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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

SpinVox visit offers a few clues about the technology

Mark Bridge writes:

So, dear reader, let’s start at the beginning. Once upon a time, a mere five years ago, there was SpinVox. A company created with help from entrepreneur Christina Domecq – whose surname offers a clue to her family’s background – and Daniel Doulton, the man behind the Psion series 5. (Sherry and portable computers; two of my favourite products. But I digress).

The company’s promise was simple: to turn voicemail messages into SMS text messages.

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That just about covers it

Mark Bridge writes:

In my last article I looked forward to a world of cyborgs… but feared that decent battery life could stifle my dreams. And this week I’m on a similar theme, despairing that the UK’s mobile coverage problems probably won’t be solved before the Silver Jubilee of Vodafone and Cellnet’s networks.

To illustrate my worries, let me tell you a story.

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What price for a hands-free conversation?

Iain Graham writes:

When you get up tomorrow morning and get in the car, why don't you screw up three £20 notes and lob 'em out of the window?!  Oh, and whilst you are at it, take out your driving licence, and put three points in the penalties column!!

Why would you do that, I hear you ask?

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The Singularity is… errm… on its way, I think

Mark Bridge writes:

I’m an optimist. I’m not quite sure why I’m wired that way but I’m perfectly happy with it. Much as you’d expect, I suppose. And although I tend not to tap-dance in the gutter when it’s raining, I firmly believe that life is like a musical.

That’s probably why I’m such a fan of what’s become known as ‘the Singularity’; a point when technology and evolution are expected to combine. As computers become smarter, so they’ll be able to build smarter computers themselves – and before you know it they’ll be repairing people and improving the design. If all goes well I’ll look like a combination of Robocop and Jude Law.

“Fascinating”, I hear you say. “Bring on the medical nanobots. But what’s all this got to do with mobile phones?”

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Web Browser vs. Application Stores

James Rosewell writes:

Anyone involved in the mobile industry will have hardly failed to notice the hype surrounding mobile application stores led by Apple. Application stores provide a really simple way for consumers to install applications on their mobile phones. They’re so simple I heard Iain Graham had used one the other week!

However they don’t solve the fundamental problem of handset compatibility.

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