Monday, 30 June 2008

Virgin Mobile leads SIM-only market

Virgin Mobile says it leads the UK's SIM-only sector. It's quoted figures from GfK, which says the MVNO's market share grew by 10% to 29.5% in May. [Source:]

Takeovers not happening

Phones International Group has had its £120 million bid for rival distributor 20:20 Mobile rejected. And across the channel, France Telecom has abandoned its bid for Scandinavian telecoms giant TeliaSonera. [Sources: Mobile News;]

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Verizon wants to own 100% of mobile company

The CEO of Verizon Communications has said he'd like to own all of US network operator Verizon Wireless, which is currently 45% owned by Vodafone. In an interview with the Financial Times, Ivan Seidenberg said that Vodafone had been a "great partner" but that he'd like to have 100% of the earnings given we're doing 100% of the work". [Source:]

Friday, 27 June 2008

Europeans are ditching their landlines

A survey from the European Commission has shown that 24% of EU households have given up their fixed telephone in favour of mobile phones, while 22% are using their computer from home to make 'VoIP' phone calls over the internet. [Press release]

Ofcom publishes mobile travel tips

Ofcom has published a guide to help customers avoid unexpectedly high bills when using mobile phone services abroad. There's a downloadable pdf and a video, too. [Press release]

5.6 billion mobiles worldwide by 2013

There'll be 5.6 billion active mobile phones worldwide by 2013, compared with 3.9 billion in 2008, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics. 80% of the growth is coming from the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & Africa regions, although they don't contribute the same percentage to global revenue. 3G networks will account for half of all mobile subscriptions by 2013. When users with more than one phone are removed from the calculations, this means that more than half of the world’s population will be using mobile phones by early 2010. [Press release]

Hands-free crash driver is jailed

A truck driver who crashed into another vehicle while making a hands-free phone call has been sent to prison for 4½ years. 49-year-old Mervyn Richmond from Derby drove into a queue of traffic, killing a man and seriously injuring two others. He was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving at Lincoln Crown Court. [Source: BBC News]

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Mobile users ditching MMS

Mobile application site says 15% of its users have dropped MMS in favour of messaging software, including migg33, eBuddy and Nimbuzz. It says high cost, poor reliability and alternative social applications are all to blame. [Source:]

Europeans want femtocells... once they understand them

40% of Europeans would be interested in buying a femtocell in 2009 to improve mobile coverage at home, according to a survey conducted by ABI Research for Motorola. Over three-quarters of respondents didn't know what femtocells were but many became interested once the technology was explained. The highest response was from Poland, where 67% of respondents said they would definitely or probably buy a femtocell within the next 12 months. The response in the UK was 34%. [Sources:;]

Sony plans PlayStation phone?

Marketing Week says Sony is considering the creation of a PlayStation-branded phone that incorporates elements of the PlayStation Portable gaming device. The phone - which wouldn't involve Sony Ericsson - could be ready for Christmas 2009. Sony Ericsson has previously said it was looking at the idea of using the PlayStation brand.

Ofcom annual report

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has just published its annual report for April 2007 - March 2008.

EC looks at mobile call termination rates

The European Commission has started a consultation about call termination rates on moble networks. It's not happy with the difference in charges between EU countries - from 2 Euro cents (€0.02) per minute to over 18 Euro cents per minute - and the difference between fixed-line and mobile termination rates. Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding has said she expects mobile termination costs to fall by around 70% over the next three years. [Sources: Press release; BBC News]

Mobile gaming revenue up 16.1% in 2008

Revenue from mobile gaming this year is expected to be over 16% higher than last year's figures according to research firm Gartner. It reckons worldwide revenue will continue growing by an average 10% per year between now and 2011.Figures for Western Europe market are expected to increase from $701 million in 2008 to $862 million (£434 million) by 2011. [Press release]

Microsoft buys mobile backup company

Microsoft has said it's buying Portugal-based MobiComp, which specialises in mobile backup and mobile access to social networking sites. [Press release]

Prepay 3G iPhone pricing revealed on O2 web site reports that O2 has unintentionally revealed the pricing for the prepay version of the 3G Apple iPhone on its web site, although the relevant page has now been removed. Users will apparently receive free WiFi and mobile data access for the first six months. They'll then be able to pay £10 a month to continue the service. The phone will be available from 11th July 2008.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Ofcom chairman to step down

Ofcom chairman David Currie has said he's stepping down from his role after Easter 2009. He's been chairman since Ofcom was created in 2003. His successor will be appointed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. [Press release]

Over 1.7 billion mobile web users by 2013

Juniper Research says the number of mobile web users worldwide - currently estimated at 577 million - will exceed 1.7 billion by 2013 as a result of more collaborative "web 2.0" applications and improved coverage. The largest mobile web market will be in the Far East and China region, where users will increase from 190 million currently to almost 416 million by 2013. [Press release]

3G iPhone costs £88 to make

Market intelligence firm iSuppli has calculated that the new 3G Apple iPhone costs just $173 (around £88) to manufacture, making it considerably cheaper to produce than the HTC Touch Diamond (estimated at $785) and the Nokia N96 ($855). iSuppli says the iPhone's components cost $164, with an estimated $9 for assembly. [Press release]

Blyk expands again

Ad-funded virtual network Blyk has said it’ll be expanding into Germany, Spain and Belgium in 2009. The mobile network, which offers free calls and texts for 16-24 year-olds, already operates in the UK and has previously announced plans to launch in the Netherlands. [Press release]

100 million 3G users in Europe

There are now over 100 million 3G WCDMA subscriptions in Europe - just five years after the first 3G network launched. Informa Telecoms & Media says there were 101.5 million WCDMA subscriptions in Europe out of a total of 910.8 million mobile subscriptions at the end of May 2008; that's 11.1% of customers. [Source:]

Nokia buys Symbian

It seems like only a few days ago that we were talking about Nokia's ongoing series of acquisitions. Here's another: they're buying mobile phone operating system company Symbian. Nokia already owns 48% and is planning to spend around 264 million Euro on the rest. Sony Ericsson, Ericsson, Panasonic and Siemens have already said they'll sell, while Samsung is expected to agree soon. Nokia also says it'll create the Symbian Foundation to offer open-source Symbian software in partnership with AT&T, LG Electronics, Motorola, NTT DOCOMO, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone. [Press release]

New edition of Mobile News podcast now online

In this week's edition of the Mobile News podcast, Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge take a look at the industry headlines from the last seven days. There's also time for a quick preview of the Sony Ericsson C905 Cyber-shot handset. As always, each programme can be downloaded free from the Mobile News website, from, by including the podcast in your RSS reader or via iTunes.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Google's Android delayed... or not?

There have been stories about Google's Android mobile operating system being delayed until the end of 2008. It's probably a lot of fuss about nothing and has been denied by the company. [Sources:;; Information Week]

79% of UK users don't want mobile banking or shopping

A new study by Unisys says most consumers aren't ready to use their mobile phone for shopping and banking. 71% of all consumers surveyed in 14 countries (and 79% in the UK) will not consider using a mobile device to bank or shop online. Just 9% currently use their mobiles for transactions that involve credit card payments, money transfers or deposits. [Source:]

Monday, 23 June 2008

Nokia buys another social networking company

Nokia is taking over Plazes, a web-based soial networking service that lets users share information about where they are, where they've been and where they're going. It plans to incorporate Plazes within its Services & Software unit, adding the features of Plazes to its own services. [Press release]

20:20 to be taken over by Phones International?

Mobile distributor 20:20 could be taken over by Phones International, according to a report in The Times.

Vodafone goes to Indian court

Vodafone is in court this week, trying to convince the Mumbai High Court that it doesn't owe the Indian tax authorities around £1 billion following its takeover last year of Hutchison Essar. The deal, which involved UK-based Vodafone (technically through a Dutch business owned by Vodafone) and Hong Kong-based Hutchison (via a Cayman Islands company) didn't involve any Indian companies - but the Indian government says it's a transaction that involves assets in India and therefore should be subject to India's tax laws. [Source:]

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Mobile ads are UK's least-favourite advertisements

Ads on mobile phones are the UK's least popular form of advertising according to researchers at Dynamic Logic. Newspaper ads were the country's favourite, with 53% of consumers considering them "very" or "somewhat" positive and only 9% describing them as negative. At the other end of the scale were ads on mobile devices, which 70% of people described as negative and only 6% as positive. [Source: Dynamic Logic newsletter]

Mobile finance will be driven by consumers without bank accounts

41.5 billion mobile financial service transactions will be made worldwide by the end of 2011, according to figures from Juniper Research. This compares with just 2.7 billion in 2007. It says the market will be driven by two sectors: users in developing countries who do not currently hold bank accounts or credit cards, and users in developed countries who are too young to access conventional financial services. [Press release]

Lack of awareness and perceived costs are major barriers to mobile TV

QuickPlay Media, which provides mobile TV and video services for network operators, says lack of consumer awareness and perceived costs are two of the major barriers to mobile TV and video adoption. Its recent UK survey showed that 44% of consumers didn't know if their network offered a mobile TV service, with 33% saying cost was the main barrier to usage. In fact, 65% of consumers were willing to watch an advertisement on their phone in order to access free or discounted TV and video. 41% of consumers have already watched TV or videos on a mobile phone, with 18% watching more than once a week. [Press release]

3G iPhone is four times more interesting

UK interest in the 3G Apple iPhone is almost four times more than interest in the 2G version, according to O2. It says more than 130,000 people have pre-registered their interest in the phone and would like more information, compared with 35,000 people who registered their details before the previous phone went on sale in November 2007. [Source:]

EC Commissioner talks about Called Party Pays for Europe

EC Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding has told the Financial Times that the mobile industry should consider the USA's idea of "called party pays" to reduce wholesale termination rates, although she added that "business models are for the operators to decide". [Source:]

What's your personal mobile data worth?

Online backup service Mobyko has worked with University College London to create a formula that calculates the cash value of information stored on mobile phones. The calculator, called The Mobilator, is available online at It adds together the value of contacts, texts, photos, videos, music and games. [Press release]

Carphone co-founder sells £32 million shares

Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross has sold 15 million company shares at £2.17 each. The shares have all been bought by the Carphone Warehouse Employee Share Ownership Trust. Mr Ross still owns around 19.5% of the company. [Press release]

Men outnumber women when mobile browsing

Men outnumber women on the mobile web almost nine to one according to the latest report from browser company Opera. It says 88.1 percent of people using the mobile internet on its Opera Mini browser are male, and most are aged 18 to 27. [Press release]

UK gets another mobile phone network

Mapesbury Communications has announced the launch of a 6th mobile network in the UK. The company will be installing GSM base stations in hundreds of payphone kiosks across the country. Its service, called UK01, is available as a SIM-only offer or by manually selecting the UK01 network from your existing network connection. [Sources:; Mapesbury Communications]

Vodafone leaves Tiscali auction?

Vodafone has pulled out of the auction for fixed-line broadband company Tiscali, according to the Financial Times. This means Tiscali will probably be broken up into UK and Italian segments when sold. British Sky Broadcasting and The Carphone Warehouse are interested in the UK business, while Wind and Swisscom are after the Italian part. [Source:]

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

New Mobile News podcast now online

This week the Mobile News podcast reviews the new Nokia E71 smartphone and talks to Ian White about the Fone Academy, which offers free BTEC-accredited training for the mobile phone industry. In addition, there's our usual discussion of the latest news and views from the past seven days. Each programme can be downloaded free from the Mobile News website, from, by including the podcast in your RSS reader or via iTunes.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Sony Ericsson launches mobile phone camera competition

Sony Ericsson has launched its third World View photography competition, which is open to anyone with a camera phone. The competition, which has a first prize of a £10,000 trip, ends on 31st October 2008.

Sony Ericsson raises the megapixel bar

Sony Ericsson has announced an 8.1 megapixel camera - the C905 - which is expected to be in the shops by the end of the year. [Press release]

Monday, 16 June 2008

Wish Nelson Mandela a Happy Birthday by text

A fund-raising web site at offers the opportunity of sending a text message to wish Nelson Mandela a happy 90th birthday and donating to a number of charities.

Teen Drivers Often Ignore Bans on Using Cellphones and Texting

Teen Drivers Often Ignore Bans on Using Cellphones and Texting. Yes, that’s the headline. No great surprise. Apparently mobile phone use by teenage drivers rose in North Carolina after the state banned drivers aged under 18 from using their mobiles behind the wheel, according to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of North Carolina. However, the drivers themselves said they supported the restrictions, which forbid hand-held and hands-free phone use. Before the ban at the end of 2006, 11% of young drivers were seen to be using their mobiles as they drove away from school or college – but this rose to 12% five months later. In neighbouring South Carolina, where there’s no similar ban, mobile phone use remained at around 13%. [Source: Insurance Journal; University of North Carolina]

O2 increases iPhone WiFi coverage

O2 and BT have done a deal to let iPhone customers use BT Openzone WiFi hotspots free when the 3G iPhone launches. This adds around 3,000 hotspots to O2’s existing deal with The Cloud, which means customers will now have over 9,000 free WiFi hotspots in the UK. [Source:]

Google is top mobile search engine

Figures from Nielsen Mobile show that Google is the most-used mobile internet search provider. Research in the first three months of this year shows that 61% of mobile searches were conducted on Google. with the next-closest being Yahoo!, which had 18% of all mobile searches. In addition, Google searchers used the search facility around nine times each per month, compared with 6.7 times per month for Yahoo. [Source:]

20:20 restructures its debt

Around half of distributor 20:20 Mobile is apparently being taken over by two of the banks that lent current owner Doughty Hanson the money to buy it in the first place. The £175 million deal, which also sees Doughty Hanson making a £15 million investment, will reduce 20:20's debt by about two-thirds. Doughty Hanson bought 20:20 for £347 million from the Caudwell Group in September 2006. [Sources: Mobile News;]

Friday, 13 June 2008

EC warns about roaming SMS regulation

EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding has said she'll regulate the cost of sending text messages when 'roaming' on other European networks if the networks themselves don't cut costs by July. She also acknowledged that her plans for a 'super-regulator' in Europe were unpopular, saying she would not proceed with them. [Sources: Press Association via Google; Reuters]

Housing market affects Carphone Warehouse

The Carphone Warehouse has released its annual results, announcing a 12% increase in group revenue and a 75% increase in profits before tax. However, it also said it had connected fewer broadband customers than expected, pointing out that many people only changed supplier when moving house... and fewer people were moving. [Sources: Carphone Warehouse;]

Thursday, 12 June 2008

France's SFR could launch Europe's first 3G femtocell service says that France's SFR could be the first European network to launch a 3G femtocell service, letting customers improve their 3G coverage at home by providing a mini-cellsite linked to their broadband connection. The service could be launched in a few months with help from fixed-line operator Neuf Cegetel, which is 40.5% owned by SFR. Neuf Cegetel is currently France's second-largest broadband provider (behind Orange), while SFR is the country's second-largest mobile network (again, behind Orange).

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Data usage growing in Europe

The GSM Association says Europe's mobile data market grew by 40% in 2007, hitting 7 billion Euro, according to recent research from AT Kearney. The number of 3G users in the EU doubled to 112 million in the 12 months to April 2008, which means 22.5% of Europeans are using 3G, compared with 18.4% in North America and 3.7% in the Asia Pacific region. It's estimated that the average retail cost of data roaming fell in the EU by 25% over that period, while 'roamed' data traffic grew by 75%. [Source: press release]

Arun Sarin to leave Vodafone with £25 million

The Times says Vodafone CEO will leave Vodafone with around £25 million in shares and bonus payments. He has 28.5 million shares and share options worth around £12 million at current prices, although they can't be sold until 2009. He also has 14.5 million shares and share options, worth £10.1 million, that can be cashed in immediately if he wants. In addition, Mr Sarin will receive a bonus of more than one and a half times his £1.3 million salary. [Sources: The Times;]

This week's Mobile News podcast now online

The new 3G Apple iPhone has just been released, so the Mobile News podcast team is taking a close look at the specifications. You’ll also hear the rest of the week’s news headlines, along with a conversation about box breaking with independent dealer Adrian Foot from Welling's "The Phone Shop". Each programme (which is produced by can be downloaded free from the Mobile News website, from, by including the podcast in your RSS reader or via iTunes.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Motorola launches film service

Motorola has launched a download service that lets UK customers download full-length films to watch on their mobile phones. The deal, which offers titles from Paramount Digital Entertainment, will cost between £5.99 and £8.99 per movie. 40 films are currently available to download to your PC and then transfer to your mobile phone. [Sources:;]

EU could drop ‘super regulator’ plans

Reports are suggesting that the European Commission’s plan to set up a European Telecommunications watchdog risk may be ditched because many member states simply aren’t interested. The proposal, which was first suggested last year, could end up being replaced by a package of greater powers for existing national regulators. European ministers are meeting tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss the scheme. [Source:]

Monday, 9 June 2008

New 3G Apple iPhone launch

The worst-kept secret in the mobile industry is now public: Apple has announced its 3G-equipped iPhone. It'll go on sale in the US and UK on 11th July, with US prices from $199 for the 8GB model and an equivalent of around £100 expected in the UK. It looks remarkably like the original iPhone - even down to the 2 megapixel camera - although this new model offers GPS, 3G and Apple's iPhone 2.0 software. [Sources: BBC News; Apple;]

Mobile working is becoming less popular

The desire to be seen in the office is leading to the decline of mobile working, according to new UK research from Microsoft. Its study shows that worries about jobs and the economy are affecting the desire to use mobile technology to get work done. Under 50% of UK businesses currently offer any type of mobile working, compared with almost 60% in 2007. And only 10% of workers say they have the freedom to work from outside the office as part of their day-to-day job... yet a quarter of all UK businesses say they've lost staff as a result of not being able to offer mobile working. [Sources:;]

Crimestoppers trials text service

Crimestoppers, the anonymous service that lets members of the public tip off the police about crime, has started a text message trial in the UK. It's been launched at three schools in London, with plans to expand it to the whole city and then across the country. Any text messages sent to the service are encrypted before being delivered, providing reassurance that messages can't be traced. The Crimestoppers trial will use a standard 5-digit SMS short code. [Sources:;]

Sunday, 8 June 2008

3G iPhone leak?

Just a few hours ahead of what's probably the official launch of the 3G Apple iPhone, has what it claims is leaked information about the phone's specifications.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Takeover talks

Vodafone has announced that Verizon Wireless, its partner in the USA, has agreed to buy Alltel for $28.1 billion. Alltel is the 5th largest mobile operator in the USA, with over 13 million customers. This will make Verizon, of which Vodafone owns 45%, the country's largest mobile network with around 80 million customers. Meanwhile France Telecom, which owns the Orange brand, has been rejected after offering to buy Scandinavian telecoms giant TeliaSonera. [Vodafone press release; TeliaSonera press release]

Big brands aren't taking advantage of mobile advertising

Mobile advertising isn't convincing the big brands, according to a new report. Analysts at Informa Telecoms & Media say the global mobile advertising market will increase from around $1.72 billion (£880 million) in 2008 to $12.09 billion by 2013 - but most big brands are spending less than 0.5% of their advertising budget on mobile ads. Currently around 80% of mobile advertising revenue comes from mobile content providers. [Source:]

Orange announces new UK plans

Orange CEO Tom Alexander has announced a number of changes to the way the company works in the UK. He said it would improve quality for customers, it would expand Orange sales channels, it would expand its 3G HSDPA network, and it would offer new services. There'll be new products including Orange-branded laptops, there'll be more focus on offering customer service using UK call centres, and there'll be more Orange shops. It's also changing its management structure, which could see the loss of around 450 jobs. The company is dropping its "the future's bright, the future's Orange" advertising tagline. [Sources: Press release; Mobile News;]

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

New Mobile News podcast now available

This week's edition of the Mobile News podcast (produced by includes an interview with Quore MD Ronojay Nag about his company's plans. In addition, there's our usual look at industry news and rumours from the last 7 days, plus a review of the Sony Ericsson Z555i. Each programme can be downloaded FREE from the Mobile News website, from, by including the podcast in your RSS reader or via iTunes.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Nokia confirms deal with Buongiorno

The world’s biggest mobile manufacturer has agreed a revenue-sharing deal with the world's largest mobile content provider. Nokia will put a link to Buongiorno’s BlinkoGold mobile site, which offers video, music, images and games, in the Download application on ten Nokia devices. It’ll be available first to customers in Italy, with access also planned in Spain, France, Brazil, the United States, China and Russia. [Source:]

Text messaging to any car registration nuumber

A new online service at is offering a simple way for mobile phone users to contact a stranger in a car. As the website says: "Ever spotted someone in a car you fancied meeting or chatting to? Our new mobile text service will now give you the chance to contact that person!"

Nick Anderson, whose company runs the website, sees the service as being particularly appealing to young single people. It's only available to drivers who register their car registration number with Txt2reg. Text messages sent to their car registration number are then forwarded to their mobile, keeping the mobile number private. The service costs £1.50 to register and £1.50 to send a message, with no charge to receive messages. [Press release]

Roamers outside Europe paying more for calls

The introduction of the European Commission's cap on roaming call charges last year has led to increasing costs for other calls made abroad. That's the opinion of analysts at Informa Telecoms & Media. They say European mobile operators have raised the price of making 'roamed' calls from other countries into the European Union by as much as 163% over the last couple of years. 15% of EU customers making 'roamed' calls are travelling outside the EU. [Source:]

Ofcom cashback rules could hit dealers

Ofcom's new rules to protect consumers from mis-selling and failed cashback providers are likely to hit smaller dealers, according to the UK's mobile networks. The proposed rules, known as General Condition 23, were announced in March and are due to be implemented this summer. Networks will be liable for the practices of third parties and can be penalised up to 10% of their annual turnover for failures. Last week 3 said the new rules would cost it in the region of £1 million, forcing it to cut its dealer channel, with T-Mobile adding that the costs involved would be “extremely high and disproportionate". Ofcom is currently looking at all responses to its proposal and is expected to publish a further statement in July 2008. [Sources: Mobile News; Ofcom PDF]

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Daily Mail says Vodafone "spied on its own board"

The Mail on Sunday says it has evidence that Vodafone spied on its board of directors in 2006 to see whether or not they were loyal to Chief Executive Arun Sarin - and adds that Mr Sarin "presided over one of the most squalid episodes in UK corporate history". It's suggested that the company used call data and text message logs to try and prove a conspiracy against Arun Sarin in 2006. The newspaper says Vodafone has responded with a statement saying it will not comment on any particular investigation but it has never knowingly or deliberately breached any laws as part of any investigation. [Source:]