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Monday, February 4, 2013

Last week at The Fonecast: 4th February 2013

Goodbye RIM, hello BlackBerry

Mark Bridge writes:

Apple launches a new product and BlackBerry pushes it out of the headlines. Who’d have thought it, eh?

Yes, Apple’s new $799 128GB iPad didn’t get much of a mention in the mobile press last week - thanks to the new BlackBerry 10 platform and two new smartphones. Memories of Stephen Bates’s awkward BBC interviews were soon forgotten as the touchscreen Z10 appeared and quickly hit the shelves of UK retailers. The company’s old name is also being left in the past; Research In Motion is simply becoming ‘BlackBerry’.

Meanwhile a steady stream of quarterly financial results kept analysts busy. Facebook saw its profits fall as investment in R&D increased. LG’s income was hit by a fine from the EU. Ericsson’s quarterly figures were adversely affected by its ST-Ericsson partnership... and Qualcomm saw income, revenue and shipments increasing year-on-year.

Virtual mobile network and VoIP service provider Truphone picked up £70 million of new funding from Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, while another MVNO - Ovivo Mobile - is looking to crowdfunding for its next investment round.

Finally to 4G, which Ofcom wants to see more widely available. It’s just published a proposal to let any of the UK’s big network operators roll out fourth-generation mobile technology on frequencies that had originally just been licensed for 2G or 3G services.

Three UK is already planning to do exactly that. It’s arranged to pick up some 4G-enabled 1800MHz spectrum from EE and has just promised to add 4G connectivity to all its existing price plans without any extra cost.

Whether you think that’s a game-changing move or just smart PR, it’ll certainly be good news for anyone saving to buy a 128GB iPad.

Every Monday morning we summarise the past week’s mobile industry headlines in our newsletter. To receive it, simply register your email address at TheFonecast.com by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of our home page.
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Opinion Articles

Is Android losing its impact for Google?

Mark Bridge writes:

Recent figures released by ABI Research have prompted the market intelligence company to ask whether Google is losing control of the Android ecosystem.

At first glance, Android dominated smartphone shipments for the final quarter of 2013. ABI Research says 77% of the 287 million smartphones shipped in Q4 2013 were running Android.

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It’s time to prepare for the upcoming surge in signaling traffic

Robin Kent writes:

After initially suffering from slow pick up by consumers, 4G has begun to accelerate, and is now well on the way to the forecasted one billion subscribers by 2017. In fact EE, owner of T-Mobile and Orange, recently announced the addition of 493,000 new 4G customers to its existing base of 1.2 million.

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Mobile phone coverage: is this as good as it gets?

Mark Bridge writes:

A new report has highlighted the issue of poor mobile phone coverage in rural Sussex villages. BBC Sussex invited me onto their ‘Sussex Breakfast’ radio show to explain what could be done - and, as usual, I made enough notes for a lecture rather than a three-minute interview.

Here’s what I would have liked to have said if I’d been given a disproportionate amount of time to talk.

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Last week at The Fonecast: 27th January 2014

Expecting the unexpected

Mark Bridge writes:

Great news for mobile phone users. Ofcom’s new rules preventing unexpected mid-contract price rises came into force last week, which means UK consumers can no longer be surprised by their subscription charge increasing while they’re still locked into a minimum-term deal.

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Ofcom changes the rules for mobile phone contracts... and so does O2

Mark Bridge writes:

This week, new Ofcom rules came into force. They’re designed to avoid unexpected price rises during the minimum term of a mobile phone contract. Yes, just because you signed a fixed-term contract doesn’t mean the charges can’t increase. Networks said they needed this option in case of inflation or regulatory changes. Customers felt trapped.

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Recent Podcasts

Reviewing our 2015 mobile industry predictions... and looking forward to 2016

Podcast - 15th January 2016

Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge return to review their mobile industry predictions from last year. Which mergers, partnerships and developments did they forecast correctly... and which didn’t work out as planned?

Later in the programme, the team anticipates some of the topics that will be hitting the headlines during 2016.

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Podcast from Mobile World Congress 2015

Podcast - 6th March 2015

Mark Bridge learns about the mobile technology trends at Mobile World Congress 2015 by chatting to James Rosewell of 51Degrees, Dr Kevin Curran from the IEEE and Chris Millington of Doro.

They talk about wearable devices, wireless charging, mobile operating systems and much more... including some of their favourite products from the exhibition.

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Looking back at February: from security scares to multiple MVNOs

Podcast - 27th February 2015

We're taking a look back at the biggest mobile industry news stories from February 2015, including allegations that the UK's security service tried to breach SIM card security by hacking into one of the world's biggest SIM producers.

We also talk about the planned BT and EE merger, the creation of two new UK virtual networks, some acquisitions in the mobile payment arena and a new Ubuntu smartphone.

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Interview with Chris Millington of Doro about mobile retailing, wearables and technology for older consumers

Podcast - 24th February 2015

In today's programme Mark Bridge talks to Chris Millington, who's Managing Director for Doro UK and Ireland.

They discuss the state of mobile retailing in the UK, the future of wearable devices and - as you might expect - smartphones for seniors.

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A month of mobile: O2 counts on 3, Microsoft counts to 10 and Apple counts its profits

Podcast - 30th January 2015

We're back with a month of mobile industry news, including takeover talks and takeover rumours. O2 and Three are said to be discussing a merger... but is there any truth in the suggestions that BlackBerry could be up for grabs?

We also discuss Apple's record-breaking quarterly figures, the highlights of CES and the launch of Microsoft Windows 10, as well as saying farewell to the current version of Google Glass.

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