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Google sign outside Mountain View headquarters

Hi, Fi: Google JOWL-SLAPS mobile bigguns with $20/mo wireless service

Google has confirmed it will square up to the mobile carrier world with its own service – "Project Fi" – although for the time being this will be a limited pilot program. Fi, which was murmured about by the Wall Street Journal and others this year, is the Chocolate Factory's attempt to shake up the world of mobile data, much as …
Neil McAllister, 22 Apr 2015
Facebook WhatsApp

Chat app WhatsApp gift-wraps free yaps for Apple iPhone saps

WhatsApp is now offering free voice calls to iPhones, less than a month after the feature debuted for Android. Version 2.12.1 of the telephony app for iSO will allow Apple smartmobe users to talk over their internet connections. The "WhatsApp Calling" feature is going to be rolled out "slowly over the next several weeks" …
Sundar Pichai

Google it onna Google phone onna GOOGLE NETWORK. MVNO plan imminent

Google could uncloak plans for a mobile network in the US today, possibly running on two networks, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. While a lot of the brouhaha over the plans – which were referenced in a presentation at Mobile World Congress in March – has been over the cost of data, perhaps the most interesting aspect is …
Simon Rockman, 22 Apr 2015

Top US Democrats cry death to Comcast-Time Warner hyper-gobble

Six leading Democrats in the US have written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice (DoJ) asking them to reject the proposed $45.2bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast. Senators Franken, Sanders, Markey, Wyden, Warren, and Blumenthal, warn that allowing the deal to go through would …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Apr 2015
Una chooses the special offer

Android mobe biz OnePlus goes to the dogs - or maybe cats

The cat-video school of marketing has been used to promote OnePlus dropping its need for an invitation to buy one of its smartphones. The cat is called Una - except it isn’t a cat, it’s a dog. Perhaps it’s been watching too many O2 adverts*. When OnePlus launched the OnePlus One it put into place a system of invitations. If you …
Simon Rockman, 21 Apr 2015
Two upended shopping trolleys in an alleyway. Photo by Cyron, licensecd under CC 2.0

Tesco broadband goes TITSUP, world keeps turning on wobbly-wheeled trolley

Tesco's broadband service went titsup this afternoon and remained out of action as The Register went to publication. The UK's largest supermarket chain agreed to offload its fixed line broadband customer base of around 75,000 subscribers to TalkTalk in January this year. The network is in the process of being transferred over …
Kelly Fiveash, 21 Apr 2015

Lawyer: Cops dropped robbery case rather than detail FBI's StingRay phone snoop gizmo

Prosecutors in St Louis, Missouri, have dropped a criminal robbery case to avoid revealing details of a controversial mobile phone surveillance program, a defense attorney has claimed. The St Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the state dropped more than a dozen charges against three defendants just one day before police were …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2015

That's right: FBI agents can't pretend to be ISP repairmen to search homes without a warrant

Evidence gathered by FBI agents who posed as broadband repairmen to enter a suspect's villa without a warrant has been thrown out by a US judge. The District Court of Nevada has decided [PDF] that the g-men violated the Fourth Amendment rights of poker ace Wei Seng Phua when they searched his Las Vegas bolthole while disguised …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2015

Nokia will be the mobile comeback kid in 2016 – wishful-thinking sources

Nokia is gearing up for a bombastic return to the smartphone world in 2016, according to new whispers. The Finnish firm's Nokia Technologies division has been quietly hiring staff, and already has products under development, with an eye to reenter the market next year, we're told. The second half of 2016, not coincidentally, is …
Neil McAllister, 20 Apr 2015
Photo by Mike Mozart

Comcast, Time Warner Cable in crunch talks with FCC, DoJ over $42bn mega-merger

The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) is on the rocks, it appears. Sources close to the two companies have told The Wall Street Journal that the US Department of Justice and the FCC are not happy with the proposed business gobble, and both want to hold face-to-face talks to discuss the ins and outs of the …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2015
Dom Joly

Hutchison Whampoa launches wholesale global MVNE venture

Hutchison Whampoa, which owns the Three network in the UK, has launched a global mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) via its mobile wholesale business unit. It will act as a single point of entry for MVNOs wanting to create global coverage quickly and easily, by accessing Hutchison Whampoa’s networks across Europe and Asia. …
Simon Rockman, 20 Apr 2015

NatWest and RBS' mobile banking apps go TITSUP

UPDATE RBS and NatWest customers have been left unable to access their accounts via the banks' mobile apps. In an identically-worded tweet both banks said this morning: "We're sorry if you're having trouble getting into Mobile Banking, we're working hard to resolve the issue. Thank you for your patience." NatWest and RBS are currently …
Kat Hall, 20 Apr 2015
NBN Co by Dushan Hanuska https://www.flickr.com/photos/hanuska/

NBN Co to trial faster fixed wireless services

NBN Co, the entity charged with building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN) has announced a trial of 25-50Mbps downloads and 5-20Mbps uploads on its fixed wireless network. The trial is for wholesale speeds: retailers will have the choice of creating products at this speed, or ignoring it. The network- …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Apr 2015

Verizon FLICKS FINGER at Netflix with skinny à la carte-style TV package for fibre munchers

U.S. cable giant Verizon vowed last year that it would offer channels à la carte to its customers simply because the demand was there. From tomorrow (19 April), the telco's fibre network subscribers will be able to pick and choose the pay-TV they want. Verizon's change in strategy is a direct stab at the likes of vid-streaming …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Apr 2015

FCC hit with SEVENTH net neutrality lawsuit

CenturyLink has become the seventh organization to sue the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dismantle its radical new net neutrality rules. The broadband provider filed a lawsuit against the US regulator in the Washington DC Court of Appeals, and used almost exactly the same language as the first lawsuit to land last …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Apr 2015
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Budge up, Navy boys, I've got some broadband spectrum to flog – FCC

US watchdog the FCC hopes to offer more airwaves to telcos in hope they'll be used to grow mobile broadband coverage in America. The commission announced on Friday that it wants to add 100MHz to the 50MHz of spectrum in the 3550MHz to 3700MHz band already available for commercial use. The US Department of Defense operates a few …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Apr 2015
Navteq vehicle in Oxford

Nokia to take $6bn bath on Navteq following AlcaLuc purchase

When Nokia sold its handset business to Microsoft, one question which was asked was “why didn’t the mapping business go at the same time?” That echoes with the confirmation of rumours that a sale was in the offing. The company has issued an announcement stating “Nokia has initiated a review of strategic options for its HERE …
Simon Rockman, 16 Apr 2015
Poor people in India queue for a political party-sponsored medical check. Pic: Welfare Party of India

India tech firms flee from Facebook's 'freebie access' Internet.org

Indian companies have skedaddled from Facebook's Internet.org initiative to supply free internet to under-served countries on the grounds that the scheme was anti-competitive. The free content ad network's plan apparently aims to offer access for free websites and applications signed onto the scheme over participating internet …
Darren Pauli, 16 Apr 2015

D-Link router patch creates NEW SOHOpeless vuln

Hacker Craig Heffner says D-Link has not only failed in its bid to patch its DIR-890L router but has managed to introduce a new vulnerability instead. The Tactical Network Solutions router wrecker says D-Link's quadcopter-esque AC3200, reviewed elsewhere as " the most insane router in the history of mankind", is open to …
Darren Pauli, 16 Apr 2015

IWF took down over 31,000 child sexual abuse URLs in 2014

Last year saw a 136 per cent increase in identified and subsequently removed child abuse imagery, according to a just-released report from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). In its Annual Report for 2014, the body revealed that its new ability to actively seek out criminal content has been effective in allowing it to identify …
Microsoft on Android

Microsoft cramming free stuff into Galaxy S6es? Not so fast – US telcos

Microsoft has been working with smartphone makers to get its mobile apps onto more customers' phones, but as long as carriers have a say in it, Redmond might not be able to obtain the broad reach it's hoping for. Samsung announced in March that its new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge flagship phones would ship with Microsoft's …
Neil McAllister, 14 Apr 2015

Conservative manifesto: 5G, 'near universal' broadband and free mobes for PC Dixon

Election 2015 Hot on the heels of Labour, the Conservatives today launched their manifesto – which matched their rivals for the sheer lack of detail on tech-related policy. "We will ensure that Britain seizes the chance to be a world leader in the development of 5G, playing a key role in defining industry standards," read the manifesto. No …
Kat Hall, 14 Apr 2015

Android gets biometric voice unlocking

Google is deploying what it calls Trusted Voice to allow Android users to unlock phones using their voice, according to reports. The feature is filed under the Choc Factory's Smart Unlock feature which sports easier unlock mechanisms like Trusted devices, places, and faces. Once activated, it would allow punters to unlock their …
Darren Pauli, 14 Apr 2015
Ganesha street art by Flickr user avlxyz https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/

India joins 'net neutrality debate

Mobile carrier app deals like “Free Facebook with your plan” have controversially entered India's nascent internet neutrality debate, courtesy of that country's regulator and its tech minister. While America is dealing with the inevitable lawsuits over its 'net neutrality rules, India's Telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar …
MGH's microbead diagnostics

US hospital boffins demo cancer-busting smartphone kit

America's FTC might be chasing after snake-oilers offering “detect cancer” smartphone apps, but that doesn't mean your mobe can't play a genuine diagnostic role. Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital reckon with a bit of cloudy goodness, custom-made add-on optics and the right reagent kit, smartphones can gather …

Sinister lobby group (AT&T, Verizon among membership) sues FCC to kill net neut

A powerful US telco lobby group, of which AT&T and Verizon are prominent members, has refiled its lawsuit against the FCC's net neutrality rules. The rules, which will bring internet access providers under stricter regulation, were published in the Federal Register early on Monday – the final step in making them legally …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Apr 2015
VoLTE compatible: LG Revolution

Korean telco LG Uplus launches first ever 4G voice roaming service

Comment More than two decades after the first digital roamed voice calls, 4G has caught up with what GSM was invented for. You can now speak to someone using 4G when you are not in your home country. There are some limitations: you can only make a call if you are a subscriber to LG Uplus – the number-three operator in Korea – and the …
Simon Rockman, 13 Apr 2015
Cartoon of  green skeletal figure reaching out of phone

Fraudsters target Nazi Android malware at Russian bank customers

Alleged members of a gang of "cyber-fascist" Android malware-slingers have been arrested in Russia. The alleged perps behind the scam targeted customers of Russian bank Sberbank with software they called "Fifth Reich", which used Nazi symbols in the management system. Fraudsters targeted malware attacks at Android-operated …
John Leyden, 13 Apr 2015
Googorola logo

Google tips LTE patents into mostly-public pool

The LTE rollout has moved a little closer to avoiding sueball spats that have long plagued the tech biz, with Google tipping a bucket of its IP into Via Licensing. Via Licensing, set up years ago by Dolby Laboratories, set up an LTE patent pool in 2012, with ten participants including names like AT&T and Clearwire, KDDI, NTT …
Still from the movie Zoolander: Derek and a fellow model try to get the 'files' out of the Mac by smashing it to pieces. copyright Paramount Pictures

It's not you, it's EE ... again! Mobe network hit by 'PDP authentication failure' snafu

Updated UK mobile carrier EE has been struck by yet another "PDP authentication failure" on its network. Customers have been complaining about the technical cockup on Twitter, where gripes are slowly trickling through to the company. Another @EE issue. PDP authorisation failure on my iPad Air so no internet. #biggestnetwork = # …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Apr 2015
FBI badge and gun

Sprint fined $16m for sticking it to The Man: Telco 'overcharged' Feds for phone wiretaps

Sprint has agreed to pay a $15.5m fine after it was accused of overcharging the Feds when carrying out court-ordered wiretaps. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) claimed the American telco had gouged cops and g-men between 2007 and 2010: Sprint allegedly over-billed them by at least $21m for setting up wiretaps to record phone …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Apr 2015
Slick looking picture of  xiaomi's Mi3 Android smartphone

Xiaomi's birthday present to itself: Flogging 2m phones in 12 hours

Cult phone maker Xiaomi has demonstrated just how dedicated its fans are, with an Asian flash sale seeing it shift over two million devices ... and 39,000 tellies. The Chinese upstart has built upon its Indian deal with online retailer Flipkart by adding Amazon India and online retailer Snapdeal to its digital strategy to access …
Simon Rockman, 10 Apr 2015
botnet

Cybercrime taskforce collects huge botnet scalp on first go

A sophisticated botnet has been neutered by a consortium starring the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce. The botnet, known by a number of names, including AAEH and Beebone, was a "polymorphic downloader bot" which installed various forms of malware on victims’ computers. Like an …
Ransom note saying "Pay Up" in blackmail type

Cyber-crypto-criminal-cock-up. Little money and (probably) embarrassed

A newly released crypto-ransomware strain has been broken, thus allowing victims — in over two out of three cases — to get back their data without paying. The Scraper ransomware has a flaw, meaning that in about 70 per cent of cases files can be decrypted, according to Kaspersky Labs, with the Russian security firm publishing a …
John Leyden, 10 Apr 2015

Dot Hill ready for Internet of Things data ingest malarkey

Classic dual-controller drive array supplier Dot Hill has uprated its AssuredSAN array to deal with thousands of incoming variable data streams from the growing Internet of Things (IoT) sensor sources, and thus avoid data stream traffic jams. The AssuredSAN 6000 products feature: New 6004 storage array controller in dual active …
Chris Mellor, 9 Apr 2015
ChefConf 2015

Everything's code, 'zero tolerance for assholes': Yup, it's ChefConf

ChefConf 2015 took place last week in Santa Clara, with around 1500 attendees focusing on DevOps using Chef software to automate infrastructure configuration and application deployment. What is DevOps? Defining it is a struggle, according to Chef CTO Adam Jacob who devoted a large part of his entertaining keynote to the subject …
Tim Anderson, 9 Apr 2015

EU anti-trust watchdog ponders TeliaSonera/Telenor merger

The European Commission is worried that a proposed merger between TeliaSonera and Telenor would be bad for consumers, and is now pondering whether to approve the deal. Both companies provide telecoms services in several European countries, but in Denmark the merged entity would face little competition, leaving the public with a …
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Oh no, Moto! Cable modem has hardcoded 'technician' backdoor

Researchers at Rapid7 have turned up a set of typically dumb vulnerabilities in Motorola's DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 3.0-capable SURFboard SBG 6580 cable broadband modem. The device, which also ships under the Arris brand, has vulnerabilities included hardcoded login credentials that will allow an outside attacker to take control of the …

Ex-cop: Holborn fireball comms outage cover for £200m bling heist gang

Last Wednesday's blaze in Holborn, which knocked out power and internet access across London, could have been sparked by thieves pulling a daring heist to pocket £200m in precious stones and metals. "I think that probably was deliberate," John O’Connor, former head of Scotland Yard's Flying Squad told capital radio station LBC …
Iain Thomson, 9 Apr 2015
slow_sign

Tasmania wants more backbone

The government of the Australian state of Tasmania has commissioned a feasibility study into a possible new optical fibre cable across the Bass Strait. Until this century, the island state's only connection to the Australian mainland was provided by Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, which has two fibre routes. That was …

Netflix fail proves copper NBN leaves Australia utterly 4Ked

I ran into my friend Tom the other day. He’s worked at the intersection of media and technology pretty much from the beginning. When there’s a launch of a new media tech that promises to change the world, Tom’s always in the front row, taking notes. At the end of last year, Tom received an invite to Netflix’s Australian launch. …
Mark Pesce, 8 Apr 2015

In the time it takes you to watch The Hangover, AT&T will pay a $25m fine for privacy scandal

AT&T will pay a $25m fine after crooked staff leaked subscribers' personal records to criminals flogging stolen cellphones. About 40 of telco's employees in its international call centers leafed through the accounts of 280,000 people without permission, pulling up their names, telephone numbers, and at least the last four digits …
Shaun Nichols, 8 Apr 2015