Monday, 29 September 2008

Expats spending more on mobiles than food

Mobile VoIP service provider Vyke says young Asian expats in the UK are spending more on mobile calls than they spend on food. Its recent survey says the majority of expats aged between 16 and 24 spend more on making mobile phone calls than they do on food, and a quarter of people who call abroad are spending over £60 a month on their mobile calls and texts. [Press release]

Europeans are ditching fixed-line phones for mobiles

A European Commission study says about a quarter of homes in the EU have a mobile phone but no fixed-line connection. There's a higher proportion in Eastern Europe: 39% of households are mobile-only, compared to a fifth of homes in Western Europe - although in Finland, 61% of households only have mobiles. The report also says last year there were nearly 112 handsets for every 100 European residents. A report a couple of weeks ago put the US number of mobile-only households at 17%. [Source:]

Almost 20% of mobile revenue is from data

Almost 20% of worldwide mobile operator revenue comes from data, according to a report from Chetan Sharma Consulting - with some major operators receiving 40% of their revenue from data. The USA is now leads the world's most lucrative mobile data market, having pushed Japan into second place this year. Its operators are earning $17.5 billion in total data revenue, although Japan has the highest-earning individual operator: NTT DoCoMo has made $6.8 billion in data revenue during the first six months of 2008. The UK's O2 network is number 9 in the world. [Source:]

Vodafone offers in-store charging for flat batteries

As we mentioned last week, battery life is behind one of the biggest criticisms of mobile phones. Vodafone has just launched a scheme to help by offering in-store charging if your mobile's battery is flat. Selected stores have a secure locker with a variety of charging plugs - not just for mobiles but also for music players and games devices. 30 minutes will cost you £1, 90 minutes is £2. The service is initially available at just six locations. [Sources:;]

UK Porting group suspends operations

UKPorting, the UK telecommunications industry group that was working to speed up the transfer of mobile phone numbers between networks, has decided to suspend its operations. The decision follows last week's judgement by the Competition Appeal Tribunal that said regulator Ofcom hadn't taken enough care with its proposals. Ofcom says it's disappointed with UKPorting's decision, which was taken after at least one of the networks involved decided to withdraw from the group. [Source:]

Management changes at Vodafone

Vodafone UK is getting a new Chief Executive. Current CEO Nick Read is moving to run the Asia-Pacific & Middle East Region, while Guy Laurence, currently CEO of Vodafone Netherlands, will become CEO of Vodafone UK. He will report to Michel Combes, recently-appointed CEO of the Europe Region. Guy was previously CEO of mobile internet business Vizzavi and had also been Vodafone's Global Consumer Marketing Director. [Press release]

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Mobile-only householders think differently

The Pew Research Center, which conducts public opinion polls, says leaving out households that don't have a fixed-line phone may cause an inaccurate result in polls. Their new study shows that organisations only conducting telephone interviews using fixed-line connections may end up with skewed results. Two years ago, researchers said mobile and fixed-line users had similar views... but the new report says "this assumption is increasingly questionable". It says having contacted Americans under 30 who only used mobiles, 62% were Democrats and 28% were Republicans. However fixed-phone users showed less separation: 54% Democrats and 36% Republicans. One of the reasons for the difference could be that fixed-line owners were more likely to be married and own their own homes, said Pew Research Center's director of survey research. [Source:]

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Touch-screen Nokia 'Tube' expected next week

Nokia still hasn't launched a touch-screen phone... but that's expected to change next week. Its prototype touch-screen phone (codenamed 'Tube') is rumoured to be announced in London on Thursday 2nd October. [Source:]

A quarter of mobile phone features never used

A study by wireless support specialist WDSGlobal says a quarter of mobile phone features are never discovered by users - and only 20% of a mobile phone’s features are ever used regularly. Most people struggled to name more than half-a-dozen features, with regular usage generally just voice, text messaging, contacts, camera and alarm clock. The company said users felt overwhelmed, blaming poor user interfaces and complex menu structures. [Press release]

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Mobile data comes home

Within the next five years, more than half of all mobile data is expected to be generated at home. New research from Informa Telecoms & Media says 40% of last year's mobile data traffic was generated at home but it's expected to reach 58% by 2013. Voice usage at home is also expected to increase, from 42% in 2008 to 49% in 2013. [Source:]

Sony Ericsson to launch unlimited music service

No sooner has Nokia planned its Comes With Music for the UK - thank you, Rupert Englander, for talking to us on this week's Mobile News podcast - than Sony Ericsson previews a similar service. It's called PlayNow plus and it'll be available in Sweden later this year, with other countries added in 2009. Unlike the Nokia service, music can be downloaded directly to the phone - first will be a special version of the Sony Ericsson W902 Walkman - as well as 'sideloaded' via PC. [Press release]

Use your mobile to unlock your car

Mobil manufacturer Sharp and Japan's DoCoMo network have created a mobile phone that incorporates Nissan's Intelligent Key system, which will enable it to unlock compatible Nissan cars made since 2002. (No, not all of them). It's only a prototype at the moment, with commercial production expected in 2009. [Source:]

4 billion worldwide mobile users this year

Informa Telecoms & Media has calculated there will be 4 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide by the end of this year. However, it says the five billionth subscription won't be connected until the end of 2011. The International Telecommunications Union agrees with the 4 billion figure... and this ties in with figures from Portio Research, who say 5.8 billion people - 80% of the world's population - will be using mobiles by the end of 2013. [Sources:; ITU press release; Portio press release]

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Mobile networks work with Internet Advertising Bureau

The Internet Advertising Bureau has been chosen by the UK's major mobile networks as the trade body to work with when it comes to mobile advertising. Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 will provide funding to the IAB, which is expanding its remit to cover the mobile market. [Press release]

New Mobile News podcast now available to download

In this week's edition of the Mobile News podcast, Iain Graham talks to Nokia's Rupert Englander about his company's new Comes With Music service. Mark Bridge previews the forthcoming HTC Touch HD and James Rosewell joins in for the team's usual irreverent look at the week's industry headlines and rumours. As always, you can download or listen free at and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Iridium sold (again)

Satellite company Iridium Holdings has been bought by Greenhill & Co's GHL Acquisition Corp to create a business called Iridium Communications Inc. Iridium currently has over 305,000 subscribers using satellite telephone services worldwide. [Press release]

Android-powered Google G1 mobile phone launches

The G1 mobile phone, which is made by HTC and uses Google’s Android operating system, was officially launched in New York today. It’ll be available in the US from 22nd October and is expected to reach the UK in November. In the UK it’ll be free on a T-Mobile contract costing £40 a month. The phone itself has a touch screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. [Sources:;]

Ofcom expresses concerns about EC termination plans

Ofcom and the government Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform say that the European Commission's plans to cut termination rates could cause problems for people on low incomes. In a joint statement, the two organisations said cutting cross-network termination charges could result in lower bills for the caller but higher costs for the person receiving the call. This could mean that costs were increased, particularly for prepay tariffs. Ofcom added that it has already agreed mobile phone termination rates in the UK until 2011 and it is reluctant to alter those rates now. [Ofcom pdf document]

3G femtocells to be launched commercially

There's been a lot of talk recently about femtocells: tiny base stations that boost your mobile phone coverage at home by connecting to your broadband service. Well, Japanese network SoftBank is about to be the first service provider to launch 3G femtocells commercially. It's launching in January next year, although pricing hasn't been confirmed. And yes, it really is the world's first 3G femtocell service. American network Sprint announced femtocells for some customers a few months ago but only for voice calls. [Source:]

O2 reviewing dealer commission

O2 is changing the way it pays commission to its business dealers next month, paying them a monthly share of revenue instead of commission when the customer connects. The move could see dealers earning more in the long term, although the lack of an initial subsidy may affect handset prices and connection incentives. [Source: Mobile News]

Europe prepares to cap costs for text and data when roaming

European telecomms commissioner Viviane Reding has confirmed that she wants to cap charges for text messages at a maximum of 9p+VAT when roaming in Europe and will force operators to bill cross-border voice calls by the second. She also aims to restrict data charges to 79p+VAT per megabyte. These proposals will be voted on by the European Parliament in spring next year and could become by summer 2009. [Sources: Mobile News;]

Unlimited mobile music has strong appeal

With Nokia's Comes With Music preparing for launch - and Sony Ericsson rumoured to be announcing their own rival service this week - a new report from Strategy Analytics suggests that customers will definitely be interested. 83% of respondents used their mobile phones to play music, with 84% of respondents willing to pay for a service such as "Comes with Music". However, at the moment, just 6% of music tracks on devices are bought from online mobile music shops. The company says price and selection are the most important factors in a customer's choice of music store, and that brand loyalty is extremely low. We'll be talking to someone from Nokia about the Comes With Music service in Wednesday's Mobile News podcast. [Press release]

Blyk reaches 200,000 customers

A year after it launched, ad-funded virtual network Blyk says it has over 200,000 customers. That's twice as many as the company originally forecast. Word of mouth is a major factor in thi growth, with 6 out of 10 customers joining because of a friend’s recommendation. [Blyk blog]

Ofcom's number porting plan defeated... for now

Vodafone has won a court case against telecomms regulator Ofcom. The Competition Appeals Tribunal has said that Ofcom must reconsider its decision to introduce a two-hour Mobile Number Portability limit next year. The CAT ruled that insufficient analysis and consultation had taken place, cost estimates were inaccurate and the benefit to customers had not been sufficiently demonstrated. Ofcom says it won't be deterred, although the proposed September 2009 date may now slip. [Sources: Mobile News; CAT pdf document]

Train engineer was texting before crash

The train engineer involved in the Los Angeles rail crash on 12th September was sending text messages on the day of the accident, according to the US National Transportation Safety Board. It had previously been suggested that his texting may have caused the accident. The company operating the railway, Southern California's Metrolink, prohibits railway workers from using mobile phones while working. A temporary legal ban on personal mobile phone use for railway workers has now been introduced while a permanent ban is currently being proposed. [Sources: NTSB;]

Mobiles loved and well-used in US

60% of mobile phone owners in the USA say they carry their phones at all times, even inside the home, according to the new How People Use Cell Phones report from Knowledge Networks. This figure is up 50% since 2002. And when asked what they dislike about their handsets, the most popular answer - from 15% of respondents - was "Nothing". Customers aged 13 to 29 send an average of 20 text messages daily, compared to just two for those aged 30-43 and and less than one for ages 44 to 64. [Press release]

Monday, 22 September 2008

Apple recalls 3G iPhone chargers in USA - but UK is OK

Apple is recalling its Ultracompact USB Power Adapter from the USA, Canada, Japan, Mexico and a number of Latin American countries. The UK, however, is not affected. Apple says the metal prongs from the adaptor can break off and remain in a power outlet, creating a risk of electric shock. The power adapters were supplied with every iPhone 3G sold in the affected countries. Apple is exchanging every ultracompact power adapter for a new redesigned adapter, free of charge. Replacement adapters will be available from 10th October. [Press release]

EC takes action against telecoms regulators in Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden

The European Commission has opened infringement proceedings against Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden because of concerns about the independence and effectiveness of telecoms regulators in these countries. [Press release]

First Android-based phone to sell for $199

The Wall Street Journal has predicted that the first mobile phone using Google's Android operating system - an HTC device due to be revealed this month - is expected to sell for $199 (around £108) in the USA.

Nokia and Samsung top Greenpeace 'Greener Electronics Guide'

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has just published its ninth edition of the Greener Electronics Guide, which ranks leading companies in the mobile phone, computer, TV and games console industries according to their policies and practices on toxic chemicals, recycling and energy. Mobile phone companies take the top two positions, with Nokia leading and Samsung in second place. Nokia scored seven out of ten, with Samsung rated at 5.9 out of ten. Sony Ericsson has dropped from its previous lead to fourth place. [Press release]

Friday, 19 September 2008

55,000 mobiles left in London taxis... in 6 months

A survey from security software company Credant Technologies says 55,843 mobile phones and 6,193 other mobile storage devices, including laptops and MP3 players, have been left in London taxis by careless customers in the last six months. 80% of the taxi drivers surveyed said the owners were eventually reunited with their lost items - a considerably higher figure than in New York. [Source:]

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Voice Short Codes available on all UK networks

Voice 'short codes' will be available across all the UK's mobile networks from October, according to telecomms platform provider MX Telecom. These codes operate in a similar way to text codes, enabling customers to call companies or enter competitions by using a short codes instead of a conventional telephone number. They've been available for a while by connecting on a 'per network' basis. O2 is the last UK network to implement the cross-network deal. [Press release]

Texting while driving slows reactions by over a third

New research for the RAC Foundation says that texting when behind the wheel impairs driving skills more than drinking or using cannabis. The charity used a driving simulator with a group of 17 to 24-year-old motorists. Texting whilst driving caused reaction times to slow by 35%, which was worse than alcohol at the legal limit (12% slower) and driving under the influence of cannabis (21% slower). Steering control was 91% worse, and the ability to maintain a safe following distance also fell. The RAC Foundation says existing laws are adequate but there should be high-profile enforcement. [Press release]

O2 to ditch 12-month contracts

O2 is dropping 12-month contracts for new 'pay monthly' customers and is insisting on a minimum term of 18 months. This reflects a general move in the UK mobile industry, with 84%of July 2008 contracts being 18-month deals. [Source:]

Mobile customers want style above other features

Consumer review website has asked 31,000 mobile phone customers to say what they liked most and least about their new mobile phones. The top three likes were looks, size and camer - while battery life, usability and software were the main reasons for disliking a phone. (Full details are online at's blog). [Press release]

Wrong tariffs waste millions of pounds

Mobile phone price comparison site says customers are wasting millions of pounds every month by paying for text and talk packages they don't need. 47% of those questioned in their survey were using less than half the minutes they were paying for, with 82% not reaching their monthly allocation of calls and texts. [Press release]

Sandisk rejects Samsung takeover bid

Memory manufacturer SanDisk has rejected a $5.8bn takeover bid by Samsung, although it's not rejected the idea completely. The company's chairman said Samsung's offer wasn't high enough. There are now suggestions that Toshiba could also offer to buy SanDisk. Currently, around 14% of SanDisk's revenue comes from licensing its technology to Samsung. [Source:]

20 million households in USA only have mobiles

New research from The Nielsen Company reveals that more than 20 million households in the USA rely on a mobile phone instead of fixed-line service. That's 17% of all homes with fixed-line or mobile phones - and the company says it could reach 20% by the end of the year. Nielsen’s study also says that 'wireless substitutors' tend to use their mobile phones more than people with landlines but still save money when compared with fixed-line use, which costs an average $40 per month. 10% of lfixed-line phone customers have previously gone wireless-only in their household but have later returned to landline service, usually because they need a landline for another service (such as burglar alarms, satellite or cable TV, fax machines etc.) [Press release]

T-Mobile Android phone to be unveiled next week

T-Mobile USA says it'll show its new Android-powered HTC smartphone to journalists at a press conference on 23rd September. The phone is expected to go on sale later this year. [Source:]

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

This week's Mobile News podcast now online

This week Iain Graham, Mark Bridge and James Rosewell cover a wide range of industry headlines in the Mobile News podcast, from dealer clawback and dodgy ads to irresponsible text messaging and internet search. There’s even time for a quick preview of the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 smartphone. As usual, you can download or listen at and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Mobile search more popular than ever

The latest report from comScore M:Metrics says the number of people using mobile internet searches has grown by 30% in the UK over the last 12 months. Growth was 38% across Western Europe and 68% in the USA. 20.8 million US mobile phone customers and 4.5 million European mobile customers searched the web from their handsets in June 2008. The UK leads Europe and the USA with 9.5% of UK mobile customers using mobile search. [Press release]

Was texting to blame for rail crash?

There are suggestions that text messaging could have resulted in a Los Angeles train crash that killed 25 people. Two teenage railway enthusiasts have said they were exchanging text messages with the engineer on one of the trains involved shortly before it jumped a red signal and hit a freight train last Friday. Federal investigators have said they'll be checking mobile phone records. [Sources:;]

Mobile user-generated content to be funded by ads

A new report from Juniper Research says advertising-funded social networks will provide most of the money for mobile user-generated content sites by 2013. It says the total value of the user-generated content market - social networking, dating and personal content delivery services - will rise from nearly $1.1 billion in 2008 to over $7.3 billion in 2013, with social networking overtaking dating by 2009 to become the largest revenue-generating segment. Advertising will account for more than half of mobile social networking revenue by the end of the forecast period. [Press release]

Monday, 15 September 2008

Apple iPhone software v2.1 released

New Apple iPhone version 2.1 software has been released, improving the phone's signal strength display (but not signal strength itself) and fixing a number of other bugs. [Source:]

T-Mobile gets German court to ban VoIP software

T-Mobile in Germany has taken VoIP company Sipgate to court, complaining that Sipgate's software only works on 'jailbroken' (unlocked) iPhones. The Higher Regional Court in Hamburg agreed that Sipgate makes use of "unfair business practices" because unlocking the iPhone is a breach of T-Mobile's contract terms, which means Sipgate can't be used in Germany. The ban does not apply in other countries. [Source:]

Best Buy for Napster

US electronics company Best Buy, which announced a partnership with The Carphone Warehouse earlier this year, says it's agreed to buy digital music company Napster for $121 million. Napster currently has a mobile service in the USA, a deal with O2 in the UK and works with other mobile companies worldwide. [Press release]

Tesco offices to go mobile

Tesco staff in its stores and distribution centres will start using mobiles for all their calls as part of a £100 million 5-year deal with Cable & Wireless that starts next month. The scheme will use a new private GSM network that'll connect all 1,800 Tesco stores and distribution locations, making inter-company calls free. Calls inside buildings will be routed over Tesco's IP network, with external calls sent via GSM. [Source:]

A different kind of Google phone

A new satellite communications company - O3b Networks - is aiming to provide high-speed, low-cost communications for billions of people in emerging markets. The venture is backed by financial and operational support from Google, cable operators Liberty Global and HSBC. It plans to offer voice and broadband services by using satellite technology for the main 'backbone' of the network. Service activation is scheduled for late 2010. The company's name - O3b - reflects its aim of connecting developed countries with the “other three billion” people who have limited internet access. [Press release]

Dealers want non-paying customers blacklisted

A number of independent dealers have complained that networks are refusing to blacklist mobile phones when a customer connects using fraudulent information or doesn't pay their bill. They say that networks claim the handset is still owned by the person who bought it, while the dealers say the handset belongs to them until the end of the customer’s contract. The dealers point out that they're being 'clawed back' for commission when customers don't pay. [Source:; 'The Voice' column]

Sunday, 14 September 2008

US teenagers and mobiles: new research

Researchers at Harris Interactive have worked with industry group CTIA to discover what teenagers want from their mobile phones... and what mobile phones are likely to be used for in the future. Their survey of over 2,000 teenagers in the USA is called "Teenagers: A Generation Unplugged". It reveals that:
  • next to clothing, teenagers say a mobile phone tells the most about a person’s social status or popularity
  • 57% see their mobile phone as the key to their social life
  • 17 million teenagers (alomst 80%) carry a mobile device -up 40% since 2004
  • almost the same amount of time is spent texting as talking
  • 42% of teens say they can text blindfolded!
In the future, teenagers say they'll want their mobiles to offer:
  • secure data access to the user only (80%)
  • accessibility to personal health records (66%)
  • the opportunity to be educated anywhere in the world (66%)
  • closer access to global issues impacting their world (63%)

Their ideal mobile device would be a phone, MP3 player, GPS, laptop computer and video player that was shockproof, waterproof, never needed recharging and had a screen that couldn't be overlooked. [Press release]

Vodafone man heading for Arsenal?

Paul Donovan, who is leaving his role as Chief Executive of Vodafone's emerging markets division next year following a company restructure, is rumoured to be on the shortlist for Chief Executive at Arsenal FC. Mr Donovan, who joined Vodafone in 1999, is known to be an Arsenal fan. [Source:]

Saturday, 13 September 2008

US senator asks for explanation of rising text costs

Senator Herb Kohl, who chairs the Antitrust Subcommittee in the US Senate Judiciary Committee, has written to AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile asking why the cost of sending a text has doubled in the last three years from 10 to 20 cents. He's particularly concerned because these networks - responsible for 90% of mobile customers in the USA - all appear to have increased their charges at roughly the same rate - whilst consolidation has reduced competition. [Sources: Press release; The;;]

Friday, 12 September 2008

Mobile users will pay to avoid ads

Market research company TNS says a growing number of mobile users are so averse to advertising that they are willing to pay a premium in order to avoid it. Although 56% of users believe that content downloads to mobile phones should be free of charge, 25% of respondents said they would rather pay for a download if it guaranteed them immunity from advertising. Younger users are more prepared to pay: 35% of 16-to-24 year olds are happier to pay for downloads than receive them with advertising, compared to 17% of 35 to 44 year olds. The company says mobile providers risk losing customers if they don't offer chargeable but ad-free downloads. [Press release; pdf]

27,000 iPhones sold in UK every week?

There are reports that Apple is selling 27,000 3G iPhones every week in the UK, giving it around a 5% market share. Figures were said to be up to 50,000 each week immediately after the new iPhone launched in July. [Source:]

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Sony Ericsson sponsors NAVTEQ event

Digital map company NAVTEQ has announced that Sony Ericsson will be sponsoring the 2009 NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge. Yes, that's the NAVTEQ that's been taken over by rival manufacturer Nokia. [Source:]

BlackBerry and Microsoft working together

Did someone mention another partnership with BlackBerry? Fresh from its MySpace announcement, RIM has said it's working with Microsoft to add Microsoft's Live Search to the BlackBerry. [Press release]

MySpace working with BlackBerry

Social networking site MySpace is working with Research In Motion (RIM) to create a MySpace Mobile program for BlackBerry smartphones. There's already a mobile MySpace service at, which receives more than two million daily mobile visits. The new MySpace for BlackBerry application will enable BlackBerry users to receive MySpace updates instantly. [Press release]

Nokia updates Ovi and Email services

There've been a couple of relatively-interesting announcements from Nokia in the last 24 hours. Firstly, its Ovi multimedia service can now synchronise calendar, contacts, notes and task information between your Nokia phone and your online storage at It's also possible to use a PC to access your files. And now they've enabled Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to offer corporate email on 43 different S60 smartphone models, which equates to 80 million mobile devices. [Press releases: Ovi, Exchange]

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

O2 to offer mobile coverage on Glasgow subway

O2 customers will be able to make and receive calls on Glasgow's underground railway system later this year. Coverage will be available in five Glasgow Subway stations - Buchanan Street, St Enoch, Kelvinbridge, Hillhead and Partick - from December. Customers will also have access to other mobile services, including text messages, 3G video calls and internet access. In addition, WiFi coverage could be offered in the future. It's a story we first mentioned earlier this year. [Press release]

Over 25% of mobile browsing is done on smartphones

The latest AdMob Mobile Metrics report, which analyses mobile advertising to produce a snapshot of browsing patterns, says internet traffic from smartphones now accounts for 25.8% of worldwide traffic. Worldwide internet traffic was up 12.8%. Nokia had 62.4% of worldwide smartphone traffic in August, followed by RIM (BlackBerry devices) in second place with 10.8%. In the UK, 9.2% of mobile internet customers were using the Nokia N95. [August PDF report]

100 million downloads from Apple App Store

Apple says the last two months have seen iPhone and iPod Touch owners downloading more than 100 million applications from its App Store. (The online store opened on 11th July). There are currently over 3,000 applications available to download; more than 90% cost less than $10 and more than 600 are free. [Press release]

Vodafone's radio ad banned by ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority has said a Vodafone radio advertisement cannot be broadcast again because the terms and conditions were read too quickly to be heard. "Subject to status, availability and connection to 18-month contract. Unlimited calls to landlines or Vodafone Mobiles only. Fair-use policy, terms and 60-minute call cap applies." was read within eight seconds, which the ASA said was not clearly audible and could mislead listeners. [Source:]

New products launched

RIM has announced its first flip-open BlackBerry device - the much-rumoured BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 smartphone - and Sony Ericsson has confirmed that its XPERIA X1 smartphone will be launched in the UK on 30th September. [BlackBerry; Sony Ericsson]

New Mobile News podcast now online

Iain Graham, Mark Bridge and James Rosewell discuss the latest mobile industry news in this week's edition of the Mobile News podcast. There's also a feature about the new Nokia 'Comes With Music' service and a preview of the 8-megapixel LG KC910 camera phone. You can download or listen at and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

CTIA show opens today

The CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment event starts today in San Francisco. Expect assorted new mobile products from assorted manufacturers...

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Former Vodafone man running Tesco Telecoms

Following press reports in July, former Vodafone UK Marketing Director Lance Batchelor has now been appointed CEO of Tesco Telecoms. Mr Batchelor joined Tesco Mobile last year as the company's Marketing Director, having previously worked at Vodafone and Amazon. [Source:]

Monday, 8 September 2008

BBC iPlayer on Nokia N96

The BBC's 'on demand' iPlayer service will be available on the Nokia N96 from next month. The iPlayer is already available for 'streaming' programmes on the Apple iPhone, although the N96 will also permit downloads. [Source: BBC News]

New UK MVNO offers foreign-language customer care

A new UK virtual mobile network called GlobalCell has launched in partnership with Orange. It's a SIM-only prepaid service aimed at Eastern Europeans in the UK, with all customer interaction conducted in the customers’ native language. Choices include Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Slovak and English. International calls cost from 10p per minute. [Press release]

Smartphone sales up 15.7%

Researchers at Gartner say worldwide sales of smartphones in the second quarter of 2008 reached 32.2 million units, which is an increase of 15.7% on the same quarter last year, although year-on-year growth rates are slowing down. Western Europe saw a 29.3% quarterly increase, while Nokia maintained its sector leadership with a 47.5% market share. [Report; press release]

Zed buys mobile game company Mobitween

Mobile entertainment entertainment company Zed has bought games maker Mobitween, which has a number of network deals and also runs its own Ugengames and Mobigamz services. [Source:]

Vodafone launches Facebook text service

Vodafone has launched a unique service that'll let UK mobile phone users send text messages from their Facebook profile to friends. The Vodafone Connect to Friends application lets Facebook users send texts (and, from later this month, picture messages as well) to mobile phones on any network. Vodafone is including 25 free text credits, with additional messages costing 10p for text and 30p for a picture. The service can be used by anyone regardless of their mobile network. [Press release]

Using a handheld mobile could increase car insurance by 54%

Motorists risk a 54% price rise on their car insurance premiums if they're caught using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving, according to price comparison website They've surveyed British motorists and found that 30% admit illegally using their mobile phone while driving, with 21% saying they've written or read text messages when behind the wheel. The company says some popular motor insurers won't provide insurance quotes for drivers who've received penalty points for using a mobile, which could mean a 54% increase for a 40-year-old male driver. [Source:]

Samsung to buy SanDisk?

Samsung is planning to buy memory manufacturer SanDisk, according to online rumours. [Source:]

More than 600 million 3G users worldwide

Market research company RNCOS has calculated that the total number of 3G users worldwide is now in excess of 600 million. That's based on people using WCDMA and CDMA2000 technology. [Press release]

Friday, 5 September 2008

Nokia says third quarter of 2008 will be worse than expected

Nokia has revised its forecast for mobile sales this year. It says its market share in the third quarter of 2008 is expected to be lower than in the second quarter of 2008, although it had previously expected sales for the two quarters to be similar. It still aims to increase its market share for 2008. It says there are a number of reasons for the drop, including:
  • Nokia's decision to not meet the aggressive pricing of some competitors,
  • overall market competition,
  • the temporary impact of a slower ramp-up of a mid-range Nokia device.

That last one's open to interpretation in a number of ways, isn't it? [Press release]

Mobile ads work better with incentives

Who'd have thought it, eh? Customers who receive ads on the mobile phones are more likely to respond if they're given an incentive. That's the finding of a new report from ABI Research, which reckons around 37% of those who have received text message advertising say they'd respond to the ad if offered an incentive such as a money-off coupon or free download, compared with 11% who wouldn't be swayed by an incentive. [Press release via]

Mobile manufacturers to launch mini-laptops

Marketing magazine says mobile phone manufacturers are expected to start producing mini-laptops for Christmas. LG has just launched the Netbook X110 mini-laptop, with Vodafone and 3 expected to launch their own mini-laptops soon. In fact, Vodafone has just announced an exclusive deal with Dell for the Inspiron Mini 9 'ultra-mobile' laptop. [Sources:; Vodafone press release]

Mobile phones could improve school standards

Letting children use their mobile phones in the classroom could improve school standards, according to research from the University of Nottingham. Researchers watched 14 to 16-year-olds in five schools where teachers were encouraged to allow pupils to use mobiles for homework projects. After the 9-month experiment, most pupils said they felt more motivated. [Press release]

Thursday, 4 September 2008

US mobile web usage up almost 30% this year

Mobile solutions company Crisp Wireless has calculated that US mobile web usage is up 29.4% from Q1 (Jan-March) to Q2 (April-June) 2008. 9.45% of overall traffic is coming from search engines, with 82% of mobile search coming via Google. “Movies/Movie Listings” are the most popular search term, followed by searches for US presidential candidate Barack Obama. [Press release]

US exceeds Europe for 3G penetration

Echoing recent figures about mobile web usage, research company comScore says the US now has a higher percentage of 3G users than Europe. 28.4% of all US mobile customers have 3G phones, compared with 28.3% of European mobile customers. Italy and Spain exceed penetration in the USA, but they're the only European countries that do. The actual figures are 64.2 million US 3G users and 63.4 million Europeans. These figures differ somewhat from Informa Telecoms & Media, which recently calculated that there were over 100 million 3G users in Europe. [Press release]

25 million Haptic-equipped mobiles worldwide

Haptic technology, which offers a gentle vibration to coincide with activities on a mobile phone, is now on more than 25 million mobile phones worldwide. The figures come from Immersion Corporation, which creates touch feedback systems for phones. Its technology is used by LG, Samsung and other manfuacturers. [Press release]

140 million mobile social networking users by 2013

ABI Research says more than 140 million subscribers will be using social networks on mobile devices by 2013, generating subscription revenues worth over $410 million. Apparently subscriber numbers are expected to start accelerating in three or four years' time due to the potential populariy of social networking in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. [Press release]

EU roaming texts to cost 10p?

EC telecommunications commissioner Viviane Reding 's draft plans for capping the cost of text messages when 'roaming' are proposing an 11 Euro cent (10.5p inc VAT) limit, according to reports. Her plans also mandate per-second billing for all calls of 30 seconds or longer - and, in addition, she wants to extend the cap on roaming call costs until 2013. The proposal will receive its first formal response when EC telecommunications ministers meet on 27th November. [Source:]

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

More iPhone legal action

Someone else is taking legal action against the 3G Apple iPhone in the USA. This case, which focusses on 3G capability, is against AT&T and Apple. [Source:]

Consumers waiting longer before upgrading

Mobile phone manufacturer Qualcomm says customers are now waiting longer before replacing their handsets. CEO Paul Jacobs said that consumers in Japan and South Korea were holding on to their phones for up to two years. [Source:]

Prepay services are key to mobile broadband growth

Telecoms consultancy Ovum says mobile operators should use prepaid offerings to make the most of mobile broadband in Q4 2008 instead of expecting mobile broadband to replace fixed-line services. Its new report says fixed broadband penetration across Western Europe is too high for mobile broadband to compete on speed or capacity. The company adds that the number of customers willing to commit to a lengthy contract for mobile broadband will shrink. [Sources:;]

Mobile transactions worth $600bn worldwide by 2013

You wait ages for a story involving NFC, then three of them come along within a couple of days. Juniper Research says mobile money transfers and purchases of digital and physical goods will generate transactions worth over $600bn by 2013; that's an increase of almost ten times today's levels. Although today's mobile market is dominated by digital goods purchases such as ringtones, music, games and infotainment, the company's report says there are three high potential markets that offer major new opportunities for the future: contactless NFC, mobile money transfer and physical goods purchases via mobile devices. Juniper Research has published reports on mobile transactions and mobile shopping earlier this year. [Source:]

New Mobile News podcast now online

In this week’s Mobile News podcast, host Iain Graham is joined by the usual team of Mark Bridge and James Rosewell for a look at the latest industry news. Our main feature sees Iain talking to James Tagg, CEO of Truphone, about the company’s plans for the future... including a new BlackBerry-compatible version of Truphone that's just weeks away, plus the company's forthcoming converged GSM/WiFi product. As well as all this, there’s also time for a quick preview of the new Nokia N79. You can download or listen at and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Roaming charges change your personality!

The cost of using a mobile phone abroad causes many of us to suppress our usual personalities, making us anxious and irritable. That's what SIM4Travel tells us - and they should know, because they've had research conducted by BMRB and they've spoken to psychologist Donna Dawson (who, incidentally, has also commented recently on living abroad, smiling and shopping with children. But I digress). Apparently we should be watching out for mood swings, sulks, snappiness and tension while abroad. It's not a topic we'll be bringing up with James Tagg in tomorrow's podcast interview. [Press release]

Microsoft plans online mobile application store

First came the iPhone App Store - then it was Google's Android Market. Now Microsoft is apparently planning to sell Windows Mobile programs in an online store called Skymarket. [Source:]

Google Android prizewinners named

Goiogle's first Android Developer Challenge has been completed, with 10 teams each receiving a $275,000 award and a further 10 teams each receiving a $100,000 award. [Android blog]

Symbian reports a slowdown

Mobile phone operating company Symbian says its growth has been affected by a reduction in smartphone demand. Second-quarter shipments were up by only 5%, compared with a 17% increase in the previous quarter and more than 50% annual growth in 2007. Quarterly turnover fell 14%. 19.6 million handsets with the Symbian OS were shipped worldwide in Q2 2008, bringing the theoretical total number of Symbian handsets to 225.9 million. The company is currently in the process of being taken over by Nokia. [Sources: Press release;]

Japanese government promotes mobile payments

It's quite a day for mobile payment stories. Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications says it's planning to work with the country's mobile phone operators to promote the use of mobile wallet services worldwide. It's backing contactless technology based on Sony's FeliCa chips, which has been used by NTT DoCoMo for three years. [Source:]

78% of us want to pay by phone

The O2 Wallet trial, which we mentioned in our podcast on 6th December, has revealed that nine out of ten trialists were happy using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology on a mobile phone - and 78% would be interested in using contactless services if they were available. Interest in combining the London Transport Oyster card with a mobile phone was particularly high, with 89% of trialists saying they were interested. The trial, which ran for 6 months with 500 London triallists, combined a Nokia 6131 mobile phone with Oyster and credit cards. [Press release]

Nokia unlimited music deal to launch in UK

Nokia's 'Comes With Music' unlimited music download service is being launched in the UK through The Carphone Warehouse. Customers who choose the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic 'Comes With Music' edition will receive a year of unlimited access to any tracks from the Nokia Music Store, with the ability to keep all downloaded tracks even when their subscription ends. More information will be available next month. [Press release]

Monday, 1 September 2008

Prepay 3G iPhone launch confirmed

O2 has announced that the 3G iPhone will be available on a prepay tariff from 16th September. The 8GB model will be £349.99 and the 16GB will be £399.99. It’ll be available from O2 stores, The Carphone Warehouse and Apple stores. The price includes unlimited web browsing and WiFi for the first 12 months, with additional use charged at £10 per month. [Source: Mobile News]

Vodafone hits back at European Commission

A report in the Financial Times says Vodafone is hitting back at the European Commission’s plans for telecoms reform. In June, telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding criticised the level of termination charges and suggested that the American system of low termination rates and paying to receive calls might be more appropriate. Vodafone says termination charges need to be cut… but if they're cut as low as the EC suggests, 40 million people could end up dumping their mobiles because of increased charges elsewhere.