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Friday, December 5, 2014

Europe moves closer to launching in-car eCall emergency service in 2018

The European Parliament has moved closer to mandating the installation of an emergency call system in all new cars and smaller commercial vehicles. Earlier this week MEPs voted to require all new car models to have its eCall system installed from 31st March 2018. They’d originally hoped to mandate eCall from 2015.

eCall would use mobile phone technology and the current 112 (999) emergency telephone number to call the emergency services if a car is involved in a major accident. This would enable a faster response from rescue teams.

However, MEPs changed the draft law to increase data protection so that eCall-equipped vehicles cannot be tracked before an accident. In addition, the automatic call would include a restricted amount of information about the vehicle and would not be passed to third parties without the consent of the person concerned.

Olga Sehnalova, rapporteur for the parliament’s Internal Market Committee, said “Too many people die in accidents on Europe’s roads. The eCall system will help to improve road safety by enabling emergency services to locate and reach accident victims much faster. As a public service, eCall will be free of charge for all citizens, whatever car they drive and whatever its purchase price. The new rules will ensure that eCall works only as safety device. It will be illegal to use it to track a driver’s movements or to misuse location data, which must be sent only to the emergency services.”

Before this new agreement becomes law for car manufacturers, it needs to be formally approved by all EU member states and then the entire European Parliament next year. It doesn’t apply to other vehicles, including buses, coaches or trucks; these would need a separate law.

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Opinion Articles

Sounding good to me

Mark Bridge writes:

"Sounding good to me". So sang Charlie Dore, back in the day when radio stations started to realise that quality was as important as quantity. "AM, FM, I feel so ecstatic", opined Cliff Richard, although I’m betting he’d have preferred the lack of hiss and crackle on FM stations.

Yet no-one’s really thought much about the quality of a phone call. Until now.

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The landline phone may be fading... but its number still remains

Mark Bridge writes:

In last weekend’s Sunday Times, Ali Hussain asked "Is this the end for the landline phone?"

He pointed out that the average mobile bill almost halved between 2003 and 2008, while landline bills fell by less than a fifth – which has meant the average mobile bill is now lower than the average landline bill. He went on to list fibre-optic broadband, mobile broadband, mobile calls, VoIP calls and satellite phones as alternatives to using fixed-line phones.

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Mixed verdict on mobile phones as cancer cause

Art Chimes of voanews.com writes:

Nearly two-thirds of the people on Earth now use mobile telephones, according to a study by the International Telecommunications Union. But how safe are those phones? Scientists still aren't sure, but some evidence is starting to suggest there may be danger along with the convenience.

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T-Mobile and Orange isn't a big deal

Mark Bridge writes:

It’s the telecoms industry deal of the year. T-Mobile and Orange form a joint venture. The UK’s "big five" networks (or "big four", depending on your predilection for Hutchison 3G UK) will now be a "big four" (or "big three", if you don’t include 3. Confused yet?)

Everyone has an opinion. On Tuesday I was asked for mine.

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Here’s one for the laydeez

Mark Bridge writes:

Once upon a time, I’d probably have described myself as a feminist. These days I probably wouldn’t. Not because my opinions have changed, just because I’ve realised there are a lot of women who’d argue that I can’t be a feminist because of my male undercarriage. And me, by birth and possibly by education, therefore being part of the problem – not part of the solution.

Right, disclaimer over. I’ll get to the point. You want a mobile phone that’ll appeal to men...

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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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