Thursday, 31 July 2008

Global mobile sales up 15%

Strategy Analytics says 297 million mobile phones were shipped worldwide in the second quarter of 2008, a 15% year-on-year increase. Perhaps surprisingly, the worldwide growth rate is higher than it was at any time during 2007. [Report summary]

Andrew Harrison leaves Carphone board for Best Buy

Carphone Warehouse UK chief executive Andrew Harrison is stepping down from the Carphone Warehouse Group board to take a position on the Best Buy Europe board. He will remain in his existing role and will also take charge of the Best Buy Europe joint venture. [Source: Mobile News]

Over 2 billion wireless broadband customers by 2015

Researchers at Analysys Mason say there'll be 2.1 billion wireless broadband users worldwide by 2015, with most using mobile phone technology. These users are expected to generate $784 billion in 2014, which is an increase of 2400% from today. [Press release]

Motorola announces profit

Motorola's second-quarter results show that the company has made a profit of $4 million and is maintaining its market share with sales of over 28 million handsets. [Press release]

O2 offers combined home and mobile broadband service

O2 has announced a new broadband package that combines 3G mobile access with a landline connection and WiFi router. It also includes WiFi access via The Cloud. The deal will be available from 1st August. [Sources:;]

Nokia cuts handset prices

Nokia has been cutting phone prices during July, according to a report from Reuters. It's cut up to 10% off some handsets, putting pressure on rival manufacturers. [Source: Reuters]

Sagem Mobile splitting

French air and defence company Safran is separating its Sagem Mobile business. The new company will be called Sagem Wireless and will be controlled by Sofinnova, a French venture capital firm. The software part of Sagem Mobile is being sold to Purple Labs, which recently bought Openwave. [Safran press release; Purple Labs press release]

Israel publishes mobile phone health guidelines

Israel's Health Ministry has published guidelines about mobile phone usage. The ministry's head of public health says they contain "absolutely nothing new" and are based on information that's already been released by other organisations. [Source: Jerusalem Post]

Garmin delays new mobile phone

Sat Nav company Garmin says its nüvifone handset will not launch at the end of 2008 but will be delayed until the first half of 2009. It says meeting mobile network requirements is taking longer than anticipated. [PDF press release]

Carphone Warehouse publishes quarterly figures

The Carphone Warehouse Group has released quarterly trading figures for April, May and June 2008. [Press release]

Problems with Vodafone's Ghana Telecom deal

The last few weeks have seen a number of Ghanaian politicians expressing unhappiness with Vodafone's plans to own a majority share in Ghana Telecom. The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation has a summary of the situation.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

LG adding Dolby sound to mobiles

LG Electronics and Dolby Laboratories have announced an agreement that'll see Dolby Mobile technology added to LG's handsets. As we mentioned in February, Dolby Mobile is an audio processing technology platform that's designed for mobile applications. The new LG multimedia phones with Dolby Mobile technology will be available from the fourth quarter of 2008. They're the first globally-available phones with Dolby Mobile; the world's first Dolby Mobile phones were released in Japan by Sharp earlier this year. [Press release]

Girls want mobiles sooner than boys

Here's one of those "obvious when you think about it" pieces of research. Teenage girls want mobiles earlier than teenage boys, according to a survey in the USA by MultiMedia Intelligence. Although there's little difference in mobile phone ownership at the age of 13, there's a large gap between the genders by 17. In 2007, 91% of 17-year-old American girls had mobiles but only 78% of 17-year-old boys had them. Generally, mobile ownership by teenage girls increases with age, while usage by boys jumps at ages 13 and 16. [Press release]

Mobile News podcast now online

This week's Mobile News podcast - sponsored by Supercover Insurance - takes its regular in-depth look at industry headlines from the last seven days. There's also an interview with United Mobile's John Peck about VoIP and a preview of the new S2 Skypephone. The broadcast can be downloaded from, from the Mobile News website, via iTunes or from our RSS feed.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

UK mobile internet and text use continues to rise

The Mobile Data Association's latest report, which covers January to May 2008, shows that SMS and mobile internet use is still growing. 212 million text messages are now sent in the UK every day, with annual growth expected to be around 30% for the year. Meanwhile, mobile web use is up 25% in the last two years to 16.5 million people per month. Growth in MMS is also good, up 30% from May last year to 46 million messages per month. [Press release]

Physiotherapists warn against active text life

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is warning against text message injury (TMI) with news that one in six (16%) of 16-24 year olds experience discomfort in their hands when they send text messages. They're urging people of all ages to keep messages short, with a recommendation to use abbreviations and the predictive text function. They also say texters should try to restrict text sessions to 5-10 minutes and avoid holding the phone if they are not using it. The CSP has created a 5-step programme to safer texting:
  1. Hold the phone up with the screen facing towards you so you are not having to flex your neck too much as you look down to view the screen.
  2. Keep your hands close to your body. The weight of a phone may not feel much, but the load on your arm is significantly increased if the arm is held out stretched and this action will put strain on your neck and shoulder muscles.
  3. Try to use both hands together when texting to “spread the load”. Keep messages short and use abbreviations and the predictive text messaging feature on your phone. This will help reduce the repetitive motion of pressing various keys.
  4. Don’t text continuously. Try to take breaks by putting the phone down between text messages.
  5. Carry out the following two exercises to prevent text message injury:
    Regularly open your fingers and stretch them out.
    Stretch your arm out, rotate your wrist so it is facing upwards and with your other hand pull your palm down towards the floor to feel a stretch over the front of your forearm muscles. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.

Ex-Vodafone man to head Tesco Telecoms

Lance Batchelor, who joined Tesco as UK Marketing Director last year after leaving a similar role at Vodafone, will become chief executive of Tesco Telecoms in the next few months. [Source:]

Monday, 28 July 2008

Carphone to drop Vanilla Mobile web service

Vanilla Mobile, the "white label" fulfilment service from The Carphone Warehouse, is to cease trading from 22nd August. It offered dealers a complete web-based sales operation, including credit checking and handset supply. Dealers who used Vanilla Mobile are being offered the opportunity to join affiliate schemes via e2save and OneStopPhoneShop, two other Carphone Warehouse companies. [Source:]

BBC Trust launches consultation about mobile TV

The BBC Trust has asked for comments about the BBC's plans to make its TV and radio channels available to UK mobile phone users on 3G networks. A trial earlier this year, which offered BBC TV on Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone and 3, attracted peak usage of just 580 views in June 2007 and an average 13 minutes watched per month. [BBC Trust consultation; PDF document]

Mobile map usage up 72% in UK

The latest comScore M:Metrics report says maps on mobile phones are becoming increasingly popular. Year-on-year growth for the three-month period ending May 2008 shows that 4.5% of UK mobile phone customers have used mobile maps, which is a 72% increase. Overall, 3% of Europeans and 8% of American mobile subscribers access maps from their mobiles. In the US, the iPhone is the favourite choice for map users, while it's the Nokia N95 in Europe. When it comes to software, 73% of customers accessing maps are doing it via their mnobile browser in the US, compared to 57% in Europe. SMS services account for 24% in Europe and 23% in the US. [Press release]

3 connects a million mobile broadband users in Europe

Mobile network 3 says it's now connected one million mobile broadband customers across its networks in Europe. It's also taken the opportunity to talk about its ‘3 Like Home’ roaming deal, which lets customers pay discounted rates while using 3's services abroad. [Source:]

Friday, 25 July 2008

Mobile users want more services... but don't know what they've got

Mobile service developer BuzzCity has published the results of a survey that shows mobile customers are eager to access new services but aren't aware that particular services exist. For example, 51% of respondents said they would use their mobile phones for financial services if such services were available in their country. [Press release]

AOL to drop MyMobile service

AOL is to drop its MyMobile service next year. The software program lets customers in the USA access instant messaging, email, local maps and other AOL services from their mobile phone. [Source:]

UK leads the world in mobile music

Although the USA is the world's largest retail market for music, the UK leads the mobile music market in Europe. eMarketer says mobile music revenue in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain is expected to reach over £700 million by 2012, up from £134 million in 2007. In addition, advertising-supported mobile music in these five countries is expected to reach £85 million in 2012, up from less than £2½ million in 2007. [Press release]

Touchscreen mobile sales to surge

Sales of touchscreen mobile phones are expected to increase dramatically over the next few years, according to IMS Research. They say less than 30 million mobiles with touch-sensitive screens were sold worldwide in 2007 - but over 230 million will be sold annually by 2013. Although smartphone sales will drive the availability of touchscreen phones, touch-sensitive screens will also become increasingly available on conventional consumer devices. [Press release]

Mobile data revenue to hit £100 billion this year

The latest report from Informa Telecoms & Media says annual revenue from mobile data services is set to exceed $200 billion (£100 billion) for the first time this year. Total revenue from mobile data was approximately $157 billion in 2007 and was up by over 42% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2008. Non-SMS data is estimated to account for around 35% of total data revenue. Japan's NTT DoCoMo currently generates the highest non-voice revenue, while Smart Communications in the Philippines has the largest proportion of data revenue: more than 50% of its income is from non-voice services. [Source:]

Dealers lobby Ofcom with scheme to end clawback

The Independent Mobile Phone Dealers Association (IMPDA) has suggested to Ofcom that dealers would be prepared to accept a £10 reduction in commission if this insured them against immunity from network clawbacks. Networks currently retain or "claw back" commission they've paid dealers for connecting new customers if the customer defaults on their bills. IMPDA chairman Chris Caudle said "no dealer should be clawed back unless there is sufficient proof of wrongdoing, such as fraudulent connections.” [Source: Fone magazine]

Carphone dumping Mowbli?

Animated mobile phone Mowbli is apparently being dropped by The Carphone Warehouse when the company rebrands in August. [Source:]

Ofcom research on visual impairment and communications services

Ofcom has published research on the problems experienced by visually-impaired people when using communications services. It says mobile phone users often require help from friends and family - and they are frequently unable to use all the functions on their handsets. Problems with topping up prepay phones were highlighted, as were difficulties when using call centres. [Research; audio summary]

Mobile broadband won't overtake fixed-line yet

Forrester Research says mobile broadband will become increasingly popular but it won't replace fixed-line broadband services in the near future. It says speed, coverage and monthly allowances will give fixed broadband an edge for several more years. Mobile broadband is expected to grow to 27% percent of all connections in Europe by the end of 2013, with fixed dropping to 67% (falling 21% in the next five years). 10% of users are expected to have both types of service. [Sources:;]

EC may not cap data roaming charges

The European Commission's director general for Information Society and Media has said he favours clearer pricing and usage information for mobile data. Fabio Colasanti said networks should make customers aware of how much data they're using and the costs involved when they're abroad - but he felt that imposing a regulatory cap on charging could adversely affect the market. [Sources:,]

SMS still big earner

Text messaging is still the biggest revenue generator of all mobile messaging services - and it will remain so for several years, according to new figures from ABI Research. They say SMS will account for 83% of all mobile messaging revenue until 2013, when it'll provide networks with $177 billion worldwide. The company also pointed out differences in the ways text messaging is used worldwide: North America and Europe have the highest messaging ARPUs, Asia-Pacific subscribers sign up for the most SMS alert services, and Latin Americans are heavy SMS users but prefer pay-as-you-go for all messaging services. [Press release]

Nokia and Qualcomm settle legal battle

Qualcomm and Nokia have ended the patent dispute that has been going on for several years. The two companies have agreed a new 15-year patent deal to end all ongoing legal action in Europe, the USA and Asia. The specific terms of the agreement are confidential. [Press release]

Mfonex acquires Insight Marketing and Inspire Telecom

Telecomms e-business supplier Mfonex is taking over West Yorkshire-based Insight Marketing and Inspire Telecom - and is relocating to West Yorkshire as a result. The company says the deal will help it enhance its 'white label' telecommunications services.

Over 600 million mobile phones in China

There are now 601 million mobile phone users in China, according to government figures from the end of June 2008. The number of mobile users increased by 53.5 million from January to June, while the number of fixed-line customers fell by 9.3 million to 356 million in the same period. [Source:]

UK's mobile industry in "Brits Who Made The Modern World" TV documentary

Channel 5 television is broadcasting a documentary tonight that talks about the history of the UK's mobile phone industry. It's presented by Peter Snow and runs for 30 minutes from 7.30pm. [Source:]

Thursday, 24 July 2008

US Cancer Institute warns against mobile phone use

Ronald Herberman, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, has said that
the electromagnetic fields generated by mobile phones should be considered a potential human health risk despite the lack of any conclusive data. [News release; full article (PDF)]

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Revised "In Case of Emergency" ICE standard

The United Nations' International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has adopted a revised form of the ICE "In Case of Emergency" procedure already used in some countries. Mobile phone users had previously been encouraged to store an emergency contact in their mobile phone prefixed with the letters ICE ("In Case of Emergency"). The new ITU standard recommends prefixing contact details with the numbers 01, 02, 03 and so on - making it more appropriate for non-English speaking people. The ITU is working with the ICE4SAFETY non-profit organisation to promote this new way of identifying an emergency contact. [Press release]

Vodafone to buy own shares

Vodafone says it plans to buy £1 billion of its own shares after the company's share price dropped (by around 14%) yesterday. [Press release]

New podcast from Mobile News now online

The new Mobile News podcast - sponsored by Supercover Insurance - takes an in-depth look at industry headlines from the last seven days, including potential changes to text charges when using your mobile abroad. In addition, there's a preview of the Motorola ROKR E8. The broadcast can be downloaded from, from the Mobile News website, via iTunes or from our RSS feed.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Ericsson publishes Q2 results

Ericsson has reported second-quarter results that show a 70% drop in profits to 1.9 billion Kronor (£159 million), with the Sony Ericsson partnership blamed for much of the fall. [Sources: Press release;]

Vodafone publishes Q2 results

Vodafone has published what appears to be a relatively positive set of results for its second quarter of 2008. Overall revenue is up 19.1% to £9.8 billion, data revenue is up 50.6% to £664 million and its proportionate customer base is up 8.5 million to 269 million users worldwide. However, its share price fell amidst concerns about the global economy. [Sources: Press release;]

Monday, 21 July 2008

LG sales up

In a marked contrast with Sony Ericsson's recent results, LG's mobile phone sales have increased by 45% to help the company’s quarterly profits rise by 84% to 706.9 billion Won (£346 million). [Source:]

Sri Lanka requires mobile users to carry proof of ownership

The Sri Lankan government is introducing new security legislation that will require mobile phone users to carry a certificate of ownership and will prevent them them from using phones belonging to other people. The country's Telecommunication Regulatory Authority said users would have to carry a letter from their mobile phone provider confirming the person carrying the phone is the owner of the SIM card. In addition, customers using CDMA technology - which is sold in Sri Lanka as a home telephone service, although it can be used wirelessly - will be restricted to using their phones at their registered address. [Source:]

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Sony Ericsson Q2 results show a challenging time

Sony Ericsson has reported a drop in profits, a drop in sales and a drop in phone prices for the second quarter of 2008. It had previously warned that its earnings were going to be down for Q2 2008. Profits were $9.5 million for the quarter, down from $348.6 million in the same quarter last year. Net sales were down 9.4% to $4.46 billion and the average selling price of a Sony Ericsson phone was $183.72, down from $191.64 in 2007. The company expects a challenging remainder of 2008, with the global handset market growing at around 10%. [Press release]

Friday, 18 July 2008

BlackBerry warns of PDF security risk

BlackBerry's parent company Research in Motion has warned corporate customers about a security flaw. Hackers using a malicious PDF document sent to a BlackBerry could take control of a computer on the company network. [Security release]

Thursday, 17 July 2008

GSM Association responds to EU SMS statement

The GSM Association isn't happy with the European Commission's plans to cap SMS charges when roaming. It says the average price of text roaming fell by 18% last year, with the proposed regulations threatening to choke growth and stifle competition. [Press release]

Mobile Life report published

The Carphone Warehouse has published its Mobile Life 2008 report (called ‘The Connected World’); the fifth annual report in conjunction with the London School of Economics. Amongst the 'mobile' stuff in it this year:
  • 94% of British youngsters own mobile phones compared to 80% in the US
  • Youngsters in the UK and the USA consider their mobile phone to be their best friend, preferring it above TV
  • 17% of UK adults said they owned two or more mobiles, compared to 11% in the US
  • 24% of US adults and 17% of UK adults have sent/received email on their phone
  • 14% of adults have checked news or weather reports online via their mobile phone
  • 13% of British teenagers have had to change their number to stop unwanted texts or calls compared to 6% in the US
  • 14% of British teenagers reported having a mobile phone stolen compared to 9% in the US
  • 15% of adults in the UK have reported a mobile theft versus 7% in the US
[Web site; PDF]

EU investigates ringtone providers

The European Union's crackdown on ringtone providers really does affect as many UK companies as the Sunday Times had previously suggested. In the UK, 39 out of the 43 websites checked need further investigation. Overall, of the 500 websites visited in 27 countries, 80% need further investigation for suspected breaches of EU consumer rules. The EU said almost 50% of all the sites checked had irregularities about price; over 70% were lacking contact information and over 60% of websites checked were misleading. All offending websites will be contacted by their national regulator; a follow-up report is expected in 2009. [Press release; FAQ]

New protection for customers using premium-rate mobile services

PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator for services that are charged via your phone account, has announced a number of measures designed to protect customers. It says any subscription service that does not allow customers to stop it easily and quickly will be barred from operation. In addition, it's proposing new rules - potentially introduced at the end of the year - that will insist:

  • Customers are told the full cost of any subscription service when they join;
  • Customers are asked to actively confirm they wish to subscribe after they've been shown the costs;
  • No use of ‘free' or similar words will be allowed in promotional material;
  • Any failure to honour the STOP command (replying to an unwanted text message with 'STOP' ) will result in an immediate bar on the service while PhonepayPlus investigates.
[Press release]

Top-up commission cuts expected from all UK networks

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents says Vodafone's decision to cut prepay TopUp commission by 1% will probably lead other UK networks to do the same - much as we'd predicted in this week's podcast. [Source: Mobile News]

Femtocell standard agreed

International industry association The Femto Forum says its 84 members have agreed a standard for managing femtocells at customer premises. They'll be using the Broadband Forum's TR-069 "CPE WAN Management Protocol", which is already standard on around 30 million devices worldwide. [Source: Press release via]

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

3G iPhone unlocking

The new 3G Apple iPhone has been 'unlocked', according to a report on It's not a software unlock; instead it's been done with a SIM adaptor from Brazilian company DesbloqueioBr.

Mobile virus attacks increasing

Mobile security company AdaptiveMobile says the number of mobile virus attacks is increasing . In particular, they mention the CommWarrior (Nokia Series 60) and Beselo (Symbian) viruses as requiring particular caution. One network that uses AdaptiveMobile has seen a rise in virus attacks from just 0.5% of all messages to 6% over the last 12 months. The network says it now deals with 100,000 virus incidences a day, up from 70,000 in one year. [Press release]

Poor quarter for GSM worldwide as 3G sales increase

The first quarter of 2008 was the worst period for GSM connections in almost 15 years, according to a report on There were just 380,000 net new connections worldwide, compared with an average 10 million growth over the previous 12 months. Meanwhile 3G W-CDMA technology saw a quarterly gain of 9.1 million users, following similarly high additions of 9.24m and 10.99m in Q3 and Q4 2007 respectively. GSM’s market share has fallen from 92.0% to 87.6% in the past year. In the UK, 3G connections have now passed 10 million, although the total number of mobile customers has dropped slightly from the previous quarter.

Mobile Marketing Association issues global guidelines

Trade organisation The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has released its Global Code of Conduct, which provides guidelines to anyone involved with marketing that's seen on mobile phones. The new Global Code of Conduct, which updates the 2007 version, has five categories:

  • Notice – telling users who's selling the products and explaing the terms & conditions;
  • Choice & Consent - making it straightforward for consumers to opt-in and opt-out;
  • Customization & Constraint – making sure consumers only receive messages they want;
  • Security – taking care of user information;
  • Enforcement & Accountability - making sure MMA members to comply with the guidelines.
[Press release]

EU proposes roaming SMS caps and looks at data costs

The European Commission says the 2.5 billion text messages sent every year by roaming customers in the EU cost over 10 times more than they would have done at home. It's not happy with recent responses from networks and is therefore proposing cuts to the cost of SMS messages sent when abroad. It's also looking to find a solution to excessively high bills from mobile internet usage when roaming. The new measures are expected to be published in the autumn and could become law within 12 months. A price cap of between €0.11 and €0.15 per SMS (about 14p inc. VAT) is being talked about. The Commission has also launched a roaming website to explain the prices currently charged to consumers who use their mobile phone for sending texts or surfing the web in the EU. [Press release]

Ex-Samsung chairman found guilty of tax dodging

Former Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, who left the company in April after 21 years, has been found guilty of tax evasion. He's been cleared of a charge of breach of trust, which threatened a jail term, and has been given a three year suspended prison sentence and a fine of £55 million. [Source:]

New guidelines for driving offences involving mobiles

The Sentencing Guidelines Council, which issues guidelines to courts in England and Wales, has said that people distracted by a hand-held mobile phone when committing a driving offence should be treated particularly seriously. Its new guidelines state that a driving offence committed whilst reading or composing text messages whilst behind the wheel could result in up to seven years in prison. [PDF press release; PDF guidelines]

Mobile News podcast now online

This week's Mobile News podcast talks to Amirul Choudhury from ChyTel Communications and takes a look at the Samsung Tocco. As usual, the team of Iain Graham, Mark Bridge and James Rosewell also has its regular discussion about the latest industry headlines. The broadcast can be downloaded from, from the Mobile News website, via iTunes or from our RSS feed.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Olive to sue T-Mobile and churn former customers

Business-to-business dealer Olive says it's going to sue T-Mobile for £1.44 million and will also spend £1 million on churning 10,000 of its customers to rival networks. (We mentioned its dispute with T-Mobile in our 18th June podcast). It's currently raising the £1m cash from a private investor and reckons it'll churn about 50% of its former T-Mobile customer base. Olive said 250 of its biggest customers had already said they'd stay loyal to the dealer, which is connecting to Vodafone via Yes Telecom. [Source: Mobile News]

20:20 Mobile to restructure

20:20 Mobile is going to restructure its handset and accessories units, combining the administrative functions of 20:20 with its Dextra accessories business. The two brands will remain separate, although they're expected to be given new logos later this year. There are likely to be redundancies throughout the businesses when the restructure has been completed. [Source: Mobile News]

Shopkeepers boycotting Vodafone top-ups

Almost 3,500 shopkeepers in the UK have said they'll temporarily stop selling Vodafone TopUps for prepay customers because the company is cutting commission payments by 1% to 5.5% from August. Nick Birtwistle, Head of Channel Partners at Vodafone UK, has responded to feedback from retailers by promising there'll be no further cuts for at least two years. [Source:]

90% of UK ringtone web sites are misleading?

The Sunday Times says the European Commission is preparing to investigate a number of websites selling ringtones in the UK and in Europe. It claims over 90% of UK web sites selling mobile ringtones are misleading children and teenagers with unclear charges and confusing information, committing their customers to subscription services when they just expect a single payment.

35% of touch-screen mobiles in USA will be iPhone this year

The Apple iPhone will account for 35% of the touch-screen mobile phone market in the USA by the end of 2008, according to Strategy Analytics. They reckon 18.1 million touch-screen phones will be sold in the States this year, with Apple taking a 6.3 million share. [Source:]

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Mobile tickets for Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express is the latest rail service to offer mobile tickets. IT company Atos Origin has installed a mobile ticketing service for the Heathrow Express train network between London Heathrow’s airport terminals and Paddington Station in London. Passengers can have their tickets sent directly to a mobile phone as a bar code which is scanned by the train manager. [Press release]

Friday, 11 July 2008

European picture messaging has increased by 16% this year

Picture messaging has grown by 16% in Europe over the last 12 months... and by 60% in the USA, where the MMS trend started later. The latest M:Metrics Benchmark Study (published by comScore) also showed that US picture messaging usage is higher than average in July and August, while UK usage is higher in December. 78% of Europeans and 66% of Americans now own a camera phone, with nearly a quarter of all US mobile users and about a third of Europeans having sent or received photos in April this year. [Press release]

3G Apple iPhone for sale

The new 3G Apple iPhone is now on sale in the UK at O2 and Carphone Warehouse stores. And in the USA, a number of reviewers - including David Pogue from the New York Times - have received preview models.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

European parliament disagrees with EC telecoms super-regulator

The Industry, Research and Energy Committee of the European Parliament, along with the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, have voted on the European Commission's proposals to reform the EU Telecom rules. They've voted to create a new organisation that'll see independent telecoms regulators working together - instead of supporting the European Commission's plans for a so-called super-regulator. Although this isn't the final part of the process, the European Parliament is likely to follow their recommendations later this year. The new group will be known as the Body of European Regulators for Telecommunications, or 'BERT'. [EU press release; European Parliament press release]

US mobile video users watch over 3 hours per month

Market researchers at The Nielsen Company have just published a survey showing video and television usage on conventional TV sets, on the web and on mobile devices. Perhaps it's no surprise that Americans are watching more TV than ever before - an average of 127 hours and 15 minutes per month - but they're also spending more time watching on the move. When they looked at the 4 million mobile phone users who used TV or video services, average usage was 3 hours and 15 minutes per month. [Press release; pdf report]

3 plans to double its customer base in 4 years

UK mobile network 3 has said it is aiming to double its customer base (to at least 6.8m) by 2012 - and it plans to double its net revenue as well. [Source:]

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Mobile internet reaches 'critical mass'

The number of mobile internet users has reached a 'critical mass' of users this year. That's the opinion of Nielsen Mobile, which says 15.6% of all American mobile phone users and 12.9% of all UK mobile users are regularly going online. European users favoured the Nokia N95, followed by the Nokia N70 and the Motorola RAZR or RAZR2. [Press release; pdf report]

Mobile News podcast now online

There's plenty of variety in this week's Mobile News podcast: the team looks at the week's mobile industry headlines, listens to Maria Sharapova talk about designing mobile accessories and previews the Nokia 7610 Supernova. The broadcast can be downloaded from, from the Mobile News website, via iTunes or from our RSS feed.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Mobile data is driving network development

Informa Telecoms & Media says the success of mobile data services is driving sales in the base station market. With more than 100 million mobile broadband subscribers worldwide, mobile data traffic is expected to increase 1088% from 162 petabytes (PB) in 2007 to 1,925PB in 2012. They say base station sales should pick up in 2011. [Source:]

Only 3% of mobiles recycled

A global survey from Nokia shows that only 3% of people recycle their mobile phones. 74% didn't even think about recycling their devices, with nearly half unaware that it is possible to recycle unwanted handsets. (The UK did best in this part of the survey, with 80% awareness of handset recycling). The company said recycling one mobile phone for every mobile user worldwide would save 240,000 tonnes of raw materials and would reduce the amount of greenhouse gases generated by 4 million cars. [Press release]

VoIP company Vyke disagrees with GSMA's roaming statement

Voice-over-IP operator Vyke says the GSM Association's recent roaming figures show mobile networks shouldn't be complaining about potential EC charge caps. In a press release titled "Blind as bats", it also says the networks' shareholders should welcome the threat of regulation. [Press release]

Monday, 7 July 2008

Birmingham NEC being renamed 'LG Arena'

In 2005 the Millennium Dome was renamed 'The O2'. Now it’s LG’s turn to have its name on an entertainment venue. The NEC Arena in Birmingham will be renamed the LG Arena this Autumn in a sponsorship deal that will last for the next eight years. The venue is also being renovated, with £28 million being spent – although LG hasn’t mentioned how much the sponsorship itself is costing. [PDF press release]

Télécoms Sans Frontières celebrates 10th anniversary

Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), the emergency telecommunications organisation, was created ten years ago. It was formed when TSF’s founders realized there was often a need for reliable emergency telecommunications services alongside medical and food aid - not just for the response teams but also for displaced and separated families. Since 1998, TSF has deployed for an average 350 days per year, visiting over 50 countries on all 5 continents, helping over 500 non-government organisations and UN agencies plus millions of victims. [Press release]

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Vodafone wins £2 billion tax case

Vodafone has defeated HM Revenue & Customs over a £2 billion tax claim. HMRC had wanted to impose UK tax on Vodafone's Luxembourg subsidiary, which was set up in 2000 when Vodafone took over Mannessman in Germany. Last week the High Court said the UK's tax laws were incompatible with European law in this instance and told HMRC to close its inquiry. HMRC says it'll appeal. [Sources:;]

Friday, 4 July 2008

Mobile broadband jeopardised by regulation?

The GSM Association, the trade group that represents over 750 mobile operators worldwide, says the European Commission's regulations are causing networks to cut back on their spending - which could slow down the deployment of new networks. It says the EC claims operators need to have charges capped because of excessive profits, but the European mobile industry's return on capital employed was just 9% in 2006 (compared with more than 20% in other sectors) and was no higher in 2007. It also points out that usage hasn't substantially increased despite the introduction of roaming caps, with roaming call volumes increasing by 11% in the year to July 2008 but roaming revenue from voice calls decreasing by 26%. [Press release]

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Half of all last year's mobiles had a memory card slot

Strategy Analytics says that 592 million phones with memory card slots were shipped worldwide in 2007, which represents 53% of all handsets. It also predicts that shipments of phones equipped with memory card slots will grow at an average 13% per year over the next five years, reaching 1.04 billion phones in 2011. The most popular format was the microSD card, which accounted for 57% of memory card enabled phones. [Press release]

Nokia resolves German concerns

Nokia has announced a plan in association with the the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Bochum to help employment in the area following the closure of Nokia's Bochum facilities. Nokia is spending 20 million Euro on the project and is also adding the proceeds from the sale of its Bochum property. It has previously announced a redundancy package for workers. [Press release]

Vodafone buys 70% of Ghana Telecom

Vodafone has confirmed recent speculation that it's investing in Ghana Telecom. It's acquiring a 70% stake in Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited for a total of £452 million. The Government of Ghana will retain a 30% stake in the company. Customer growth in Ghana is currently over 55% per year, with only 35% of the population owning mobiles. [Source: Press release]

Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy merger is OK with OFT

The Office of Fair Trading has said it won't be refering the Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy joint venture to the Competition Commission because there's currently no overlap in the UK between Best Buy and the proposed merged business. [Carphone Warehouse press release; OFT decision]

Openwave browser company sold

Openwave Systems has sold its mobile software business to Purple Labs, which develops Linux-based software. The deal, worth $32 million, will see Purple Labs continuing to maintain Openwave's existing products as well as using Openwave technology in its own software. [Press release]

Less than 3 million people in UK use the mobile internet

Just 6% of UK adults regularly use the internet on the move, according to broadband research company Point Topic. That's 2.9 million users. However, 28.7 million people in the UK use fixed internet services. [Source: Point Topic]

EU 'data roaming' dealine passes

We've just passed the European Commission's deadline - 1st July 2008 - for mobile networks to reduce the charge of using data services abroad. So - what happens next? [Source: The Guardian]

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

And the favourite mobile phone feature is... text

A survey of US mobile phone users (commissioned by Access Systems Americas and conducted by Amplitude Research) shows that customers buying a new handset rate text messaging as the most important feature. 73% said text was the most important feature, followed by a camera (67%), email (63%) and the internet (61%). Battery life (0.5%) and voice activation (0.33%) were towards the bottom of the list. [Press release via Yahoo]

Palringo says swap SMS for IM in EU

Mobile instant messaging company Palringo says instant messaging is a cheaper way of using your mobile when you're abroad. Its own service offers instant voice messages as well as conventional text messages. The service works via a free downloadable program (Windows Mobile, Symbian or Java) that uses the data network, offering connectivity to most major instant messaging services and its own instant voice message service. [Press release]

Mobile email relieves stress

Vodafone says today's impatient businesses need mobile email to relieve stress in the office. Its latest research - the second Vodafone Critical Response Time Index - shows that 10% of organisations expect a response within 30 minutes to emails enquiring about new business, with one in three expecting a response within two hours. It adds that 36% of UK workers say the lack of mobile email causes unnecessary stress and conflict in the workplace - and calculates that the lack of mobile email access is costing British business at least £7.345 billion a year. [Press release]

Orange launches new brand campaign

Orange is launching a new global brand campaign and a new vision. The branding will be premiered on UK televison this weekend with a 60-second I Am Everyman ad. Orange says its new vision is expressed in the phrase "together we can do more". [Press release]

We'll spend $300 billion on our mobiles by 2013

Here's another mobile commerce report from Juniper Research. In this one it says we'll spend $300 billion worldwide on digital and physical products by 2013. Previous reports have looked at the number of banking transactions and the number of customers. [Press release]

MVNO market is doing okay

A report from Informa Telecoms & Media predicts there'll be 150 million customers using mobile virtual networks by 2013, with 42% coming from Western Europe. That's 3% of the anticipated total number of mobile customers worldwide. The report says targeting specific customer groups has helped MVNOs survive, with discount and community-focussed offerings expected to account for around 55% of MVNO users by 2013. [Source:]

SIM-free iPhone available in USA

The 3G Apple iPhone will be available SIM-free in the USA, according to the Washington Post. The 8GB model will be available unconnected from AT&T for $599, while the 16GB model will be $699. That's $400 more than the price with a 2-year contract.

Mobiles are changing birds' songs

This isn't a new story but it's back in the news again. Apparently wild birds are imitating mobile phone ringtones, according to German ornithologists. [Source:]

EC clears Nokia/NAVTEQ deal

The European Commission has approved Nokia's planned acquisition of digital map company NAVTEQ, which is now expected to happen in the next five working days. [Press release]

New Mobile News podcast now online

This week's Mobile News podcast is now available to download. The regular team of Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge takes a look at the latest industry news - from termination charges to takeovers - and there's also a preview of the Motorola ZINE ZN5 camera phone. The broadcast can be downloaded from, from the Mobile News website, via iTunes or from our RSS feed.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

US Teen Market reaching saturation

Analysists at MultiMedia Intelligence say the market for 12 to 17-year-old mobile phone customers in the USA is reaching saturation. It exceeded 16 million last year, up 12% from 2006. However it's only expected to reach 17 million by 2012.