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giffgaff riff-raff hacked off with lift-off of cash spaff

giffgaff claims to be “the network run by you”, so perhaps it shouldn’t be quite so surprised when the online community objects to what was a mobile phone company suddenly deciding it’s a bank. The “run by you” bit means that the company worries a lot about what customers say in the forums. And what the “owners” are saying is …
Simon Rockman, 24 Apr 2015
Google provides great mobile coverage for Yetis

Google: We're not mad, our mobes-in-sky Project Loon is FINE

Google has posted a new video explaining the progress it’s made with Project Loon, the plan to float thousands of balloons into the upper atmosphere to provide internet connectivity for penguins. Project Loon: Scaling Up It’s a project akin to Motorola’s Iridium, which was also a plan to provide ubiquitous mobile coverage, …
Simon Rockman, 23 Apr 2015
network_rail_hst_test_train_cropped

Industry infighting means mobile users face long delays on UK trains

Comment Mobile coverage on trains is rubbish, Wi-Fi isn’t much better and battles between companies offering the services are not going to make it much better. A plan to offer fibre running down the side of the tracks, which would have given great Wi-Fi coverage, has been abandoned, despite Network Rail’s 2013 technical strategy review …
Simon Rockman, 23 Apr 2015
Facebook Hello

Facebook invents Caller ID ... say Hello to today's staggering technology

Facebook has released a smartphone app called Hello that matches the numbers of incoming calls to friends and businesses on the social network, and displays them on-screen, giving you a slightly better idea of who's calling if you can't recognize the digits. It's otherwise known as Caller ID, and the tech fashion press is going …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2015
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
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

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

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

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
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
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

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 …
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
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
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

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

Mobile 4G spectrum investors actually spent $12.4m on walkie-talkie frequencies – US SEC

Americans were duped into buying duff radio frequencies for $12.4m that they had hoped to sell to cellphone networks for double-digit returns, a US financial watchdog has claimed. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused [PDF] Arizona-based Janus Spectrum of tricking investors into thinking they were acquiring …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Apr 2015
Google car

UK.gov: We want Britannia's mobe-enabled cars to rule the roads

Whatever Apple and Google might be doing with smart cars, the UK government wants Britain to be involved in the industry and so announced its support for the emerging industry at a conference last week. Yet the government – and more importantly, the car industry – has a huge amount to learn before their shared vision of the UK …
Simon Rockman, 7 Apr 2015
a coffee cup topped with cappucino foam with a wi-fi symbol sprinkled on top in powdered chocolate

EE springs Wi-Fi phone calls on not-spot sufferers, Tube riders

EE today said it will be the first UK mobile network to roll out full-blooded next-generation Wi-Fi calling. Subscribers will not need to install any special apps: their phones should be able to seamlessly and automatically send and receive text messages, and make and receive calls, via wireless networks when there is no …
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

France will flog off 700MHz to boost mobe broadband while UK dithers. Thanks, Ofcom

Updated British mobile phone coverage will lag further behind the rest of Europe this year: now the French are auctioning off valuable spectrum space, at 700MHz, to high-speed mobile networks. Ofcom, in its recent strategy review, said it’s targeting 2022 for a similar allocation (although possibly sooner). However, its French …
Simon Rockman, 2 Apr 2015

BT thinks EE customers will FLEE from enlarged four-play mobe biz

BT has warned its shareholders that a tumble in mobile prices is a factor that has to be considered ahead of voting to agree the £12.5bn purchase of EE. In a 104-page circular of legalese (PDF) sent to BT shareholders, the telecoms behemoth recommends that shareholders vote to agree the deal. The company says that this is part …
Simon Rockman, 2 Apr 2015
FTC building

Yes, AT&T, you do have to go to court with the FTC

AT&T will be forced to go to court with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its handling of unlimited data plans. Judge Edward Chen has struck down (PDF) AT&T's motion to have the FTC complaint dismissed, an order that will force the US telco giant to face charges of violating the Federal Trade Commission Act. Last …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Apr 2015
cookies_eyes_privacy evercookies flash cookies

Verizon: FINE OK, you can now rid your life of our stalker supercookies

Verizon has finally got around to giving its subscribers the option to opt out of its controversial supercookie tracking program. Customers can find the switch in their My Verizon account settings, or by calling the toll-free number (866) 211-0874. "Verizon Wireless provides customers the ability to opt-out of our advertising …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2015

How much did T-Mobile US make from that failed AT&T buyout? How about $7.7bn

A failed 2011 merger with AT&T is paying off in a big way for T-Mobile US. Analysts at New Street Research (via The Wall Street Journal) estimate that a $1bn spectrum package T-Mobile US received in the wake of the ill-fated acquisition has ballooned in value to $4.7bn. The frequencies were part of a $4bn breakup package AT&T …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2015

Motorola Mobility loses another patent suit to über-troll Intellectual Ventures

Motorola Mobility has suffered another defeat at the hands of patent hoarder Intellectual Ventures, with a Delaware jury finding that Moto infringed a patent describing a way for handheld devices to connect to docking stations. Law360 reports that the jury only deliberated for about an hour before deciding in Intellectual …
Neil McAllister, 30 Mar 2015
Vodafone adds payment cards to mobile wallet

Vodafone wants to bonk you… wait, wants you to bonk

NFC payment tech for phones, aka bonking, is coming to an Android Vodamobe near you. Not put off by the failure of the O2 wallet and Orange CityZi payment systems, Voda has teamed up with payments processing tech company Carta Worldwide to add bonking to its mobile wallet. In the internal war of NFC technologies the new service …
Simon Rockman, 30 Mar 2015
Jeroen Hoencamp is the boss of Vodafone UK

Voda UK CEO says one thing about not-spots, Minister of Fun says another

Don’t hold your breath for better mobile phone coverage. While Vodafone UK CEO Jeroen Hoencamp is hopeful that the government will do its bit as part of the not-spots agreement, Minister of Fun Ed Vaziey claims he’s already done it. We asked Hoencamp how he felt about having signed up to the not-spots deal when all the …
Simon Rockman, 27 Mar 2015
Columbia University's full-duplex IC

Big barrier to 5G cracked by full-duplex chippery

Take a look at mobile standards like LTE and you'll notice that duplexing is difficult: it's either accomplished by separating uplink and downlink in time or frequency. Why? Because it's really hard to use closely-spaced frequencies for uplink and downlink in the small space of a smartphone: the two signals will inevitably …
Red telephone boxes near royal opera house

BT gently returns to mobe biz with cheap SIM-only swoop

BT has tentatively returned to the mobile market it abandoned 13 years ago with a competitive SIM-only deal for its broadband customers. The one-time state monopoly – as expected – touted a 4G data, minutes and texts bundle this morning, with prices starting at £5 a month. BT's offer weds existing broadband subscribers to a 12- …
Kelly Fiveash, 25 Mar 2015
Mobile phone no service

Treat us like the utilities we believe ourselves to be, say UK operators

Rents on mobile phone masts should drop dramatically, with a pricing model loosely based on that used for utilities, states a report from Deloitte, commissioned by several mobile network operators. The professional services firm says that where a mobile network pays £7,500 yearly in rent for sites in rural areas, and £9,200 in …
Simon Rockman, 24 Mar 2015
Two mobiles man

BT set to undercut rivals with return to mobile biz

BT will launch its own 4G network when it returns to the mobile market within the next few days, it has been reported. According to the Telegraph, the former state monopoly – which proposed a huge £12.5bn takeover of mobe operator EE late last year – will name its service BT Mobile and offer it only to the firm's broadband …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Mar 2015
shutterstock_209016412-faclon

Nesting falcons interrupt £200m Vodafone 4G mast upgrades

Five pairs of nesting falcons have disrupted Vodafone customers' mobile phone signals in London and the south east – because the birds have set up shop on the carrier's masts. The Daily Telegraph reported that Vodafone engineers spotted the birds of prey nesting on and around base stations on a church, a hospital and an office …
Simon Rockman, 20 Mar 2015
FCC logo

FCC to Verizon: Blocking 911 calls? That's a $3.4m paddlin'

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extracted a $3.4m fee from Verizon for its failure to provide customers with emergency phone service last year. The FCC said that it had agreed to the fee with the US telecoms giant after an April 2014 outage that left 11 million people without phone coverage, including for the …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2015
Android icon desktop toys

$30 Landfill Android mobes are proof that capitalism ROCKS

Worstall on Wednesday I've mentioned around here before that the shipping container has been one of the most revolutionary technologies of our times. Similarly, I've said that the mobile phone has had a vast effect on human wealth. The TL;DR version of mobes is that 10 per cent of the population with a mobile increases GDP by 0.5 per cent each and …
Tim Worstall, 18 Mar 2015
Spam

Aged 18-24? Don't care about voting? Got a phone? Oh dear...

The Electoral Commission has spotted two things: 18-24 year olds don’t vote and 18-24 year olds have smartphones. You'll never guess what's coming next. The commission, which is charged with getting the UK population out to vote, has employed Weve to peddle mobile voter registration to the youth market. Young adults will be …
Simon Rockman, 17 Mar 2015
Moments of perspiration

Tell us, do you enjoy the thought of BT-EE's sweaty fourplay?

The Competition and Markets Authority has written to telcos and media groups asking for their thoughts as it weighs up the implications of BT swallowing EE. Rivals, notably Vodafone, have already highlighted how much more radio spectrum the combined organisation will have than any of the other mobile phone networks. The telcos …
Simon Rockman, 16 Mar 2015