking up aging telco cables to future broadband fiber networks. The technique is based on the G.fast standard being considered by the International …
Iain Thomson, 9 Jul 2014

Siri, did we just take a hit in that voice-recog patent fight?

Apple has lost the first stage of a patent infringement battle in China over its voice-controlled assistant Siri – after a Beijing court ruled a speech-recognition patent held by the Chinese firm that launched the lawsuit is valid. The iPhone maker was arguing with both Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology and the State …

BT slapped down by BSkyB over O2 broadband 'switch off' porkies

A BT direct mail advertising campaign spectacularly backfired on the telco after it claimed BSkyB would switch off O2 users' broadband. Sky bought the consumer broadband and fixed-line biz of Telefónica UK-owned O2 in March last year. The telecoms giant had claimed in a shouty flyer posted through Brits' letterboxes that BSkyB …
Kelly Fiveash, 9 Jul 2014
A boat full of Fail

TalkTalk talks itself into trouble with budget broadband package fibs

TalkTalk has been admonished for misleading customers with claims that it offered "Britain's lowest priced totally unlimited broadband". BT and another complainant challenged three separate issues with a series of adverts in the press and online that wrongly suggested that the budget telco had cheaper deals than its competitors …
Kelly Fiveash, 9 Jul 2014