QuickLinks - Mobile and wireless
QuickLinks - Mobile and wireless
Issue no. 369 - 5 November 2006
- O2 slashes European roaming rates
02 is introducing a new roaming scheme for voice calls in Europe, whereby incoming calls - currently costing 35p per minute - will be free in exchange for a monthly supplement. Starting immediately with UK customers roaming in Spain, the new tariff is planned to extend to 35 European territories by mid-2007. see also Talk as long as you like, but carry a big stick.
- Mobiles, protests and pundits
The use of mobiles in protest and politics and even banking is evolving faster than governments' efforts to control it. Academics also find the phenomenon baffling, though they are studying it hard.
Issue no. 368 - 15 October 2006
- UK - Operators switch on mobile TV trial
Mobile operators 3 UK, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone have launched a joint mobile TV trial. The technology adopted by the firms for the test broadcasts is TDtv. TDtv is designed to enable mobile operators to deliver multiple TV channels to an unlimited number of customers. Mobile operators deploying TDtv would also be able to deliver digital audio, multicast or other IP datacast services.
Issue no. 367 - 23 September 2006
- EU - O2 airs grievances to Ombudsman
In the latest development in antitrust cases against mobile operators for alleged illegal price-rigging on the international roaming market, O2 has appealed to the European Ombudsman. In July 2004, the Commission sent 'statements of objection' to Vodafone and O2, accusing the two operators of using their dominant positions on the market for mobile telephony in Britain to charge operators from abroad exaggerated rates for passing on their customers' international calls. In its complaint to the Ombudsman, O2 accused the Commission of attempting "to conceal evidence on its file, which O2 is entitled to see and which supports O2's defence".
- UK - Vodafone makes broadband move
Mobile phone operator Vodafone is to enter the UK fixed-line broadband market after striking a deal to use infrastructure from BT. The contract means Vodafone does not have to invest in a fixed-line network of its own. Vodafone hopes to launch the new service before the end of the year. The move will enable its customers to benefit from bundled packages of mobile and broadband services nationwide.
- BE - Vodafone exits Belgium for £1.4bn
Vodafone has sold its 25% stake in the Belgian mobile phone business Proximus to Belgacom for 2bn euros (£1.4bn). The deal is in line with Vodafone's strategy of pulling out of markets with limited long-term commercial benefit. The firm sold its Japanese business last year for £8.9bn and has come under pressure to sell its holding in US business Verizon Wireless.
- Wireless: Mobile operators forget parents at their peril
(International Herald Tribune)
Children are the future, especially for mobile phone operators: kids love to communicate, they play games and buy music, and they don't mind fiddling around with complicated technology. The cellphone industry, recognizing all of the above, is enthusiastically seeking ways to attract the youth market to more advanced data services - game and music downloads, video clips and more. But analysts caution that operators must tread carefully, for what kids crave is often at odds with the wishes of their parents, who pay the bills and worry about what kinds of content their children are exposed to.
Issue no. 366 - 3 September 2006
- UK - Disney scraps mobile plan
Disney has ditched plans to start a UK virtual mobile network (MVNO), blaming adverse changes in the retail environment for its decision. O2, which was to provide the service for Disney, said Disney content will still be made available, but there won't be Mickey Mouse phones in the foreseeable future. In the US, Disney has successfully launched its MVNO network, based around giving parents control of their children's spending, and the ability to track their kids through their phone handsets.
Issue no. 365 - 15 August 2006
- DE - Kinderpsychiaterin: Handys können kindliche Entwicklung verzögern
Besitzen Kinder zu früh ein eigenes Handy, kann das ihre Entwicklung verzögern. Das Mobiltelefon erschwere die notwendige Ablösung von den Eltern, sagte Christa Schaff, Fachärztin für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Vorsitzende des Berufsverbandes für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie (BKJPP) in Neuss. "Für Kinder unter zehn Jahren ist ein Handy nicht sinnvoll", sagte die Expertin dem dpa/gms-Themendienst.
- EU - Commission agrees with decision by French regulator on SMS
The European Commission has endorsed the findings by the French national regulatory authority, ARCEP ('‘l´Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques'), to regulate the wholesale prices charged by mobile phone operators for incoming short text (SMS) messages on mobile phones. ARCEP is the first EU Member State regulator to propose such a move.
- EU - Commission opens public consultation on the protection of minors using mobile phones
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the potential risks for children of using mobile phones. Input is invited from any stakeholder, including child safety, parent and consumer organisations, mobile network operators, content providers, handset and network manufacturers, and regulators. The consultation will run until 16 October 2006.
- EU - Commission proposes regulation on roaming
An EU regulation that would cut the cost of using mobile phones abroad by up to 70% was tabled by the Commission. The Commission wants to ensure that prices paid by consumers for roaming services within the EU are not unjustifiably higher than those they pay for calling within their own country (European Home Market Approach).
- Vodafone Content Standards
Mobile phones offer a wide range of features including picture messaging, downloadable pictures and video clips, games and internet access. These technologies bring significant benefits to our business and personal lives, but can also raise concerns about misuse. We care about our customers and have developed tools to combat spam and enable parents to protect their children from inappropriate content, contact and commercialism. The implementation of our content standards varies between markets reflecting local cultures and specific areas of concern. see also Privacy.
Issue no. 364 - 7 July 2006
- EU - Brussels split over mobile roaming rates
Contentious plans to slash the prices Europeans pay to make mobile phone calls while abroad are in doubt after splits emerged in Brussels about the damage they might cause telecommunications companies. Peter Mandelson and Günter Verheugen, two of the European Commission's biggest hitters, claim that excessive new regulations could damage the competitiveness of mobile phone operators such as Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile.
- EU - Reducing mobile roaming charges for Europe's business customers
Speech by Viviane Reding. Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. The importance of reducing mobile roaming charges for the competitiveness of Europe's business customers. Conference of EVUA - the Enterprise Virtual Private Networks Users Association. Brussels, 29 June 2006.
- UK - Mobile phone users can now access Google news and email
British mobile phone users will be able to access Google's news and email services using their handsets and personalise their own mobile version of the search engine's homepage, as the American company pushes ever further into the mobile internet.
Issue no. 363 - 25 June 2006
- EU - Anger at cap on mobile charges
Mobile phone firms have reacted angrily to new ideas put forward by the European Commission to cut costs for consumers making calls on trips abroad. They are concerned that plans to put a cap on foreign call charges will distort competition within the market, and stifle innovation. Brussels has consciously provoked a heated public debate on the issue of roaming charges. People currently pay much higher charges abroad than for domestic calls.
- ITU - The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services
An international experts workshop under the ITU New Initiatives Programme on the "The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services" was held from 21-23 June 2006 in Mainz, Germany. The workshop was hosted by Germany’s Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway (BNetzA). See issues paper: The regulatory environment for future mobile multimedia services: Issues Paper [Ed: Highly recommended]
Issue no. 362 - 11 June 2006
- US - Verizon to launch mobile chaperone service
Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 U.S. cell phone service provider, plans to launch a wireless service that lets parents check their children's whereabouts and alerts them when they venture out of bounds. Parents can use the service to set up geographic limits and receive text alerts if their children, who also carry phones, go too far from home. The service also lets parents check where their offspring are via a map on their cell phone or computer.
- BBC and ITV to trial mobile TV
ITV and the BBC are to take part in trials of mobile TV services, according to industry rumours. The six-month experiment to broadcast television content live to mobile phones will be carried out with handset makers LG and Samsung.
- UK - Handsets look to eclipse cameras
Camera phones could replace digital cameras as the main gadgets people use to take pictures, a study suggests. It found that 44% of people already use their handset as their main camera. The days of the MP3 player also look to be numbered, as 67% of those questioned said they expected their phone to replace their portable music player. The survey, commissioned by handset maker Nokia, comes as the number of mobile phones in use around the world approaches 2.5 billion.
Issue no. 360 - 14 May 2006
- EU - European international roaming
On 11 May 2006, the European Regulators Group (ERG) published its second response to the EC's proposals for a Regulation on the price of international roaming services. The ERG reiterated its support for the Commission's objective for a substantial reduction in average retail roaming prices though it has significant reservations, shared by Ofcom, about the regulatory mechanisms proposed by the EC. see also ERG Press Release
- EU - Industry and consumers at odds over EU mobile phone plan
A Brussels initiative to regulate European roaming prices would be counterproductive, the association representing mobile phone operators has said, arguing that the market is the best way to meet customers' needs. 'This is a nice headline, eye-catching proposal but it doesn't work,' said Tom Phillips, regulatory affairs officer of GSM, a global association representing more than 690 mobile operators around the world, including T-Mobile, Vodafone and Orange.
- EU - Regulators won't act over retail roaming charges
European telecoms regulators are continuing to argue that no intervention is necessary to curb retail mobile roaming prices, a policy that appears to put them at odds with the European Commission.
- UK - O2 undercuts rivals on roaming fees
O2 has taken the lead in the race to make European roaming tariffs more affordable - and avoid sanctions from the EC. Mobile operator O2 has launched two roaming price plans, giving its UK customers cheaper overseas rates than any of its competitors and becoming the first network to allow frequent travellers to receive calls overseas for free.
Issue no. 359 - 9 May 2006
- DE - Teenie-Mobilfunkverträge: Nicht günstig, aber sicher
Die Mobilfunk-Provider bieten spezielle Verträge für Jugendliche an, die zu hohe Rechnungen und Verschuldung verhindern sollen. Sie sind allerdings nicht unbedingt preiswert. Die Besonderheit an den Verträgen für jugendliche Mobiltelefonierer liegt in den verschiedenen Möglichkeiten, die Kosten unter Kontrolle zu halten.
- EU - Vodafone joins moves to cut cost of calls from abroad
Vodafone has joined the race to reduce the cost of using a mobile phone abroad before the European commission introduces new regulations to force the industry to cut its charges. The company promised to cut the average cost of a roaming call for customers in 11 European markets, including Britain, by 40% by April next year.
- EU - Kommission arbeitet an Mobilfunk-Kodex für den Jugendschutz
Die EU-Kommission will ein Memorandum of Understanding mit Europas Mobilfunkbetreibern zum Schutz von Kindern und Jugendlichen schließen. Das berichtete Horst Forster, Direktor in der Generaldirektion Informationsgesellschaft und Medien der EU-Kommission bei der 3. Zukunftswerkstatt der Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz, der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland und der Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung gestern in Berlin. Der Tausch von Gewaltvideos über Mobilfunktelefone, aber auch die Abzocke von Jugendlichen über Premium-SMS-Angebote wurde von verschiedenen Referenten bei der Jugendschutzveranstaltung als wachsendes Problem bezeichnet.
- Watch Out, Kids: With GPS Phones, Big Mother Is Watching
Sprint Nextel has introduced a new service called Family Locator that lets parents track their kids' whereabouts, using the GPS capabilities in each child's cellphone.
Issue no. 358 - 21 April 2006
- EU - International mobile roaming charges
At a press conference, Commissioner Vivane Reding, flanked by Kip Meek of Ofcom, currently chairman of the European Regulators Group (ERG), confirmed the intention of the European Commission to seek the adoption of a Regulation on international mobile roaming charges in the EU. The ERG released its own position, and it differs from what is suggested by the European Commission, in that it envisages regulation only at the wholesale level, combined with measures to achieve retail pricing transparency, but not retail price regulation as such (at least not initially - retail price regulation is retained as a reserve option in case of failure of the other envisaged measures).
- EU - International Mobile Roaming: Commissioner Reding outlines proposal for regulation
Excessive charges for using your mobile phone abroad could soon belong to the past. The European Commission's updated website of international roaming charges adds further weight to its proposal to bring down these charges by means of an EU regulation. The new EU regulation could in particular eliminate all roaming charges for receiving a call when traveling abroad in the EU. In addition, for calls made while travelling abroad in the EU, the new EU regulation could introduce the "home pricing" principle.
- Mobile phone users just want to talk
Most mobile phone users just want to use their handsets to make voice calls, and are not interested in advanced features such as internet access, email or IM, according to a study carried out for AOL, Associated Press and Pew Research Center.
- UK - Exam authority finds rise in mobile phone cheats
Cheating students are increasingly turning to mobile phones to help them pass exams, according to figures published by the government's exam watchdog. The first detailed breakdown of malpractice by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority reveals a growing use of electronic gadgetry.
- US - Disney offers teen-tracker mobile
Disney is launching a US service that will enable parents to monitor how their children use their mobile phones. They will be able to track voice, text, video and picture messages and set limits on their children's calls.
- UK - Mobile pop downloads prove a hit
More people than ever are downloading music on their mobile phones. Nearly 7% of all chart music bought this year has been downloaded through a mobile service, according to the Official UK Charts Company (OCC).
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
- EU - Television is going Mobile - and needs a pan European policy approach
Sppech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. International CeBIT Summit, Hannover, Germany, 8 March 2006.
- EU leaders seek to scrap mobile roaming charges
EU leaders suggested scrapping all mobile phone roaming charges yesterday in a move to crack down on excessive charges levied on consumers who use foreign networks. At a summit in Brussels, the EU leaders promised to investigate the possibility of eliminating all charges. The pledge from the Austrian presidency of the EU provoked a sharp response from operators, who described it as unnecessary interference. See Further Roaming Regulation is Unnecessary and Potentially Damaging (GSM Association).
- 3G mobiles 'change social habits'
Increasing use of 3G mobile phones can change the way people communicate and create new social trends and tribes, a behavioural study has suggested. The study said the combination of still and video cameras on modern phones, and the advent of high speed data transfer, can inspire a generation of users.
Issue no. 356 - 27 February 2006
- AU - Ring tones drain kids' pockets
(Sydney Morning Herald)
Children continue to be sucked into signing up for costly ring tone subscriptions despite moves to crack down on the industry. A 12-year-old was recently charged $80 in fees when she thought she had bought a one-off ring tone. She had responded to a television ad from ring tone company Jamster, notorious for its Crazy Frog icon. Like many children, she had not read the fine print on the screen and did not realise she had signed up for a weekly subscription rather than a single ring tone.
- EU - Mobile roaming: Call for Comments
The European Commission believes that consumers continue to pay unreasonably high prices for using their mobile phone abroad. This is reducing cross-border use of mobile phones and presents an obstacle to the European market for electronic communications, so the Commission has started work on an EU regulation on international roaming charges. Your views are welcome by close of business on 17 March 2006.
- EU - Mrs Reding announces Regulation on roaming costs
Towards a true internal market for electronic communications. Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, European Regulators Group, Paris, 8 February 2006. I have asked my services to start working on an EU regulation on international roaming charges that the European Commission could propose to the European Parliament and the Council well before the summer break. When we come to review the regulatory framework in 2006, we may agree that there is no need for increasing the Commission powers substantially, but there is room for improvement in getting regulators to think beyond their national boundaries. As we go forward, I would ask for your support on using the ERG, not just as a source of regulatory expertise for its members, but also for the purpose of delivering more of a genuine internal market than has been the case to date, for example by seeking more consistency in the imposition of remedies.
- How to Regulate Tomorrow's Mobile Market
10 Regulatory Principles from the GSM Association. More regulation while competition is increasing? That does not sound right, according to the GSM Association. Instead, given the innovative nature of 3GSM, its embryonic status and the current lack of market and legal certainty, regulatory forbearance is advisable.
- Leading Mobile Operators to Deliver Ubiquitous Instant Messaging
The GSM Association (GSMA) announced an initiative to make instant messaging as popular and ubiquitous among mobile users as text messaging. As part of this initiative, 15 of the world's leading mobile phone operators plan to rollout instant messaging services that will work across networks.
- Leading Operators Join Forces to Tackle Mobile Spam
The GSM Association (GSMA) has brought together 15 of the world's leading mobile phone operators to sign a code of practice committing them to work together to minimize spam sent via text and picture messages.
- UK - Mobile phone users get licence warning
Mobile phone users excited at the prospect of watching television on their Nokias and Sony Ericssons without a TV licence face the same fines as those caught without one at home.
- Mobile services vie for attention
A record 50,000 visitors and nearly 1,000 exhibitors crammed themselves into the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona. Is this year really going to be as big for mobiles as the industry seems to believe?
- UK - Mobile tracking devices on trial
Your mobile phone is a beacon - a radio transmitter in a box. Therefore it is possible to trace the signal and work out where it is. There are now several web companies which will track your friends' and family's phones for you, so you always know where they are. But just how safe is it to make location details available online?
Issue no. 355 - 5 February 2006
- EU to crack down on mobile roaming charges
Telecoms companies face action by the European Commission to force down the prices they charge the European Union's 380m customers for international mobile-phone use. Viviane Reding, European telecoms commissioner, will outline legislative plans to tackle the issue when she addresses industry regulators at a meeting in Paris.
Issue no. 354 - 31 January 2006
- UK - Mobile TV is not a turn-on, BT trial finds
Mobile phone users are more interested in listening to digital radio through their handsets than watching mobile television services, according to research, and are only willing to pay about £5 a month for the privilege of catching up with their favourite shows on a phone's small screen. The first major British trial of real broadcast mobile television was carried out by BT and Virgin Mobile among 1,000 users within London's M25 motorway.
- UK - Ofcom to probe mobile roaming charges
Ofcom is to investigate the UK's wholesale international roaming market, amid reports that UK holidaymakers could be paying up to five times more than necessary for using their mobile phones overseas. The telecoms regulator has also published a consumer guide to using mobile phones abroad.
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