Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Unique Distribution for sale

Mobile News reports that Unique Distribution is for sale. Offers for the business must be made to the managing receiver by close of business on 2nd May, with Unique Distribution commercial director David Hinc preparing to lead a management buyout. Yesterday in Southwark Crown Court, a judge ruled that managing receiver Chantrey Vellacott, appointed by HM Revenue and Customs after it launched a VAT fraud investigation against Unique Distribution parent company IGB, had the right to sell the business. The buyer would not assume any liabilities of Unique Distribution or its parent company.

Free music downloads to mobile phones

Mobile music service CLIQ is offering customers free music downloads to their mobile phones on 5th May. It usually lets radio listeners download the track they're currently hearing for £1.25 - but on 5th May 2008 is running a free promotion on Century North East, Century North West, Real Radio Scotland, Real Radio Yorkshire and Real Radio Wales. Registered CLIQ customers who hear a song they like - whether on FM, DAB or online - can buy it via the free CLIQ application on their mobile phone. (Standard network data charges will still apply). [Source:]

New podcast edition of 'The Fonecast' now online

In this week's edition of the Mobile News podcast we talk to Mike Trotman and his colleagues from Aura about their mobile industry Customer Satisfaction survey. There's our regular look at the latest mobile industry headlines and rumours, plus a quick review of the new LG Secret.

The Mobile News podcast is produced by The Fonecast. There's more information about the team and an archive of previous broadcasts at

RSS feed

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Mobile Content Platform Market up 20% in 2007

The market for premium mobile content platforms - web sites that aren't operated by mobile networks - grew almost 20% in 2007, resulting in a $3.4 billion share of the total $18.5 billion generated by the mobile premium content market, according to figures from MultiMedia Intelligence. However, the company points out that ringtone sales figures are dropping, other content categories aren't making as much as expected and mobile networks have their own compelling services. [Press release]

Mobile advertising on TV worth $2.44bn by 2012

Media analysis company Screen Digest says the global market for 'rich media' advertising on mobile phones will reach $2.79 billion by 2012. It says revenue from games, user-generated content and music will disappoint, with mobile TV advertising accounting for $2.44 billion and mobile Video-on-Demand advertising reaching $336 million. [Press release]

30% of mobile users will be using local online search by 2013

By 2013, nearly 1.3 billion mobile users – 30% of all customers worldwide – will be using mobile search to find local services, according to a new report from Juniper Research. Advertising-supported results will drive the sector, although the quality of the user experience - combining relevant directory information with accurate location data - will be the most important factor. Juniper Research also says 43% of the revenue from mobile search advertising over the next five years will come from local search... and warns that "advertising overload" could discourage consumers from using the service. [Press release]

Monday, 28 April 2008

Orange survey shows mobile TV up, ringtones down

The latest Orange Digital Media Index - the company's third such survey - has shown a 35% increase in mobile internet page impressions compared with its November 2007 survey. TV watching was up even more, with total mobile TV viewing hours increasing by 87%. Ringtone downloads fell from 117,000 in December 2007 to 100,000 in January, while full-length music track downloads hit a new Orange record of 289,000 in December. [Sources: Press release,]

Almost 3 billion mobile coupons & tickets sent by 2011

Returning to a study it first announced in March, the UK's Juniper Research says 2.6 billion mobile tickets and coupons will be issued worldwide to mobile phone users by 2011. Its new study says mobile coupons are becoming an increasingly important tool for companies, despite its March figures showing that just 1% of consumers are currently receiving coupons on their mobiles. The company estimates around $87 billion of tickets and $7 billion of coupon discounts will have been used on mobiles by 2011. [Press release; report]

Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Apple all slip in Q1

Researchers at Strategy Analytics have published a report showing their interpretation of the current state of the mobile market. They say 282 million mobile phones were shipped worldwide in the first three months of the year, up 14% on the same period in 2007. LG and Samsung sales grew faster than the industry average, while Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Apple all saw their market share slip. The company says Nokia now has a 41% share of the market, although its sales to North America have fallen. [Report; press release]

Skype releases new mobile software

VoIP company Skype has released a beta version of its "Skype for your mobile" Java software that works on around 50 mobile phones from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. Users will pay any applicable Skype charges plus their network operator's national call charge for any calls made or received. [Press release; product information]

Friday, 25 April 2008

Mobile phone shipments up 14.3% in Q1

Market analysis company IDC says mobile phone shipments in the first quarter of 2008 were up 14.3% from the same period in 2007 although, as expected, they'd fallen from the previous quarter. Over 291 million mobiles were shipped worldwide in the first three months of this year. [Press release]

Mobile networks criticised by 'Which?'

None of the UK's mobile phone networks scored highly enough in a recent customer satisfaction survey to achieve 'Best Buy' status from consumer organisation Which?

Tesco scored the best for pay as you go deals (67%) and Virgin for pay monthly options (70%), while the average scores were 54% satisfaction for prepay and 51% satisfaction for pay monthly. [Press release]

Motorola has less than 10% market share

Motorola now has just 9.5% of the global handset market, according to an announcement from Chief Executive Greg Brown. It's fallen from 17.5% a year ago. Mobile device sales during the first quarter of 2008 were down 39% year-on-year. [Sources: Press release;]

Apple sells 1.7 million iPhones in quarter

Apple has announced its results for its financial quarter ending 29th March 2008. It sold 1,703,000 iPhones during those three months. The company said it's still committed to selling 10 million iPhones during 2008. [Press release; conference call]

Google launches mobile ads with images

Google has expanded its AdWords mobile advertising service to include ads that include images. It's a reformatted version of its desktop web advertising. [Source: Google blog]

Thursday, 24 April 2008

20:20 and Dextra to merge?

20:20 Mobile could merge its handset distribution business with the Dextra accessory business next year, according to reports. A single Managing Director is expected to be put in place of the new organisation as part of a restructure in 2009. Finance, HR, customer care and credit control functions are already shared between the two businesses. [Source:]

Vodafone brand manager leaves

Vodafone's UK brand manager, Matt Coombe, is leaving the company as part of the restructure that will see around 400 people losing their jobs. [Source:]

Blyk reaches 100,000 customers ahead of target

Virtual advertising-funded mobile network Blyk has hit its target of 100,000 users ahead of schedule. It had planned to reach the figure within a year of its September 2007 launch but met the target five months early. At its current growth rate it could reach 250,000 users by Christmas. [Source:]

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Apple buys chip designer for iPhone? says that Apple is spending $278 million buying a microprocessor company called PA Semi, which creates low-power chips. It's suggested that the technology could be used in the Apple iPhone.

Sony Ericsson income down 48%; handset sales up 2%

Sony Ericsson has reported a drop in net income by 48% in the first quarter of 2008. Handset shipments were up by 2% to 22.3 million handsets, although the average selling price fell. The figures weren't a surprise as the company had previously warned its profits were going to drop, mainly due to higher research and development costs. [Press release]

SIM sales up 28% worldwide

SIMalliance, the global association of SIM card manufacturers, has said that global SIM card shipments were up 28% last year. It says the growth - from 1.9 billion in 2006 to 2.7 billion in 2007 - was driven by emerging markets and new 3G multimedia handsets. Growth was 56% in India and 18% in Western Europe; 14% of all SIMs were 3G. The total figure is expected to hit 3 billion this year. And there's an unexpected pun; the figures were announced at the SIMalliance's "SIMposium 2008" event. [Press release]

New podcast from 'The Fonecast' now online

This week's edition of the Mobile News podcast includes the team's usual look at the latest mobile industry headlines and rumours. There's a discussion about the problems facing mobile retailing and a preview of the forthcoming Nokia 6212 classic.

The Mobile News podcast is produced by The Fonecast. There's more information about the team and an archive of previous broadcasts at

RSS feed

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Apple files new iTunes trademarks reports that Apple has filed to protect the iPhone trademark in nineteen different categories. Is it preparing a range of new accessories? Probably not.

Samsung chairman resigns

The chairman of Samsung, Lee Kun-hee, has stepped down from his post following his indictment on tax evasion charges. He's the son of the company's original founder. Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo also resigned, as did Lee Jae-yong, the chairman's son, who is an executive at Samsung Electronics. [Sources:; Korea Times;]

Vodafone's Head of Content discusses online plans has an interview with Vodafone's Head of Content about the company's online activity and its attempts to drive usage. Apparently "Facebook" is the company's main mobile internet search request. [Source:]

Monday, 21 April 2008

Vodafone is still the UK's most powerful brand, holding on to its leading position in the Millward Brown global brand ranking survey for the third year running. It's seen its brand value increase by 75% in the last 12 months and is now worth $37 billion. The next biggest UK brand was Tesco. [Source:]

Vodafone to cut CO2 emissions

Vodafone has said it plans to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2020, mainly by improving energy efficiency and increasing its use of renewable energy. It says it had reviewed a number of options, including carbon off-setting, and concluded that the most effective strategy was to cut CO2 emissions directly. [Press release]

'Comes With Music' could be expensive for Nokia

It's been rumoured that Nokia is paying $35 (around £18) per handset to allow its 'Comes With Music' service to include music from the Universal Music Group. [Source:]

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Vodafone rescues Dot Mobile customers

Vodafone has paid around £1 million to take on the 18,000 customers of student Virtual Network Dot Mobile, which went into administration last month. It's moving the customers onto its own tariffs and is paying the company's creditors. Dot Mobile had been targeting university students since its launch in 2005, offering customers up to £80 for referring a new user. [Source: Mobile News]

Friday, 18 April 2008

Mobile Search will boost Mobile Advertising growth

ABI Research says mobile search will become increasingly popular, just as it has on desktop PCs. Its latest report says advertising on mobile internet search results will cause the mobile advertising market to expand from $813 million in 2008 to $5 billion by 2013. [Press release]

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Truphone raises £16.5 million

It's been a good month for Truphone. Fresh from its purchase of SIM4travel it's just raised £16.5 million from a group of private investors, including all its existing backers. [Press release]

The Hang Up Act of 2008

Here's a proposed government bill that wants to do exactly what it says. Oregon congressman Peter DeFazio is sponsoring the Hang Up Act of 2008, which wants to prohibit passengers from making phone calls during aircraft flights. At a news conference he said "I think many Americans understand the potential for problems on aircraft if 100 or more people start talking on cell phones." The proposed bill would still allow people to send text messages and email. [Source:]

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Over 800 million consumers to use mobile banking by 2011

More figures from Juniper Research. These forecast that 816 million customers will be using mobile banking services by 2011 - as long as the industry sorts out financial regulation, transaction costs, revenue share and customer support. The annual number of global mobile banking transactions is expected to rise from 2.7 billion in 2007 to 37 billion by 2011, led by the China/Far East region followed by Western Europe and the Indian sub-continent. [Press release]

Tesco MVNO adds 250,000 customers in a year

Tesco says its Virtual Mobile Network, which operates on the O2 network in the UK, is acquiring 250,000 customers a year. [Source:]

New Mobile News podcast now online

This week's edition of the Mobile News podcast includes the team's usual look at industry headlines. There's also a discussion about faulty smartphones with Mark Pollak of Turn On Your Mobile, plus a quick review of the Samsung J700.

The Mobile News podcast is produced by The Fonecast. There's more information about the team at

RSS feed

Spending on mobile ads to exceed $1 billion this year

Juniper Research calculates that spending on mobile advertising will pass $1 billion in 2008 to reach $1.3 million by the end of the year, with mobile TV driving this figure to almost $7.6 billion by 2013. SMS campaigns currently account for the largest proportion of the mobile advertising budget; nearly 1.5 billion people are expected to receive a text ad in 2008. [Press release]

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Apple iPhone price cut

O2 and The Carphone Warehouse have cut £100 off the UK price of the 8GB iPhone. It's now retailing for £169.00. [Sources: BBC News, Mobile News]

36% of young(ish) men are using mobile media

A survey from M:Metrics has revealed that 36% of 18 to 34-year-old men in Western Europe accessed mobile media (browsing and/or downloads) in February. In addition, 9% of men in this group responded to an SMS advert they received, versus an market average of 4%. [Press release]

Carphone Warehouse announces plans for 2009

The Carphone Warehouse has released a trading statement that talks about its plans for the next year. It says it plans greater separation of its operating businesses, with its retail business continuing to offer more than just mobile phone connections. 120 new stores are planned, along with expansion of the company's partnership in the USA with Best Buy. [PDF document]

Monday, 14 April 2008

Mobiles aren't designed for the right people

Most mobile phones are designed for western adult men aged 20 to 64, which means over two-thirds of the world's population aren't being catered for. That's the opinion of researchers at Gartner, who say mobile manufacturers should pay more attention to the remaining 68% of the world. They say mobile products need to evolve and address gender diversity and demographics. [Press release]

USA plans national SMS alert service

The USA's telecomms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, is planning a nationwide alert system that will send text messages to warn people about terrorist threats, natural disasters and child abductions. It's expected to be available by 2010, although it'll be optional for both operators and customers. Receiving the alerts will be free of charge. [Source:]

Truphone buys SIM4travel

Mobile VoIP company Truphone has agreed to buy virtual network SIM4travel. The deal means that Truphone will acquire SIM4travel’s travel SIM capability and its Mobile Virtual Network platform. Truphone will also take ownership of SIM4travel’s infrastructure, customer base, distribution and staff. Truphone currently offers a low-cost mobile service using WiFi technology and now plans to introduce a similar service using GSM networks. [Press release]

Mobile broadband connections increase ten-fold in 12 months

Global trade body the GSM Association has calculated that there are now more than 32 million mobile broadband connections worldwide - compared with just over 3 million at the end of the first quarter of 2007. They say there are now 166 High Speed Packet Access 3G networks in 73 countries around the world. The GSMA also recorded a 44% increase in the number of mobile broadband-enabled networks and an estimated 265% growth in HSPA devices. [Press release]

Nokia agrees compensation for German workers

Nokia has agreed a 200 million Euro compensation package for the 2,300 workers who'll lose their jobs when Nokia closes its manufacturing plant in Germany. The company was criticised by many people in Germany when it announced the closure of its Bochum facility earlier this year and its plans to move manufacturing to a cheaper European location. Around 300 staff are expected to be re-employed within Nokia's other German sites. [Nokia press release]

3G Apple iPhone planned for June?

Technology web site TG Daily says the 3G iPhone is expeced to launch in early June 2008, priced from $399 for the 8GB model.

Vodafone does connectivity deal with BT

Vodafone UK has signed a 5-year agreement with BT that involves BT Wholesale providing and managing the connections between Vodafone’s base stations and its national network. The deal will enable Vodafone to handle the increasing amount of data that's sent and received on its network. [BT press release]

1.5 billion mobiles with web browsers by 2013

By 2013 there'll be 1.5 billion mobile phones with web browsers, according to ABI Research. Most of this worldwide growth will come from browsers that offer full internet access, with this in "open-internet browser" segment growing from 76 million in 2007 to nearly 700 million browsers in 2013.

1 million UK mobile broadband users by Christmas

Over a million people in the UK will be using mobile internet access on their laptops by Christmas, according to figures from the 3 network. It also says data traffic on its 3G network has increased 14-fold since it launched a mobile broadband service five months ago. [Source:]

Monday, 7 April 2008

Motorola does deal with investor Icahn

Motorola has reached an agreement with campaigning investor Carl Icahn that sees two of his suggested nominees appointed to Motorola's board of directors. In return, Mr Icahn will vote in favour of the company's other nominees. In addition, all current legal action between Motorola and Carl Icahn will be dismissed. Mr Icahn, who is said to be the 46th richest man in the world, owns around 6.4% of Motorola's shares. [Motorola press release]

EC approves mobiles on planes

The European Commission has approved the use of mobile phones flying over Europe, although the European Aviation Safety Agency still needs to approve any hardware that would be installed in aircraft. [Source: BBC News]

Smelly-phones from NTT

Not a belated April Fool's joke, apparently. Japanese NTT Communications is testing a Mobile Fragrance Communication service (Kaori Tsushin Mobile) service that lets mobile phone customers create and share fragrances. The service, which was launched for home use in 2005, uses a device that's been pre-loaded with a number of basic fragrances. Mobile phone users can then download "Fragrance Playlists" or fragrance recipes that are sent to the device by infrared to create individual fragrances when multimedia files are being played on the mobile phone. [Source:]

EU to publish roaming data charge comparison

The EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding says she plans to publish the 'roaming' charges for text messages and data services online, with regulations planned for the end of this year if the charges aren't acceptable. She says the price of a text message sent while outside your home country should be no more than 0.12 Euro (about 10p plus VAT). [Source:]

O2 announces new branding

Mobile network O2 is introducing a new strapline - We're better, connected - to replace its slogan "It's your O2. See what you can do". O2's use of bubbles and blue backgrounds will continue. [Source:]

Friday, 4 April 2008

Vodafone drops Dextra

Vodafone has stopped using distributor Dextra for any consumer airtime contract connections. The volume of Dextra's consumer connections on Vodafone has dropped dramatically this year, largely since Dial a Mobile (Mobile Connections) and Mobile Media Systems collapsed following problems with their cashback deals. [Source: Mobile News]

Mobile location-based services worth £6.6 billion by 2013

ABI Research says Mobile Location Based Services (LBS) are starting to grow, thanks to the incorporation of GPS capabilities in mobile phones. They reckon the revenue from LBS will reach $13.3 billion worldwide by 2013, up from around $515 million in 2007. Personal navigation is expected to remain the most popular service, although friend finding is expected to become increasingly popular. [Press release]

Another 2,600 job cuts at Motorola

Motorola has said it's cutting 2,600 jobs, bringing the total number of staff cuts to over 10,000 - more than 10% of its workfirce - since the beginning of 2007. It announced 3,500 job losses in January 2007 as part of a two-year cost-cutting plan, following this with another 4,000 job cuts in May 2007. [Source: Associated Press via Google]

Nokia N-Gage goes live

The Nokia N-Gage gaming platform has been officially launched. Anyone with a compatible Nokia phone - just the N81, N82 and N95 at the moment - can download the N-Gage application for free game trials and chargeable full game versions. The launch is a little later than expected, having originally been scheduled for November 2007. [Source:]

Do you want to know a secret?

We're not very bright when talking business on our mobile phones. That seems to be the message from Vodafone, which says indiscreet mobile conversations are a threat to company security. More than 70% of all employees talk about business on their mobile phones in public, with 15% discussing confidential new products or services. Worse still, 26% confessed to following up on a lead they'd overheard in someone else's phone conversation. Vodafone suggests using more discrete methods of communication, such as text or mobile email, when on the move. It's promoting a collaboration with Virgin Trains that provides improved 2G and 3G mobile phone coverage within Virgin's high-speed Pendolino trains between London and Glasgow. [Press release]

Happy 35th birthday to the mobile phone

The first public call from a portable mobile phone was made in New York on 3rd April 1973 by Marty Cooper, who worked for Motorola. [Source: CNET News]

Mobile calls from beyond the grave

A man in Blackpool believes his late wife has contacted him by mobile phone. The Blackpool Gazette says Frank Jones had a 'missed call' from his home number when nobody was in the house and has also received text messages with no sender's number.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

World's largest mobile phone

A Chinese man says he has just built the world's largest working mobile phone. It's 92cm high and weighs 22kg - and is a copy of the owner's Nokia 6670. The creator, Mr Tan of Songyuan, says the giant phone has all the functions of the original except for the vibrating alert. He worked on the phone for six months. [Source:;]

Yahoo! to launch voice search for mobile web

Internet giant Yahoo! has launched a voice-controlled search engine for mobile devices, although it's currently only available for certain BlackBerry models in the USA. It also says that Yahoo! oneSearch 2.0 will include its own predictive text service later this year, completing the words you're typing with the most common search queries. [Press release]

Carphone after Tiscali?

The Times reports that The Carphone Warehouse could make a bid for Tiscali after the Italian broadband operator was put up for sale this week. It's the fourth-largest UK broadband company after Virgin Media, BT and Carphone Warehouse-owned TalkTalk.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Indian interest in buying Motorola

Indian company Videocon is interested in buying Motorola's mobile phone business, according to press reports. Venugopal Dhoot, chairman of Videocon, has been quoted as saying his company plans to make a bid for Motorola's mobile devices business. [Source:]

Microsoft reveals improved operating system

Microsoft has released Windows Mobile 6.1 - an updated version of its mobile phone software - and has announced a new version of Internet Explorer Mobile. The new web browser includes Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight, while Windows Mobile 6.1 offers faster set-up and an easier interface for keeping track of messages and information. [Microsoft press release]

South African pupils use mobiles to improve maths

Nokia is working with the South Africa Department of Education and the Mindset Network charity to pre-load mobile phones with educational material. A trial project is offering Nokia 6300 handsets with maths material for Grade 10 students in two schools in the North West Province of South Africa. The pilot scheme supports the Department of Education's drive to improve proficiency in maths amongst students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. Nokia and Mindset are also developing digital material for other key subjects such as English and information technology. In addition, Nokia is providing additional funding for the two pilot schools. [Nokia press release]

New edition of The Fonecast now online

The latest free edition of The Fonecast is now available to download. It's a weekly look at mobile industry news, produced by for Mobile News. This week we talk about mobile advertising and review the Sony Ericsson W770. Each broadcast can be downloaded by including us in your RSS reader, by using iTunes, by visiting or by visiting the Mobile News website.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

UK gripped by nomophobia

Not an April Fool's Day joke, although it might as well be. Yesterday the Post Office said that one in five people found being out of mobile phone contact as stressful as moving house or breaking up with a partner. Its research, which had been carried out by YouGov, said 53% of UK mobile phone users were anxious about running out of battery, running out of credit, losing their handset or not having network coverage. They christened this fear of having no mobile phone contact "nomo-phobia". [Source:]

Mobile ad revenue to increase by 59% in next 12 months

Analysts at Gartner say that revenues from mobile advertising will jump by $1 million between 2007 and 2008 (from $1.7 million to $2.7 million). However, they also say the industry has developed slowly and is approaching a 'make or break' point. It's a subject we'll be talking about in tomorrow's Mobile News podcast. [Sources:,]