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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Last week at The Fonecast: 28th November 2011

Mark Bridge writes:

The really big news last week wasn’t good: 17,000 jobs worldwide are being lost at Nokia Siemens Networks (which, incidentally, is a separate company from both Nokia and Siemens). That’s not far short of a quarter of the total workforce. The company is going to focus on mobile network infrastructure and services, with a particular emphasis on mobile broadband, and is likely to sell off other parts of the business.

To an extent, the rest of the week’s headlines pale into insignificance – particularly with the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the USA reducing the amount of newsworthy activity – but there’s still been plenty happening here in the UK.

Ofcom’s had a busy few days, warning fixed-line and mobile internet service providers to clarify the ways they manage their internet traffic. It also published customer service satisfaction levels for mobile and fixed-line communications providers, although little had changed in the mobile arena since Ofcom’s figures from earlier this year.

On the subjects of customer satisfaction and mobile internet services, a new survey from UK comparison website Broadband Genie found that most users are unhappy with the speed of their mobile broadband connection. I can’t imagine many complained it was too fast.

Once again, mobile payments were in the news. International coffee shop Starbucks plans to bring its iPhone mobile payment app to the UK in January, enabling customers with a Starbucks pre-paid card to pay for items by using an on-screen barcode. Meanwhile Telefónica and RIM have announced a mobile wallet trial using NFC-equipped BlackBerry devices in Spain.

Product news included luxury mobile phone brand Vertu launching its first touchscreen handset – running Symbian – and LG confirming there’d be a new Prada phone next year. (You may remember the original Prada phone in 2007 was announced as the world’s first touchscreen handset. How times have changed). Aiming for a completely different market, Sony revealed its forthcoming PlayStation Vita gaming device would be supplied with a Vodafone SIM card in the UK when it launches next February.

Finally, if you’re looking for a single news story that combines many of the separate topics we’ve covered in the last seven days – including mobile networks, product innovation and data charges – with the added bonus of a wet nose, you can’t do better than looking at dog tracking company Retrieva.

The UK-based business, which produces dog collars with built-in GPS tracking, has announced a deal with specialist virtual mobile network Podsystem. This’ll make it easier for Retrieva to sell its products to a much wider market, with consumers enjoying simpler charges and better coverage... and they’ll be able to let their dogs roam across Europe. Quite literally.

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Author: The Fonecast
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