QuickLinks - Mobile and wireless
QuickLinks - Mobile and wireless
Mobile and wireless
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Issue no. 413 - 20 February 2011
EU - Delivering solutions on roaming and radio spectrum
European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes told the world’s largest mobile industry conference the industry needs to invest more in new and better broadband networks. Kroes said she wanted to start a debate about this challenge. "This lack of investment will choke you in the coming years and hurt Europe in general. Some people say that we will be crushed by the Far East on production and beaten by the Far West on content. I am not willing to write Europe off in either of those fields but we have to take measures to respond to these major challenges. And I am sure of one thing – the domain we can influence most directly is our networks, and if we do not get that right, the future for all digital business in Europe will be bleak!" Kroes said finalising the proposed EU Radio Spectrum Policy Programme is critical for expanding wireless internet in Europe. She also announced that the Commission's latest consultation on roaming has confirmed that competition in roaming services is not yet sufficiently strong and that there is "strong support for continuing price regulation.". However, "we cannot exclude that different approaches may need to be implemented ... while I doubt that time may in itself solve our problems, it seems difficult to think that we can maintain price regulation forever." Mobile World Congress Barcelona, 14 February 2011. <
EU - Towards a Single Market for mobile roaming
Neelie Kroes European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda GSMA Europe's Mobile Day – Annual Reception Brussels, 8 December 2010. Ordinary citizens and businesses cannot understand why operators charge at today's high levels. It is even more difficult for consumers to understand data pricing. Less than 5 cents for downloading a MB of data at home can turn into €2.60 per MB when they cross an invisible, and mostly artificial, border! It frustrates me to see that real price competition is not emerging in roaming services markets. Operators are generally setting roaming prices close to, or exactly at, the maximum allowable levels. Despite recent developments, I still see an average retail price that makes consumers' eyes water. Really. Frankly this is a nightmare for business people, for tourists, for young people in particular. See also
Commission launches consultation on review of EU mobile phone roaming rules
. The consultation runs until 11 February 2011.
Issue no. 411 - 3 October 2010
EU - EC chooses iPhone, HTC over BlackBerry
The European Commission has opted for the iPhone and HTC handsets over the BlackBerry to roll out to its employees. The search for a new smartphone began in 2008 when the Commission, the European Union's executive arm, was deploying a new synchronization tool, prompting it to evaluate different devices on the market, including BlackBerrys. The EC has been using PDAs made by Q-Tek (later HTC) since 2003.
US - How to text without a cell phone
An app for the iPod Touch called Textfree assigns users a real phone number, and lets them send and receive texts for free. The trade-offs are minor. To text, they need to be connected to Wi-Fi and to deal with ads bannered across the bottom of the app. In the roughly two months since users of Pinger's Textfree app started getting assigned actual phone numbers, Pinger has handed out 1.6 million. That's as many wireless numbers as AT&T gave out to net new subscribers in April, May, and June. Pinger is now sending out about 630 million text messages per month; 70 percent of those are sent from iPod Touches, and 30 percent are sent from iPhones. The median age of the app's users is 18. See also
Free Text Messaging Is Possible
(New York Times) by David Pogue.
Issue no. 408 - 25 April 2010
Vodafone takes Opera to the masses in the developing world
Vodafone has been working with Opera to customise Opera Mini for use on its networks in the developing world, pushing the mobile internet to those unfamiliar with the fixed alternative. The project will roll out in India, South Africa, Turkey, Tanzania and Egypt, and involves providing the Java-based Opera Mini along with customised home pages in local languages. "With this product, we can transform even basic handsets into very capable internet browsing devices, enabling millions of people to enjoy the social and economic aspects of the internet" says the statement from Vodafone's Head of Emerging Markets.
Issue no. 407 - 28 March 2010
EU - Mobile phone customers entitled to protection from data-roaming "bill shock"
, mobile phone operators are obliged to offer their customers from 1 March 2010 a monthly cut-off limit of €50. Customers will receive a warning when they hit 80% of the chosen limit. Until 1 July 2010, customers need to make a deliberate choice in order to benefit from a cut-off limit. Customers who do not make a choice by 1 July 2010 will have the cut-off limit set at €50 by default as from that date. Thanks to the EU's roaming rules, the price that operators pay each other per megabyte (MB) downloaded has been limited to a safeguard level of 1€ per MB, and it will fall over the next two years. These savings should be passed on to consumers and deliver lower prices for surfing the Internet while abroad.
Issue no. 406 - 21 February 2010
How the smartphone made Europe look stupid
The European giants that pioneered the mobile telecoms industry are now stumbling in the wake of American and Asian rivals.
Two Dozen Carriers Worldwide Unite Against Apple's App Store
Two dozen of the world's largest mobile-phone companies, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, NTT DoCoMo, Deutsche Telekom, China Mobile and Vodafone, are teaming up to create an "open international applications platform," which is in direct response to Apple's success with its own iPhone App Store. see
. The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress. In addition to the 24 carriers, the GSMA and three device manufacturers - LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson - are also supporting the initiative. All combined, the group reaches 3 billion subscribers worldwide, making it easily the largest app-store initiative. However, the task will also be exceedingly complicated because of the massive scope and technological barriers in uniting so many disparate platforms and operators.
Issue no. 405 - 24 January 2010
Big sign of increasingly mobile Web
(Net Family News)
If anyone had any doubts about how big the mobile Web will be, Google's release of its Nexus One phone should erase them. It's part of Google's "careful plan to try to do what few other technology companies have done before: retain its leadership as computing shifts from one generation to the next," the New York Times
. And this shift is computing, shopping, gaming, info-gathering, communicating, photo-sharing, learning, teaching, producing, etc. on smart phones. According to Nielsen, about 18% of mobile phones were smartphones last year (up from 13% the year before, and a projected 40-50% of mobile phones sold this year will be smart phones.
Google's biggest announcement was not a phone, but a URL
The real news at Google's event wasn't a phone at all, but a URL: http://google.com/phone. An online storefront that, if successful, could knock one of the major pillars out the current, much-reviled US carrier model and result in faster, cheaper, more flexible service for mobile users. Here's how it works. In short, what Google announced wasn't just the Nexus One, but America's America's first carrier-independent smartphone store; the Google store is now the only smartphone store in the US where, for every phone on offer, you first pick which phone you want, and then you pick a network and a plan on that network.
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
a free newsletter appearing approximately every two to three weeks. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list.
a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham
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