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Saturday, July 9, 2011

This week at The Fonecast: 9th July 2011

Mark Bridge writes:

Roaming charges are back in the news this week. Not the latest round of price cuts (or, to be technically correct, lower price caps) but the European Commission’s plans for the future. As well as continuing the downward pricing trend for a few more years, Neelie Kroes also wants wholesale interconnection at capped rates and the option of a separate ‘roaming contract’ when you travel abroad.

The European Parliament needs to vote before this becomes law… but I wouldn’t like to bet against it. Certainly not the price reductions, anyway.

Talking of money, eBay is splashing out around $240 million to pick up mobile payment company Zong. It looks like we’ll see Zong’s direct carrier billing – adding purchases to your mobile phone bill – being incorporated with PayPal’s services. Yet another reason for shopping by mobile – and a further explanation of why the mobile payments market is expected to almost treble in value by 2015.

It’s been a mixed week for Three UK. The company has followed Vodafone’s example by partnering with an application store, choosing Ovi rather than Vodafone’s Android deal – but it’s also had another run-in with the Advertising Standards Authority. Once again, giffgaff came out on top. Victory for the smaller guy (and no sign of a broken toe).

On the subject of virtual networks, it’s been reported that Lebara could be sold or floated on the stock exchange. Sticking with the subject of takeovers, HTC is acquiring graphics technology company S3 Graphics (and its patent collection) for $300 million. And while we’re discussing handset manufacturers, Nathan Vautier is expected to leave his role as MD of Sony Ericsson UK and Ireland in the next few months.

Finally, in a week when voicemail hacking has been all over the media (to varying degrees), it seems somehow appropriate to end with a report about overheard conversations. A study from Intel says talking too loudly on a mobile phone in public is the worst breach of mobile manners, coming ahead of texting during a date or using your laptop at dinner. Smoking and swearing were deemed the most inappropriate behaviour for public spaces, with those mobile phone conversations in third place overall. Shhh!


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