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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Government and UK mobile networks agree a £5 billion coverage deal

No sign of mandated national roaming in ‘landmark deal’ for mobile phone users

Sajid Javid MP, the UK Government Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has announced what’s described as a “landmark deal” with the ‘big four’ mobile networks to improve coverage.

It follows a three-week consultation period that involved the government proposing mandated ‘national roaming’ as one of the options to improve rural coverage in areas where some networks provided service but others didn’t.

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have together agreed to invest £5 billion to improve mobile infrastructure by 2017, with guaranteed voice and text coverage from each network across 90% of the UK (geography, rather than population coverage). This will also cut ‘not spot’ areas of no mobile coverage by two thirds.

The deal will be legally binding and enforceable by Ofcom, with the networks agreeing to accept amended licence conditions in return for changes to the Electronic Communications Code and a potential reduction in Annual Licence Fees. (These moves were proposed by the GSMA as part of its response to the government consultation.) In addition, hundreds of government buildings will be made available as potential sites for mobile infrastructure.

Sajid Javid said “I am pleased to have secured a legally binding deal with the four mobile networks. Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts. Government and businesses have been clear about the importance of mobile connectivity, and improved coverage, so this legally binding agreement will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves. The £5 billion investment from the mobile networks in the UK’s infrastructure will help drive this Government’s long-term economic plan.”

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Opinion Articles

How long can Apple remain torn between two lovers?

Mark Bridge writes:

“Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool, loving both of you is breaking all the rules”.

Mary McGregor sang those words in 1976 – and Apple would do well to bear them in mind today. Why?  Well, Rick Astley is to blame for it all.

Oh, alright, Rick’s not personally involved. It’s worm-writer ikee, along with the people who’ve followed him in creating security threats for the Apple iPhone. But why am I invoking the lyrics of Mary McGregor?  It’s because Apple has two loves... and it may be struggling to choose between them.

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Everyone’s selling Android phones… but who’s selling Android?

Mark Bridge writes:

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And my, what advertisements we’ve seen. Most recently Motorola has been knocking the iPhone while HTC has been playing with marker pens.

But those ad campaigns are mainly about manufacturers and phones. As you’d expect, really. Not about Android.

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1 paisa for 1 second

James Rosewell writes:

One paisa is equivalent to 1/100 of an Indian rupee. In American dollars, a paisa is worth 0.00022 cents. For the British reading this, that’s 0.00013 pence.

Why is this important?

A company in India called MTS have launched a pay as you go SIM card that allows you to make on-network calls for ½ paisa per second...

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Two mobile operating systems to rule them all

Mark Bridge writes:

Cain and Abel. Price and Andre. Judge Dredd and Rico. History is full of pairings that didn’t work out. Two forces that started off together but ended up trying to destroy each other. And so it could be with mobile phone operating systems.

This week it’s been reported that Nokia will be dropping Symbian from its N-series devices by 2012, favouring Maemo instead.

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Who ya gonna call when the phones go dead?

Mark Bridge writes:

This week there’s a government exercise taking place in London. A number of civil servants and private sector employees are simulating the failure of the UK’s fixed-line telephone network. Called “White Noise”, it imagines a scenario where telephone exchanges are destroyed by a giant subterranean monster that pulls really hard on all those underground cables.

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