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MEPs, Council still deadlocked over EU telco laws

After three years of negotiations, the proposals to overhaul Europe’s critical telecoms rules could come to nothing, with political power blocks seemingly deadlocked. The so-called Telco Package has been shorn of many of its original proposals and has now been whittled down to just two major issues: net neutrality and roaming …
A bus on fire in Whaddon

Nice 4G-for-plods demo, Samsung. Good luck actually selling it

Samsung has staked its claim towards being an integral part of the emergency services with a demonstration of its public safety solution - the first based on the 3GPP Rel.12 standard - using LTE technology. A post on the official Samsung blog explains how 80 devices were connected to a network to demonstrate PS-LTE, or Public …
Simon Rockman, 2 Jun 2015
UNicorn

Japan, EU: we'll research 5G unicorns together

We don't know what 5G will look like yet, apart from fast and probably expensive, but Japan and the European Union have agreed to cooperate to research the coming-in-2020 mobile standards. Under the agreement announced Friday, the partners will work together on standards efforts, and to harmonise the radio spectrum to be used in …

Apple: Relax, fanbois! We never meant to read your heart rate during wild wrist action

Apple – having tweaked how its Watch monitors a customer's heart rate – has been forced to explain the change, after fitness freaks freaked out about the gizmo's irregular tracking function. On Saturday, in an update on its support page, the iThing maker explained that Apple's wristjob "attempts to measure your heart rate every …
Kelly Fiveash, 31 May 2015
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Mergers scuttle strategy as Ofcom reneges on spectrum promise

Ofcom wants to hold onto the 60MHz of the 190MHz of spectrum it had announced would be for sale, and is floating the idea of scaling things back, citing a change in market conditions for the sale, slated for the end of this year or the beginning of next. In the revision to the proposals, Ofcom said: “Since the publication of …
Simon Rockman, 27 May 2015
Hyundai Android Auto

First production car powered by Android Auto rolls out – and it's a Hyundai

Nearly a year after Google announced it was adapting Android to act as a car operating system, the first vehicle using the software has gone on sale from South Korean carmaker Hyundai. Google demoed its Android Auto operating system at last year's I/O developer conference, and said then it had 40 car companies lined up to use …
Iain Thomson, 26 May 2015

Microsoft: Cortana not exclusive to Windows – it loves Android, iOS too

Cortana, Microsoft's personal digital assistant that will be built into Windows 10, will also be available on Android and iOS devices, the software giant confirmed on Tuesday following rumors that have been swirling around since March. In a blog post, Microsoft operating systems veep Joe Belfiore said that most – but not all – …
Neil McAllister, 26 May 2015

O2 craps itself on national Blighty holiday as cabinet minister moans: 'Oi, sort it out!'

Updated O2 customers up and down the UK were left without access to the carrier's mobile service on Bank Holiday Monday, after its network buckled for five hours yesterday evening. Even former Minster of Fun Sajid Javid – who is now Business Secretary under the new Tory government – griped about O2's pisspoor service. He tweeted: No …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 May 2015
Poor people in India queue for a political party-sponsored medical check. Pic: Welfare Party of India

Zero rating? Zero chance says Vodafone India

Vodafone India, country’s second-biggest mobile operator, has announced it will hold off offering zero-rated services amid a fierce political argument about the practice. Zero-rated services are offered to customers when an online service provider, such as Facebook, Spotify or, in the Indian case Flipkart, does a deal with the …
Jennifer Baker, 22 May 2015
classroom_shutterstock_648

Mobiles at school could be MAKING YOUR KID MORE DUMBER

Restricting smart watch and mobile phone use can be a low-cost policy to reduce educational inequalities. This is the conclusion of a report by Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy working at the London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance (pdf) and Louisiana State University. The survey looked at a number of …
Simon Rockman, 21 May 2015
Vittorio Colao (CEO)

Brexit-fearing Vodafone: Of course we’ll make money from 4G

Vodafone has announced steady-as-she-goes results for the year to 31 March 2015, with group revenue up 10.1 per cent to £42.2bn, and the first increase in service revenue for ten quarters (albeit only 0.1 per cent) — all pretty much in line with what the company had forecast. Emerging markets saw a six per cent increase, …
Simon Rockman, 20 May 2015
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Pic: openDemocracy

Turkey president: Nuts to 4G networks, we're cutting straight to 5G

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that as Turkey doesn’t have 4G yet, the country might as well wait a couple of years and go straight to 5G. This is a pretty bold move given that we don’t even know what 5G is yet – although there are expected to be some announcements from the ITU in June. Most countries are …
Simon Rockman, 15 May 2015

Mobe network Three is the magic number for FreedomPop

The MVNO beloved by Californians, FreedomPop, is courting beta testers in the UK. The service will offer 200MBs of data, 200 voice minutes, and 200 texts completely free each month via the FreedomPop app, or new international SIM. FreedomPop is now accepting orders on a first-come, first-serve basis. Numbers are allocated by …
Simon Rockman, 13 May 2015
Workers in a Foxconn plant, credit: Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

Foxconn joins the Cyanogen investment party

Chinese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn has joined Twitter, Qualcomm, Telefónica and others to swell Cyanogen’s round C funding to $110m. Neither company is saying how much Foxconn is investing, but before the announcement the round C stood at $80m. The money will go to build on the Cyanogen platform – which riffs on Android – “to …
Simon Rockman, 13 May 2015
Maybe it won't look like this

Tesco tries to talk Tesco Mobile up from 'Value' to 'Finest' ahead of sale

Analysis Tesco is rumoured to be selling off Tesco Mobile, its mobile phone network. The move comes as no surprise, with the company hauling back to its core businesses after dismal results, recently writing down assets to post a loss of £6.4bn. Figures given for the value of the business sit at about £700m. This is on the basis of Tesco …
Simon Rockman, 13 May 2015

Sprint and Verizon to pay $158 MILLION over bogus 'cramming' fees

US mobile operators Sprint and Verizon will pay out a combined $158m after the Feds ruled that they allowed advertisers to tack unwanted premium charges onto customers' bills. According to the FCC, the carriers looked the other way when dodgy companies signed customers up for services without warning them that would be billed …
Shaun Nichols, 12 May 2015
Image from Shutterstock 161369036

Boffins set to reveal state of play on fully duplex comms - on the same FREQ

A conference at Bristol university is set to reveal the current state of the art on Full Duplex technology, which allows for transmitting and receiving signals on the same frequency at the same time. The idea that a radio can simultaneously shout and listen has been regarded as both old, established technology and a bonkers …
Simon Rockman, 11 May 2015
management regulation2

Ericsson to Apple: Cough up for licences or stop selling iPhones, iPads and Watches

The expiry of patent licences from Ericsson means that Apple has been selling phones it should not have been, according to Ericsson, and the Swedish commtech firm has now asked Apple to pay up or stop doing it. Ericsson has filed suits in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands against Apple's products. The whole area of …
Simon Rockman, 8 May 2015
Throttling

With FTC suit looming, AT&T backs off on throttling 'unlimited' data plans

AT&T has apparently had a rethink regarding its policy of limiting data transfer speeds for heavy users who subscribe to its so-called unlimited data plans. The US telco giant now says it will only throttle mobile data gluttons when they are in areas with heavy traffic. The reworded policy, which AT&T customers first began …
Shaun Nichols, 7 May 2015
Looks like DNA

Great, we all want 5G mobile broadband. Now just how are we gonna wire it all up?

The UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has set up a new focus group to look at how today’s landline networks can be adapted to provide the backhaul for 5G. In other words, how to use today's cabling to link high-speed 5G phone masts to carrier networks and the wider internet. Some of the language the ITU uses has …
Simon Rockman, 6 May 2015
£10 notes. Pic: Howard Lake

Firm with 80 per cent of UK mobile numbers fails to monetise them, sold to O2

Weve, the mobile marketing consortium of EE, O2 and Vodafone, is being sold to O2. The organisation, which was formed with £38m from its wealthy parents under the codename “Project Oscar” fought significant regulatory hurdles with the aim of building a common technology for mobile NFC payments. Weve was launched at the end of …
Simon Rockman, 5 May 2015
Woman on phone. Pic: Carolyn Coles

AT&T fined for gouging Uncle Sam on phone plans for poor folk

AT&T has been fined $10.9m by US regulator the FCC for overcharging the government on phone plans for poor people. The watchdog said the telco over-billed the US government between 2012 and 2013 while providing the Lifeline service to hard-up citizens. Lifeline works like this: the cell networks offer discounted or free phone …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Apr 2015

Why the US government reckons it should keep phone network kill-switches a secret

Analysis The US government has argued that the rules around how and when it is allowed to shutdown phone networks must remain secret because the disclosure could endanger lives. In a court filing [PDF] this week, lawyers from the Department of Justice argued that public disclosure of Standard Operating Procedure 303 (SOP 303) "would …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Apr 2015
David Cameron

David Cameron 'guarantees' action on mobe not-spots. Honest

It’s election time, so all the party leaders are promising everything to everyone. The latest one from David Cameron is good mobile phone coverage. According to Mobile News, Cameron told a meeting of chartered accountants: “These things aren’t discussed in some dusty corner of a business park. They are discussed round the …
Simon Rockman, 28 Apr 2015

Today, the US govt must explain why its rules on shutting down whole cell networks are a secret

The US government will be forced to explain why its cell network kill-switch plans should be kept secret today. Under Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 303, the US government – in particular the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – is allowed to shutdown cellphone service anywhere in the country, and even across an entire …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Apr 2015
5_pounds_sterling_money_cash_moolah

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 …