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Botched NBN installs leave folks with no internet, or recourse

Australia's Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Simon Cohen says the agency can do little to help subscribers dealing with broken National Broadband Network (NBN) installations. While the agency can flag complaints with NBN Co, the entity building and operating the NBN, it appears unable to do anything to force the utility to …
Darren Pauli, 4 Mar 2015

East Timor was officially removed from the internet yesterday

The country of East Timor was officially removed from the internet this week, with the '.tp' registry and all domains under it deleted from the "root zone". The unusual but not unprecedented decision to delete an entire arm of the internet comes following a long and painful independence struggle for the nation, and also …
Netflix House of Cards remake

Optus joins iiNet with free-to-download Netflix offer for Australians

Australia's second-largest ISP Optus has followed the third-largest, iiNet, by announcing Australians will be able to watch Netflix without the downloads counting towards their monthly data cap. The announcement places pressure on Australia's dominant carrier, Telstra, to do likewise. But as Telstra is a major shareholder in …
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: A side swipe at smartphone design

Review Edge. Get used to the word. From here on in, if the scuttlebut is to be believed, several flagship Samsung devices will be available with an Edge variant.  An Edgy version of the Galaxy S6 has already been confirmed.  A what? In simple terms with a bit of extra screen that curves around the right hand edge of the device. …
Alun Taylor, 3 Mar 2015

Europe's digital chief wants China's help on standardising 5G

MWC 2015 Europe’s digi Commissioner Gunther H-dot Oettinger wants China’s help in deploying 5G. Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Oettinger laid out his “grand vision” for 5G, saying that his “ambitious strategy” will give the EU a strong voice in international deals to set 5G standards. “The EU industry has a major role …
Slow downloads

Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists

MWC 2015 Nokia's CEO has ridiculed the idea of a one-speed “neutral” internet, arguing that some IP packets are simply more important than others. Connected cars, for example, will need near-instant response times if they are to avoid accidents, said Rajeev Suri, speaking to media and analysts at the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona. …
BlackBerry Leap smartphone

BlackBerry gets flirty with QWERTY IP, launches $275 Leap

MWC 2015 BlackBerry's CEO told The Register today that everything in the company’s IP portfolio is up for grabs, including hardware IP for BlackBerry’s hallmark QWERTY keyboards. “I’m not a big believer in holding on to all your secret sauces,” John Chen told us. “We have 53 per cent of staff employed in IP creation and engineering and …
Borg

Internet of Things? Pah! Biz bods, you're wasting your money

Mobile operators could be pissing away $46bn in their excitement over the Internet of Things and wearables. So says Syniverse, the company which forms the glue between mobile networks handling lots of interconnects and things like number portability. Of course being polite and American, it didn’t quite phrase the problem quite …
Simon Rockman, 3 Mar 2015

Google's broadband-in-the-sky goes TITAN-ic

After a couple of years of selective reveals to favoured media, Google has made an uncharacteristic to-all-comers announcement about its broadband plans at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Chocolate Factory bought drone-maker Titan Aerospace in 2014, and has told the conference its solar-powered drones will be carrying …
management regulation2

ACCC slaps iiNet over prices in ads

Second-tier telco and major ISP iiNet has forked over AU$204,000 to settle infringement notices from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The notices were issued as a result of iiNet's advertising for its Naked Broadband 250GB plan, which the consumer watchdog says didn't “prominently state the total minimum price …

90% of mobile data eaten by TINY, GREEDY super-user HOTSPOTS

+Comment Usage of mobile data is extremely unevenly distributed. This is the conclusion of a report by the Location Intelligence business unit of a major communications equipment company. JDSU, which makes test equipment for mobile operators, looked at who is using the most mobile data and where they are using it. Its research found …
Simon Rockman, 3 Mar 2015
xperia m4

Chasing pennies, Sony, Microsoft and smartphone biz rivals retreat to mid-range

MWC 2015 Before you read this, or any phone news at all this week, keep in mind one statistic. According to Strategy Analytics, for every Great British pound of profit made in the entire smartphone industry, Apple pocketed 89 pence. Everyone else is left with 11.7 pence. Everyone. In an industry that generates $300bn in wholesale revenue …
Sundar Pichai

Google dips toe into U.S. mobile market with 'small scale' offering

MWC 2015 Google confirmed on Monday that it plans to enter the wireless carrier market Stateside within the "coming months". Top Mountain View mobile exec Sundar Pichai offered up scanty detail on the ad giant's biz strategy during a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. On Google's seemingly cautious MVNO plans, …
Kelly Fiveash, 2 Mar 2015

Ericsson, Telstra and Qualcomm up the ante with 600Mbps demo

MWC 2015 Qualcomm, Ericsson and Telstra are set to demonstrate a new tri-carrier LTE-A solution capable of delivering 600Mbps over mobile at this week's Mobile World Congress. Nokia has already managed the same speeds using two carriers with a four-antenna MIMO. However, the Ericsson technology meets the specs of LTE CAT 11, and (so it …
Simon Rockman, 2 Mar 2015
Generic mast

Network vendors need something far more real than ‘5G’

MWC 2015 The big infrastructure vendors all made significant announcements in advance of Mobile World Congress, holding their beauty parades before the distractions of the event itself. While there was a lot of the inevitable "5G" vision-making on show, the main focus was on something more real: new platforms which could be deployed in a …
chain_relationship_channel

HP Services engineer dispatch tool 'broken', say engineers

An automated service call system pilot at HP – which we are told cost $72m to develop – is fundamentally flawed because it often relies on patchy web connectivity, engineers are complaining. The "enhanced dispatch" is expected to replace the existing "resource control" call centre in Bulgaria towards the end of there year, but …
Paul Kunert, 2 Mar 2015
Cellular basestation antenna

Telstra takes lead in 5G, just like everybody else

Australia's dominant carrier, Telstra, has joined World+Dog in promising to take the lead in the 5G race, with a roadmap that reaches all the way to next year. The main thrust of the carrier's talk to Mobile World Congress and accompanying canned release is actually the immediate future of its 4G network. The carrier promises …

HTC One M9 hands on: Like a smart M8 in a sharp suit

MWC 2015 HTC's One is like a tasteful band that has been the critics' choice for years but never quite breaks through from cult status to superstardom. It's by far the classiest thing on the market – but its distinctiveness and craftmanship hasn't been rewarded by runaway success. If only HTC could convert glowing reviews into dollars, …
Acer M220 Windows Phone

Acer enters Windows Phone fray with cheap Liquid M220 mobe

MWC 2015 Acer is entering the Windows Phone market, with a low-end model that will retail for just €79, making it the cheapest mobile in the vendor’s range. The Taiwanese firm announced the Liquid M220 today in Barcelona, on the eve of Mobile World Congress. It has a 4-inch display with 233 pixels per inch, 512MB RAM, 8GB storage, 1.2GHz …
Tim Anderson, 1 Mar 2015
Power lines

Ikea to start making electrified furniture. What could possibly go wrong?

MWC 2015 Ikea, having successfully branded Sweden as a country associated with family disputes and cupboards with wonky doors, has now taken on the challenge of improving how we all live through Qi wireless charging technology. From 15 April, American and European Ikea customers will be able to buy flat-pack furniture which integrates a …
Simon Rockman, 1 Mar 2015
Icelandic chasm

FCC says cities should be free to run decent ISPs. And Republicans can't stand it

Analysis A decision by the FCC has opened up a partisan chasm by quashing US state laws that hamper the rollout of city-owned broadband. The commission declared on Thursday that laws passed in North Carolina and Tennessee were unfair barriers to broadband deployment. In so doing, it has put itself in the middle of two classic American …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Feb 2015
Qualcomm

Make room, Wi-Fi, Qualcomm wants to run LTE on your 5GHz band

Qualcomm says it will begin shipping new chips later this year that will help relieve mobile network congestion by routing LTE mobile broadband traffic over short-range, unlicensed radio frequency bands. The new system-on-chip (SoC) components include support for LTE Unlicensed (LTE-U), an extension of the LTE Advanced protocol …
Neil McAllister, 27 Feb 2015
Mobile phone mast

Ministry of Fun tries again on mobile mast planning permission

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has announced a consultation (PDF) on reforming the Electronic Communications code. This is crucial ingredient to the “landmark” not-spots deal announced at the back end of last year. Most of the parts of the package in the deal were things which were going to happen anyway, but one …
Simon Rockman, 27 Feb 2015
WTF?

NBN Co says TWO broadband connections are better than one

+Comment NBN Co, the entity building Australia's national broadband network, has come up with an odd suggestion: two broadband connections, each running on different access technologies, are better than one. The suggestion is odd because NBN Co's mandate is to give each Australian household and business one internet connection using one …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2015
Free Robot Hugs by Ben Husmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/benhusmann/sets/72157594246596196

Facebook sad-nav: How to put depressed chums on internet suicide watch

The signs of future suicide often pop up on social media, so Facebook has partnered with the University of Washington (UW) to roll out new tools that can hopefully provide a lifeline to those in need. "Often, friends and family who are the observers in this situation don't know what to do," said Holly Hetherington, a Facebook …
Iain Thomson, 26 Feb 2015

Net neutrality secrecy: No one knows what the FCC approved (BUT Google has a good idea)

Analysis US watchdog the FCC formally approved new net neutrality rules on Thursday for America. But you're out of luck if you want to know exactly how your access to the internet will be now be governed. Despite getting the green light, the exact rules have not been revealed and will remain a mystery for some unspecified length of time …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Feb 2015

Visa: One million bonks a month for Europeans from next year

There is a quote attributed to Visa International that NFC has had “more pilots than the RAF”. Well, that may or may not be true, but what's beyond doubt right now – according to Jeremy Nicholds, Executive Director, Mobile, Visa Europe – is that people will soon be using mobile phones to tap to pay. And he’s prepared to put a …
Simon Rockman, 26 Feb 2015
Long exposure shot showing patterns made my moving lightsabers

Small cells are like DRUNKS. They don't use lamp posts for light, they use 'em for support

A new design of mobile cell site that sits on top of an existing street light has been developed British design company The Technology Partnership (TTP). Street lights are an obvious place to put mobile network infrastructure. They're erected in the places where there are lots of people and they have a power supply. While …
Simon Rockman, 26 Feb 2015
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

Barclays punts instant Twitter mobile payments app – best avoid while drunk

UK banking giant Barclays has confirmed plans to allow Brits and small businesses to use their, er, Twitter handle to make payments online. Customers who use Barclays' mobile payment service Pingit on Android phones and iOS slabs will be able to pay others via Twitter as of 10 March, the bank said. Barclays mobe banking boss …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Feb 2015
National Broadband Network by RubyGoes https://www.flickr.com/photos/rubygoes/sets/72157634039925152

NBN fibre: activations accelerated as footprint expanded

It's a matter of ups and down for the National Broadband Network: the fibre rollout (which will be replaced by hybrid fibre/coax (HFC) and node/basement fibre in future geographies) accelerated and the activation rate improved. At the same time, a host of factors (such as a construction focus on adding lead-ins to homes formerly …
Panic button

SIM hack scandal biz Gemalto: Everything's fine ... Security industry: No, it's really not

Six days ago Gemalto, the world's largest SIM card manufacturer, was told that back in 2010 it had been ransacked by NSA and GCHQ hackers. Today the company gave itself the all-clear: no encryption keys, used to secure phone calls from eavesdroppers, were stolen, it claims. Yet the IT security industry is not so sure. Documents …
Iain Thomson, 25 Feb 2015

Nokia blasts Ericsson out of water, demos 600Mbps data speeds

In the arms race for faster data speeds, Nokia Networks has pulled out 600Mbps over Ericsson’s 450Mbps by using 4X4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology. A demo with South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom started with a mere 300Mbps using 20MHz of contiguous spectrum and then using carrier aggregation with LTE-A …
Simon Rockman, 25 Feb 2015
Headshot of Trojan horse

Speaking in Tech: 'He's walking around with a rubber horse's head on'

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise Hosted by Greg Knieriemen, Ed Saipetch and Sarah Vela. This week the three amigos jump on HP, exploding kittens and magic. This week's special guest is Bryan Beal, VP, Global Alliances at Brocade. Here's our topics today, formatted with beginning times for your listening …
Team Register, 25 Feb 2015
gagged spock

Microsoft cuts Facebook Messenger, Google Talk from Outlook.com

Microsoft is doubling down on Skype by killing integration with Google Talk and Facebook Messenger in Outlook.com. The software giant has begun emailing Outlook.com users, saying it is discontinuing support for Google and Facebook's chat apps in its free email service within the “next couple of weeks”. Microsoft blamed Mountain …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Feb 2015
Flying pig

NBN Co numbers suggest FTTP build could be done for close to Labor's budget

The real cost of completing Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) in its originally-planned fibre-to-the-premises configuration may well have been close to the $AU43 billion first budgeted, according to data presented by NBN Co's CEO and CFO to a Senate Estimates hearing. Yesterday, CEO Bill Morrow and CFO Stephen Rue …
See No Evil Hear No Evil movie still

BT fixes home hub drop-out glitch ONE YEAR after denying flaw existed

BT has finally fixed a snag in its Home Hub 5 more than 12 months since customers began complaining about mystery disconnections that were hampering the wireless router. When The Register reported on the technical cockup in February 2014, BT was quick to dismiss the gripes by telling us it was "not aware of any issues" with the …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Feb 2015

FCC Republicans slam brakes on net neutrality, but this wagon ain't slowing

The two Republican commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have formally called for this week's vote on net neutrality to be delayed. The US watchdog's panel of commissioners are due to approve or reject FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's secret proposals to regulate internet access in America as if it is a phone …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Feb 2015
money notes lifted up

Why IP telephony is about more than just saving money

In the last few years IP-based voice communication has increasingly come to the attention of business managers. Internet-based voice communication has been around for years in a number of forms, some hideously cranky and others very effective. My personal watershed in the credibility of long-distance IP voice comms was …
Dave Cartwright, 23 Feb 2015
Cherry

NBN Co's HFC build will be DOCSIS 3.1 ready, but use 3.0 only

NBN Co has settled on its key partner for the HFC part of its network, with Arris nominated to provide cable termination and passive equipment. The deal, reported by Comms Day as being worth AU$400m, sees Arris, the company that acquired Motorola's HFC business, pip Cisco for the cable network business. Arris executives today …

Net neutrality crunch poll: Americans want to know WTF it is

Analysis With commissioners at US watchdog the FCC due to vote on proposed net neutrality rules next week, a poll of Americans has revealed two interesting and important aspects: Most of them don't know what on Earth net neutrality actually is. Most of them want to see the rules before they are approved. This is unlikely to stop the …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Feb 2015

Carphone Warehouse, RootMetrics ink data deal, declare customer love

Carphone Warehouse will use RootMetrics data – essentially network performance information – to help customers choose which networks they should be on. A deal between the high street super-power and the frozen frothy coffee-led research organisation will see staff in the shop look up the places where customers want to use their …
Simon Rockman, 20 Feb 2015
Long exposure shot showing patterns made my moving lightsabers

Wi-Fi beam-steering tech could KILL OFF fixed home networks

Analysis Veteran US antenna team Ethertronics has brought out what it describes as an active antenna system that can offer beam steering for Wi-Fi. The system sits in either the client end of Wi-Fi to stimulate the return path or in an Access Point and will work with any Wi-Fi chip architecture and boost performance by between 15 per …
Faultline, 20 Feb 2015