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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shebang ‘free phone’ offer falls foul of ASA advertising rules

UK mobile retailer Shebang Technologies Group has had a complaint against its advertising upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.

An email from the company and an offer on its website both promoted a ‘free’ mobile phone offer that was guaranteed for every customer. The ads were accompanied by images of several different handsets.

However, customers had to commit to a two-year minimum term contract with monthly payments. In addition, customers with lower credit ratings would either need to pay a deposit or generate a minimum spend of £50 before they could receive their phone. A Nokia C2-01 was the only mobile phone offered free to all customers.

The ASA noted that a number of significant conditions weren’t mentioned in the advertising and also discovered that the phones used to illustrate the offer weren’t all available ‘free’. In addition, it considered that paying a deposit to obtain a ‘free’ handset was not what most customers would expect.

Both the email and the online claims were ruled to have breached the Committees of Advertising Practice rules and must not be used again.

[ASA adjudication]

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Opinion Articles

‘The Eyes Have It’ at Mobile World Congress

James Rosewell writes:

DoCoMo are one of many network operators and handset manufacturers demonstrating innovative new products as Mobile World Congress. Our eye was caught by the employee demonstrating “Eye Controlled Earphones”. It’s a good job the ladies from the CBOSS stand weren’t walking past at the time.

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'Mobile Money Monday' at Mobile World Congress

James Rosewell writes:

Monday’s Mobile World Congress conference agenda dedicated one of 4 streams to Mobile Money - Transfers, Transactions and Technology allowing all stakeholders to share experiences and debate the future of Mobile and Money.

Two types of service dominated presentations and panel discussions; Near Field Communication (NFC) technology enabling payment at traditional Point of Sale (PoS), and the Mobile Wallet replacing plastic or cash.

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‘Innovation Corner’ at Mobile World Congress

James Rosewell writes:

Here’s my pick of the 3 most innovative companies I’ve uncovered at the 2010 Mobile World Congress.

Cootek.com win the prize for simplest innovation... an accurate touch screen keyboard. They’re a few months away from being ready to release the software to handset manufacturers, but the demo handsets worked very well. The keyboard assumes the user is not going to press the intended key, but in fact might miss and press another key in the same area. Based on this knowledge and an extensive dictionary of words and language context, it’s able to determine the intended word with surprising accuracy. I sincerely hope their technology will be made available for the Nexus One in the not too distant future.

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Google “Mobile First” from Eric Schmidt’s Key Note at Mobile World Congress

James Rosewell writes:

Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, presented a compelling vision of a mobile centric future. The phone has become the “high value end point” for Google services enabled by a combination of increasing handset power, mobile data networks and cloud computing. By far the scarcest resource is the bandwidth available through the mobile data networks. Google appear committed to work with Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to maximise bandwidth usage, although several audience questions suggested scepticism from the main stream mobile industry. Eric expressed a need to maintain a harmonious relationship with MNOs stating Google could not operate its service on mobile devices without their co-operation.

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The great Windows Mobile 7 conspiracy theory

Mark Bridge writes:

I like a good conspiracy theory. A good one, mind you. None of this “Funny thing happened on the way to Mars” nonsense. Oh no, not me. And, despite occasionally mirroring Jerry Fletcher by balancing a bottle on the door handle, I’ve never been inclined to publish such a theory. Until now.

You see, it’s Mobile World Congress in a fortnight’s time. Which is when the great and the good of the mobile industry – along with their mates and hangers-on – head for Barcelona. Microsoft will be there. They’re holding a press briefing on Monday afternoon. And there’s a lot of talk about Windows Mobile 7 being (unofficially) on the agenda. But where’s the evidence?

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