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Ofcom says mobile contracts should ditch inflation-related price rises

Ofcom says mobile contracts should ditch inflation-related price rises

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom wants to ban inflation-related rises in phone and broadband contracts. Instead, it says any potential mid-contract price rises should be set out in pounds and pence.
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Global smartphone market is set for recovery, says new forecast

A new forecast from research specialists Canalys shows the smartphone market is set to recover next year. Worldwide shipments declined by 12% last year but that decline is expected to slow to 5% this year.
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Vodafone and Three plan to merge their UK businesses

Vodafone and Three plan to merge their UK businesses

New Hutchison/Vodafone network would be biggest UK operator

Vodafone Group plc and CK Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings Limited have agreed to combine their UK telecommunication businesses, respectively Vodafone UK and Three UK. The merger will create a large new network operator to compete with Virgin Media O2 and EE.
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UK mobile payment service Paym to close in March 2023

UK mobile payment service Paym will close on 7th March 2023. The service, which allowed users to make and receive payments using their mobile phone numbers, was launched in 2014.
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Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Which? seeks payout for Samsung and Apple smartphone owners

Consumer protection organisation Which? has been given permission by the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal to represent Apple and Samsung smartphone buyers in a legal case against chip manufacturer Qualcomm.
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Opinion Articles

Friday, March 7, 2014

Key themes from Mobile World Congress 2014

by Andrew Skinner, Relationship Director of the Technology, Media & Telecoms team at Barclays

The GSMA reported that 85,000 visitors attended Mobile World Congress this year, breaking all previous records for the show. Andrew Skinner, Relationship Director of the Technology, Media & Telecoms (TMT) team at Barclays, reflects on his time in Barcelona and some of the key themes to come out of this year’s show.

Security and privacy was a big focus at MWC 2014, with industry leaders Samsung announcing Knox, a secure solution for mobile devices. Whether they are owned by corporations or employees smart phones and tablets are increasingly used to access sensitive corporate networks and data, and an interesting product launch was the super secure Blackphone. Whether or not companies are genuinely planning to place more emphasis on mobile device security remains to be seen, but it will be fascinating to see how uptake and adoption of secure devices and services changes over the course of the next 12 months.

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Wearable technology was everywhere at the show, and many devices had healthy living as the technology driver. This is a market that will eventually evolve beyond fitness bands and heart rate monitors and Sony’s SmartBand promises to track every aspect of a user’s life. Meanwhile, Samsung unveiled no less than three different variations of smart watch, all of which extend the functionality of mobile technology, although one of these is still fitness and wellbeing-centric.

For both carriers and handset manufacturers, 4G is still being pushed as huge investments are made in the infrastructure to support it, and a variety of handsets that are 4G enabled. LTE isn’t without its issues at the minute but user adoption does seem to be picking up pace. As for 5G, while some people at the show were certainly talking about it and it’s being invested in heavily, we’re probably a few years off this becoming a reality. The EU is pushing for 5G roll-out plans to be ready by 2015 though and the speeds data could be whizzing around the globe at in the not too distant future are extremely exciting prospects.

The GSMA was keen to promote the benefits of Near Field Communications, with mobile accessory manufacturer Incipio offering attendees free NFC enabled sleeves for iPhones, so users could make use of the NFC access points in the conference hall.

The Internet of Things is slowly gaining traction and, with 2014 touted by many as the year it could go mainstream, it was a common theme throughout the show. The number of ‘connected cars’ on display at MWC this year goes to show just how intertwined disparate industries are becoming as connectivity becomes an essential component of virtually every piece of hardware on the market. From the connected home, to the GSMA’s Connected City stand, every ‘thing’ is being connecting to everything else.

As ever, a really compelling few days at the mobile industry’s premier event, characterised by some fascinating key note speeches and product launches. Barclays will be watching with interest to see which of these technologies companies invest in this year, and whether they can drive widespread adoption.

As well as reading the latest mobile industry news and opinion on our web site, you can hear the week's top mobile industry news stories in our weekly podcasts. Listen to the programmes online, by subscribing free via iTunes, by using our RSS feed or on the Stitcher.com mobile app.
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Recent Podcasts

Mobile World Congress, manufacturers, mergers and much more

Podcast - 5th March 2014

This week's programme begins with some of the biggest news stories that came out of Mobile World Congress.

Iain, James and Mark then move on to the other headlines from the past few days, including Boeing's secret agent smartphone, Apple's plans for mobile in-car entertainment, a new structure for Telefonica and new technology for mobile payments.

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Voice-enabled mCommerce with Tony Ballardie of Capito Systems

Podcast - 28th February 2014

London-based Capito Systems won a place on this year's Smart UK Project shortlist, guaranteeing them entry to Mobile World Congress 2014. And when they arrived, they won the international Barca Starta competition as well.

In this podcast we talk to CEO Tony Ballardie about the company’s 'natural language' voice control, which can be integrated into almost any mCommerce application... from gambling to ticket purchases.

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Dr Kevin Curran talks about the future of mobile technology

Podcast - 27th February 2014

Dr Kevin Curran, Reader in Computer Science at the University of Ulster, joined us during Mobile World Congress to offer his well-informed opinion about trends in mobile technology.

We talked about a wide range of topics, including battery life, disposable tablets, wearables, m-health, 4G fragmentation, connected furniture, M2M security, the rise of video and the IEEE.

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Mobile World Congress 2014: an introduction

Podcast - 25th February 2014

James Rosewell and Mark Bridge report from Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.

In this podcast they talk about all the major mobile manufacturer announcements, including Nokia's new Android-based phones and Sony's newest high-spec devices.

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James Corden at the Global Mobile Awards

Podcast - 25th February 2014

One of the highlights of Mobile World Congress is the Global Mobile Awards - and this year the event was hosted by James Corden: actor, comedian, TV presenter and one-time promoter of Windows Phone.

Here's how he introduced the ceremony, with jokes about Facebook, BlackBerry, Steve Jobs and the gestures required to control an iPhone.

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