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Google signs up Sprint and T-Mobile to sell its cellphone plans – report

Google's plans to become a mobile phone operator – which we outlined earlier this month – have grown closer to reality with the news that the search giant has signed deals to run calls and data over Sprint and T-Mobile's network. According to news reports, Google will become a virtual network operator by buying access to the two …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jan 2015
John Chen

FORCE Apple to support BlackBerry hardware, demands John Chen

In a blog post on the BlackBerry website, CEO John Chen has called on regulators to force Apple and Netflix to support Blackberry hardware, claiming this forms part of the ongoing net neutrality debate. He argues that because BlackBerry has the eyes, ears and fingers of the most important people in the world – thanks to its …
Simon Rockman, 22 Jan 2015
The SAMSUNG GALAXY ALPHA lies on a white background, displays Home screen icons.

LEAKED: Samsung's iPHONE 6 KILLER... the Samsung Galaxy S6

Newly leaked specifications for the Samsung Galaxy S6 show the South Korean company taking the fight back to Apple. The expected flagship is expected to debut a year after we saw the S5 at Mobile World Congress. The “64-bit eight-core 14nm CPU which is 50% faster” could be the rumoured Snapdragon 820, but that’s likely to be …
Simon Rockman, 22 Jan 2015
Paul Graham installs a Parallel Networks cell for EE in Cumbria

EE data network goes TITSUP* after mystery firewall problem

Updated Mobile network operator EE appears to have been hit by a nation-wide outage. People took to Twitter this morning to complain of the network and data outage affecting large swathes of the country: @EE Data Network Down in Manchester area ?. Can't get any data connection on any either phone #ee #networkdown — Neil Reid (@tech2xs …
Kat Hall, 22 Jan 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft just saved Windows Phone... Now stop whining

Analysis It's always jam mañana for Windows Phone owners. In 2011, the "Apollo" update (which became Windows Phone 8.0) would bring new riches. Then it was 8.1. Now it's mid-year before Windows Phone 10 devices can storm the market. So at the enthusiast end of the market, they're not a happy lot. There hasn't been a headline-grabbing, …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jan 2015
Pretty woman looks miffed. Copyright: Danil Nevsky via Shutterstock http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=149618984&src=id

Cheer up UK mobile grumblers. It's about to get even pricier

You may not think being a mobile phone customer in Britain is much fun, what with rural Not Spots, the world's most irritating advertising campaigns*, and LTE arriving later (and rolling out slower) than anywhere else. Readers are quick to complain. But you actually get a better deal than you think. So enjoy it while you can, …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jan 2015
Slick looking picture of  xiaomi's Mi3 Android smartphone

China's Apple? PAH! We're looking for SUCCESS in internet TV – Xiaomi

Rising star mobile company Xiaomi is planning an assault on TV content and has reportedly set aside $1bn with which to do it. The company – which is currently giving Samsung a run for its money and recently raised $1.1bn to value the company at $45bn – has budgeted $1bn for building internet content in China and foreign markets …
Simon Rockman, 19 Jan 2015

Want an Internet of Stuff? Not so 4K-ing fast ... yet – Akamai

Analysis Akamai’s quarterly State of the Internet report paints a pretty grim picture for 4K adoption. As well as charting IPv6 uptake, an important step forward to catering for the billions of new connected objects that account for the Internet of Things (IoT), the report finds that internet speeds in many countries still lag behind the …
Faultline, 19 Jan 2015
O2 XDA Argon

Hong Kong mogul mulls MULTI-BEELLION POUND bid for O2 – report

British mobile operator O2 has reportedly been eyed up by Hong Kong biz baron Li Ka-shing, with a takeover bid of up to £9bn apparently being floated. The owner of Hutchison Whampoa, which controls UK mobe carrier Three, has been in tentative talks with Telfonica-run O2, according to a report in today's Sunday Times (£), which …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Jan 2015

US mobe network Sprint breaks ranks, says YES to net neutrality

Fourth-place US mobile operator Sprint has broken ranks with the telco industry and said it think that Title II legislation should apply to broadband internet provision - both wired and wireless. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - which is due to decide on the matter next month - Sprint CTO Stephen Bye …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Jan 2015
"334/365 this is a phoooonne!!!" - Lazurite

UK's landmark mobile not-spot deal already falling apart

The made-of-straw “landmark deal” to fix the not-spots in mobile phone infrastructure - which has made the UK the poor man of Europe in mobile coverage - is already starting to crumble. The necessary planning regulation to make it easier for the networks to roll out coverage to 90 per cent of the UK is being clumsily rushed …
Simon Rockman, 16 Jan 2015

You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

After such a banner year of Linux releases it might seem overly pessimistic to pause and ask this question: is there a future beyond this? The answer is, of course, "yes" – or rather it's yes, but... The qualifying "but" can take many forms, depending on who you talk to and what their stake is in the game. Even if you take the …
Supreme Court Building

Come now, don't be beastly to cellphone giants, Supremes tell America's town halls

The US Supreme Court has made it a bit easier for telcos to build cell towers in America. On Wednesday, the court ruled in a majority decision [PDF] that city governments must provide mobile network giants a reasonable amount of time to appeal when deciding on applications to build phone masts. The Supremes said Roswell, …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Jan 2015
Microsoft's Lumia 532 Dual-SIM

Microsoft rolls out even cheaper 'Notkia' Lumias

Windows Phones fanbois aren't happy that there's no new €600 flagship to fondle – but nobody can accuse Microsoft of complacency as it tackles the low-cost smartphone business. Microsoft's Lumia 435 The 435 – the cheapie with the front-facing camera Six months after it revealed its lowest cost model, Microsoft's phones …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jan 2015
Cellular antenna. Source: Vxla/Flickr

5G needs new connectivity methods, say Spanish boffins

While millimeter-wave radio frequencies are hyped as the future of high-speed wireless networks, they're severely range-limited. A group of Spanish boffins has proposed using user context information like location to help mobile devices get the best speed. As they explain in their paper at Arxiv, it's not enough just to run an …
BlackBerry Passport

BlackBerry Enterprise chief: Yes, we did leave users behind

Interview BlackBerry's previous management left its users behind and underused a vital asset, its enterprise chief told El Reg in a wide-ranging interview. John Sims is part of the rescue team brought in a year ago, when the Canadian giant was at rock bottom – and was seemingly on the wrong end of every trend in the business. The company …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jan 2015
jack russells racing with knitted 'jockeys' on their backs

You go fast, but we go 'further' and 'deeper' – Voda tells 'Speedy' EE

In a blog on the Vodafone website, its UK CEO Jeroen Hoencamp claims the global operator could build something as fast, or faster than, EE’s 300Mbps - it just doesn’t want to. Hoencamp claims that “one of the things that makes us different from others is that we have our 'low band spectrum'. What that means is that our 4G is on …
Simon Rockman, 13 Jan 2015
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

I don't think you're ready for this Jelly: Google pulls support for Android WebView

Google has decided to end support for older versions of Android WebView, the default web browser on 'droid devices. This will apply to users running 4.3 or earlier versions of its Android smartphone OS. It has decided instead to invite securobods to fix the problem, saying it "welcome(d) patches with the report for …
John Leyden, 12 Jan 2015
An Android robot blushes from embarrassment

Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

Stats from self-pleasuring site Pornhub (link vaguely NSFW - no pics but still contains the word Pornhub) show that mobile viewing has overtaken desktop, and Android is the OS of choice for viewers of its select content. The, ahem, growth is in part down to the site removing its limit on the number of videos a day that can be …
Simon Rockman, 12 Jan 2015

US govt opens door to Google The Cellphone Network

The US government has cleared the way for Google to become your next cellphone network provider – possibly without costing the company a pretty penny. As we revealed yesterday, the advertising giant wants to use the largely open spectrum at 3.5GHz to provide high-speed mobile data connections at low cost to phones and gadgets in …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Jan 2015
Lenovo's P90

Lenovo hopes to say Hello Moto to smartphone cash

A year after buying Motorola, Lenovo is looking to sell a lot of its once highly popular phones. The Chinese company expects the brand to account for 40 per cent of the smartphones it sells next year. Combined Motorola and Lenovo sales of smartphones last year were 85 million. This would make it the third-largest smartphone …
Simon Rockman, 9 Jan 2015
india

BILLIONTH Indian mobile subscriber due in 2015

Growth of India's mobile phone using population has stalled, but the nation looks on track to notch up its billionth subscriber during 2015. India's Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) helpfully pops out monthly counts of subscriber numbers. The most recent data, for says India had 937.06 million mobile phone subscriptions as of …
Airwave has given the police reliable comms

Police radios will be KILLED soon – yet no one dares say 'Huawei'

In less than 18 months' time the police radio network will be switched off. There is no obvious replacement and the looming omnishambles is turning into a bonanza for Arqiva, the only company brave enough to offer a solution. Peter Neyroud CBE, former head of the National Policing Improvement Agency and now at the University of …

Right, who feels like going to an Ofcom meeting? Anyone? Bueller?

Ofcom has released a draft of its plans for 2015 and 2016, promising to protect citizens, as well as allow them to express a view on developments, which is nice. The final plan will be published in March, but the draft allows interested parties to express a view, to be aired at one of a series of public meetings which you can …
Simon Rockman, 7 Jan 2015
"Image from the glassbrain project, neuroscapelab.com, UCSF

'Open' SIMs, brain chips and Google's Nest: What to expect in wireless in 2015

Analysis In mobile and wireless technologies, history will see 2014 as a year in which most of the dramas were about M&A rather than breakthrough technologies (although at least the industry was starting to move on from patent wars). However, it will also be seen as a year when the groundwork was laid for many trends that will shape the …
Man in an orange jumpsuit clutches prison bars. Image by Shutterstock

No cellphones in cells, you slag! UK.gov moots prison mobe zap law

New legislation to be discussed in Parliament today will compel mobile phone networks to cut off the phones of criminals who use mobile phones in prison. There is no onus on the Prison Service to prove a targeted phone is being used by a specific prisoner; the service will be able to apply to a court for it to be disconnected …
Simon Rockman, 5 Jan 2015
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Whew, US cellcos... Better find a new revenue stream, QUICK

Analysis The wave of operator consolidation across the Americas and Europe is driven by the urgent need to cut costs and achieve economies of scale. With average revenue per user (ARPU) falling, even for supposedly premium LTE and fiber services, and with huge infrastructure upgrades still ahead, carriers need to find drastic cost …
Huawei Campus Shenzhen Bantian

Huawei? Apple and Samsung's worst nightmare, pal

Huawei claims to have banked over $11bn in smartphone revenue in 2014 despite falling short of its volume prediction. Consumer chief Richard Yu says the Chinese giant shifted 75 million units in the year, a little short of the 80 million it had predicted - but still up 40 per cent from 2013, the WSJ reports. Three of the top …
Dom Joly

30 years ago today, the first commercial UK 'mobile' phone call was made

The first mobile phone calls were made on Cellnet and Vodafone 30 years ago today. The companies we know as Vodafone and O2 today were Racal-Vodafone and Securicor-Cellnet back then, phones were the size of a small suitcase and only did voice. They didn’t even let you assign names to the numbers in the phonebook. The two …
Simon Rockman, 1 Jan 2015
BlackBerry Passport

El Reg's Giant Mobile Industry Roundup of 2014: Part Deux

Part 2 Here's part two of El Reg's mobile industry review for 2014, where Andrew Orlowski picks out a few of the key trends. Click here for part one. Windows Phone made big strides in 2013, but was pegged back in 2014 for a number of reasons. Microsoft got a hyperactive new CEO Satya Nadella, who regarded the Nokia mobile devices …

T-Mobile US CEO on wearables: 'Apple Watch is the tipping point'

In a rash of annual predictions, T- Mobile big cheese John Legere claims that “Wearables and phablets will be the big device stories of 2015”. He goes on to look at exercise and fashion products as being in the same space: “I love what Jawbone, Fitbit, Samsung, LG, Microsoft and others are doing in the wearables space. But we …
Simon Rockman, 31 Dec 2014
Android icon desktop toys

El Reg's Giant Mobile Industry Roundup of 2014

Part 1 It has been a crowded year in mobile. Apple breathed life into its iPhone brand, Google tried to take control of Android, while Microsoft fell asleep at the wheel. The Chinese handset tide began to reach Europe. Nokia waved goodbye to its phone division and jumped back in with a tablet – and an unusual business proposition. …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Dec 2014
top of the bt tower

If BT gets EE, it will trigger EU treasure hunt for fixed lines

Opinion The agreement announced earlier this month for BT to enter exclusive negotiations with EE is part of what we have discussed now for the past two years: a re-pricing of the premium associated with cellular businesses, in favour of those based on fixed lines. This trend will continue and it is the yardstick by which you can …
Faultline, 31 Dec 2014
TalkTalk YouView set top box launch

TalkTalk eyes up Blinkbox for advanced FOURPLAY – report

Budget telco TalkTalk is reportedly pursuing a buyout of video-streaming service Blinkbox from Tesco. In the manoeuvrings to provide mobile, internet, TV and fixed phone services, Blinkbox had looked to be a good move for Britain's biggest supermarket, but while Tesco Mobile has been successful for the retail giant, BlinkBox …
Simon Rockman, 30 Dec 2014
Apple phone payement.

UK banks prepare for Apple Pay 'invasion', look to slap on bonking protection

Analysis Apple's attempt to launch its NFC payment solution in the UK could be thwarted by some financial institutions' concerns over privacy and security issues surrounding Cupertino's "invasion" of the banking industry. The system, which has been developed with the credit card companies, has been tried by two million iPhone 6 users in …
Simon Rockman, 30 Dec 2014

OnePlus vs Micromax: Dream of Google-less Android now further away

+Comment An obscure court case in India appears to have dented hopes of the mobile industry weaning itself off Google dependency - and has raised questions about the goals of Cyanogen and its backer, a Silicon Valley VC firm with close ties to Google. In the cosy world of Menlo Park VC firms, Andreessen Horowitz (or "A16Z") is as close …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2014
xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi router

'Apple of China' Xiaomi: Yep, we HAVE just bagged $1.1 BEELLION

Top Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi has confirmed reports that it has raised $1.1bn to fund its plans for world domination. In a Facebook Post, president and co-founder Bin Lin said: We just completed the latest round of funding last week, raising US$1.1 billion at valuation of US$45 billion. Investors include All- …
Simon Rockman, 29 Dec 2014
Gözde Kansu in the offending dress

Mobe not-spots 'landmark deal'? We ain't thick, Javid

The “landmark agreement” between the government and the mobile phone operators has been reported as a coup, something worthy, and a step forward. However, scratch the surface and it’s merely a face-saving exercise. It’s more than a little difficult to work out what the agreement actually says, but we here at the offices of El …
Simon Rockman, 26 Dec 2014
Funny money from south of the river

BONK for CASH in Brixton and help us EAT the RICH

The Brixton Pound (B£), the private currency for denizens of the slightly more affordable bit of earth next to Clapham, is to adopt near field communications, or NFC, payments. The area – which has become so painfully fashionable the locals are fighting back against poshos buying all the houses – has had its own currency for …
Simon Rockman, 22 Dec 2014

T-Mobile US to refund $90m for bogus charges: Un-Carrier to Un-Crammer

T-Mobile US will pay out $90m to settle cramming allegations raised by the US trade watchdog. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the telco will dish out the money as refunds to all customers who were pinned with hidden mobile cramming charges since 2010. The company – which portrays itself as the do-no-wrong Un-Carrier – …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Dec 2014
Swiss alps

Iliad owner coughs €2.3bn for Orange Switzerland

Xavier Niel, the owner of French ISP and mobile phone company Iliad, is buying Orange Switzerland for CHF2.8bn (€2.3bn) from VC Apax Partners. Iliad, under its Free Mobile brand, is a 3G and 4G operator but grew its mobile business through a 2G roaming deal with Orange and used aggressive pricing to grow its market share. Niel’ …
Simon Rockman, 19 Dec 2014
Mobile phone no service

UK.gov binds mobe operators to £5bn not-spot deal

Blighty’s government has announced a new deal with the top four mobe operators in the country to improve the state of so-called mobile roaming "not-spots". Culture secretary Sajid Javid announced a binding agreement with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, meaning they will tackle poor signal issues in certain areas by investing £5bn, …