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Monday, January 27, 2014

Last week at The Fonecast: 27th January 2014

Expecting the unexpected

Mark Bridge writes:

Great news for mobile phone users. Ofcom’s new rules preventing unexpected mid-contract price rises came into force last week, which means UK consumers can no longer be surprised by their subscription charge increasing while they’re still locked into a minimum-term deal.

However, it didn’t rule out all price increases, as O2 chose to demonstrate. Its contracts include a clause that says monthly charges will keep track with inflation – and that’s exactly what they’re going to do. Hmmm. Perhaps not such a straightforward consumer victory after all.

What else has been happening with UK mobile networks?

Well, charity-friendly MVNO The People’s Operator has appointed Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales as a board member and co-chair of the company. Three UK has been told off for describing its network as 3.9G. And the GSMA has warned that plans to increase annual licence fees for the 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands could adversely affect investment in 4G services.

Talking of 4G, a new survey showed that a tiny proportion of customers are using an enormous amount of data. Figures from JDSU revealed that 0.1% of the world’s 4G users consumed more than half of all LTE downlink data in 2013, making them 10 times more data-hungry than the equivalent 3G customers.

While on the subject of surveys, we learned that phablet manufacturing, spending on mobile advertising and the adoption of M2M retail devices are all increasing. Hooray for mobile.

Finally, to money... in a variety of forms. Qualcomm has bought around 2,400 patents from HP, including some from its fondly-remembered Palm business. T-Mobile USA has launched a new financial service that combines an app with a prepaid Visa card. BlackBerry is selling most of its property in its home country of Canada, leasing back essential offices to ensure it still has somewhere to work.

And Samsung has partnered with Italian coffee company illycaffè in a deal that’ll see both company’s products appearing in their retail flagship stores – and illycaffè coffee being served at Samsung events. I reckon this’ll make the Samsung stand at Mobile World Congress more attractive than ever.

On Monday mornings we summarise the past week’s mobile industry headlines in an email newsletter that’s very much like this article. To receive it, simply register your email address at by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of our home page.
Author: The Fonecast
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