Friday, 31 October 2008

Mobile phone market shows effects of global financial crisis

Research company IDC says the global financial crisis is being felt by the mobile phone industry, with sales down significantly in the third quarter of 2008. Their figures show that manufacturers shipped 299 million handsets in Q3 2008, up 3.2% from last year but down 0.4% from the previous quarter. Historically, the third quarter has seen an increase as manufacturers prepare for Christmas. Average selling prices for mobiles have also begun to drop. Nokia leads the list of mobile manufacturers with a 39.4% market share, Samsung is second with 17.3%, Sony Ericsson has moved up to third place with 8.6%, Motorola is fourth with 8.5% and LG is fifth with 7.7%. Strategy Analytics has calculated similar figures; they say 303 million cellphones were shipped worldwide in Q3 2008, up 5% year-on-year, which is the industry’s weakest growth rate since 2002. [IDC press release; Strategy Analytics report]

10% of mobile broadband customers say they were mis-sold

In the week that Vodafone was criticised by the ASA for its "light years ahead" mobile broadband advertisement and 3 admitted problems with its mobile broadband service, O2 has published research that says over one in ten mobile broadband users feel that they were mis-sold. The main source of irritation is the cost of the service, with nearly a third complaining that the ongoing cost was higher than expected. One-fifth were upset that they were unable to use mobile broadband where they wanted it despite being told that there would be coverage - and 13 per cent were frustrated there was no returns guarantee if the service wasn’t right for them. Needless to say there's a sales message in here. O2 has revamped its mobile broadband offering by cutting costs, creating a new coverage checker and offering a 50-day Happiness Guarantee. [Press release]

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Motorola ditching Symbian and Linux OS phones

Motorola is going to concentrate on selling phones that use Google's Android operating system, Microsoft Windows Mobile and its own system in a bit to cut costs. Company co-CEO Sanjay Jha said Motorola would be dropping support for Symbian UIQ and the Java-Linux platform. It's also no longer planning to sell its mobile handset business in Q3 2009 but says it'll take longer. As part of the company's reorganisation, two thousand jobs are being cut from its mobile business, with three thousand - 4.5% of its global workforce - going overall. [Sources: WashingtonPost.com; Press release]

154 million mobile customers worldwide have ported their numbers

The Telecommunications Management Group, a US-based telecomms consultancy, says 154 million mobile phone customers in 48 countries worldwide have kept their mobile telephone number when changing networks. Their new report about mobile number portability (MNP) points out that China and India have yet to introduce MNP - and says that statistically every mobile phone customer in Hong Kong has ported their mobile number at least once. [Press release via PRNewsWire]

UK now sending 6.5 billion texts per month

The Mobile Data Association has released its latest quarterly figures for UK mobile phones. In the third quarter of 2008 (July - September) it says usage for text and picture messages has continued increasing. Texting is up 38% year-on-year from Q3 2007, while MMS usage is up 20%. We're now sending an average 6.5 billion text messages sent per month - that's almost 217 million per day - and we're also sending an average of 1,495,525 multimedia messages every day. [Press release]

Vodafone does Russian branding deal

Vodafone has agreed a partnership with Russia's Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) network that'll see Vodafone's products and services offered to MTS's 87 million subscribers across Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. [Press release]

Bang & Olufsen drops mobile phones

Danish hi-fi manufacturer Bang & Olufsen says it's going to focus on developing and manufacturing audio and video products - which means it'll stop developing mobile phones, co-branded products an stand-alone audiovisual devices. It's previously produced the Serene and Serenata phones in partnersip with Samsung. As a result of the reorganisation, 165 staff are being made redundant. [Press release 1; Press release 2]

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Over half of mobile consumers are influenced by handset choices

A study by Google in the USA tells us what we already knew - consumers choose their mobile phone deals according to handset brands and features as well as networks. In Google's survey, more than half of all shoppers said handsets played a major role in their purchase decisions. 24% said their decision was just about the phone, while 28% said handset and network both influenced their choice. The remainder - 48% - said they only chose depending on the network. [Source: RCRWireless.com]

Money transfer and NFC will account for half of all mobile payments by 2013

A new report from Juniper Research says mobile money transfer and contactless Near Field Communications will account for 50% of the overall mobile payment market globally by 2013. It expects the mobile payments market to move from today's focus on digital goods (such as ringtones, music, and games) to customers transferring money and using NFC features to make purchases. In addition, the overall mobile payments market is expected to grow by a factor of ten between now and 2013. This week's Mobile News podcast includes an interview with Tom Whitaker of Masabi about the ways that m-payments and m-ticketing will change the way we use our mobiles. [Press release]

This week's Mobile News podcast now online

This week's Mobile News podcast is now available to download. In our main feature, Iain Graham talks to Ben Whitaker from Masabi about mobile payments and mobile tickets. Mark Bridge and James Rosewell join Iain to discuss the latest mobile industry headlines - plus there's a preview of the Motorola Aura. As usual, you can download or listen free at TheFonecast.com and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Credit crunch causes mobile users to change upgrade plans

Mobile application developer GetJar has just published the results of its first Mobile Attitudes poll, which shows that mobile phone users around the world are delaying plans to upgrade or buy new handsets because of the global economic crisis. 78% of users worldwide are delaying plans to upgrade or buy a new mobile phone, and 76% are cutting the amount they spend on mobile usage. When asked whether they’d reduced spending on mobile phones in the previous 12 months, more than half hadn’t reduced their spending at all or had cut it by less than 10%. [MobileAttitudes.org]

Essex train company to block mobile signals

Rail operator c2c, which runs trains between Essex and London, says it will cover windows in its 'quiet' carriages with a special coating that'll block mobile phone signals. This will help to enforce the company's existing policy of banning mobile phones, personal stereos and other electronic gadgets in one carriage of each train. The window film will allow light through but blocks mobile phone signals, along with wifi and other radio waves. [Source: thisislondon.co.uk]

Monday, 27 October 2008

Android G1 security flaw spotted

Security researchers say they've found a flaw in the Android-powered T-Mobile G1 smart phone. Charlie Miller of Independent Security Evaluators says he's notified Google about the flaw; Google has responded by saying it's aware of the problem and is working with T-Mobile and HTC to distribute its solution to the problem. Apparently the flaw centres on the phone's web browser, which could allow a rogue website to capture information entered on the keyboard when visiting other sites. [Sources: Press release; NYTimes.com]

Regulation plus credit crunch risks damaging telecoms industry says trade body

ETNO, the European Telecommunications Networks Operators' association (which represents Europe's telecoms and electronic communications operators) says the current economic situation means regulation should be gentler - otherwise investment in new technology might not happen. In particular, it said a priority for the next few years should be investment in fixed and mobile broadband networks. [ETNO CEO summit; ETNO General Assembly]

What Mobile awards

This year's What Mobile awards took place last week. The awards, which are nominated by consumers, are now in their fourth year. The Apple iPhone 3G won "Mobile Phone of the Year"; the other phone-related results are below:
  • Best Mobile Camera: Samsung i8510
  • Best Mobile Game : Metal Gear Acid
  • Best Mobile Game Developer: EA Mobile
  • Best Online Retailer: T-Mobile.co.uk
  • Best High Street Retailer: The Carphone Warehouse
  • Best Mobile Service: Nokia Maps 2.0
  • Best Mobile Accessory: Sennheiser MM50 iP
  • Best Mobile Broadband: 3
  • Best Music Phone: Sony Ericsson W890i
  • Best Fashion Phone: LG Secret
  • Best Smartphone: BlackBery Bold
  • Best Manufacturer: Sony Ericsson
  • Best Network: Vodafone

[Source: Mobile News]

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Messaging pressure creates mobile email addiction

The pressure for employees to be online 24 hours a day is driving them to risky behaviors and also underscores the importance of email reliability and availability for businesses, according to a new study commissioned by software company Neverfail. Its report says worry over being available during non-work hours has led employees to email addiction. 94% of respondents said they used their phones to send email or text messages during work nights or at weekends, and nearly 80% took their phones on holiday. [Press release]

AT&T profit hit by iPhone subsidy

AT&T's subsidy of the Apple iPhone combined with the phone's success has led to AT&T's profits dropping, according to its Q3 figures. AT&T paid $900 million to Apple for iPhone subsidies during the quarter. [Sources: Wired.com; CNN.com; ATT.com]

Customers prefer mobiles to PCs

A survey from IBM says over 50% of consumers would substitute their internet usage on a PC for a mobile device and 71% expect to increase their usage of communication services from their mobile device. [Press release]

Vodafone and Visa reveal ad trial results

Vodafone and Visa Europe have revealed the results of a recent mobile advertising trial. The trial involved sending 150,000 text messages to Vodafone subscribers in eight countries during May. Customers were reminded to use the +44 UK country code when calling home and were offered a promotion to win tickets to the Beijing Olympics if they used their Visa credit card abroad. 86% of customers remembered the promotion and 74% read the message. Vodafone says the trial was a success, although only half of those receiving ads said they were interested in receiving further relevant and targeted messages. [Source: Mobile News]

Samsung drops SanDisk bid

Samsung says it's no longer interested in buying memory card manufacturer SanDisk following SanDisk's recent financial results and its new agreement with Toshiba. SanDisk had already rejected Samsung's offer. [Source: vnunet.com]

Thursday, 23 October 2008

T-Mobile drops over 500 independent dealers

T-Mobile has terminated 537 retailers - two-thirds of its independent dealer base - as part of the network's channel review. Having recently dropped distributor Fone Logistics, it says it also removed 34 direct Premier Partners, three direct Business Partners and more than 500 indirect dealers last Friday. T-Mobile currently connects via six distributors (Avenir, Data Select, Dextra, Elite, Hugh Symons and Redstone), 30 direct Premier Partners, 15 direct Business Partners and 200 stockists. [Source: Mobile News]

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

New Mobile News podcast now online

Iain Graham, Mark Bridge and James Rosewell take their usual off-beat look at the latest industry headlines in this week's edition of the Mobile News podcast. John Ryan offers retail merchandising advice - and there's a preview (or should that be a forecast?) of the forthcoming BlackBerry Storm. As usual, you can download or listen free at TheFonecast.com and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Over 400 million mobile ticketing users worldwide in 5 years

Juniper Research says there'll be over 400 million people wordwide using their mobile phones for tickets by 2013, although the technology isn't being introduced as quickly as expected. The company's study blames barcode reading issues, lack of reader infrastructure and availability of Near Field Communications handsets for the delays. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the leading sector is expected to be transport, followed by entertainment and sporting events. [Press release]

Monday, 20 October 2008

Technology is keeping families in touch

A US survey - the Pew Internet report - says online and mobile technology isn't damaging family togetherness but is helping people stay in touch. Perhaps not many surprises, although the detail is interesting. [Report]

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Prepay phones to lose anonymity

New legislation will require prepay phone owners in the UK to confirm their name and address when they buy a handset, according to a report in the Sunday Times. The Communications Data Bill, which will enable the government to track electronic communications in the UK, is expected to be announced next year. [Source: TimesOnline.co.uk]

Update: The Home Office and Vodafone have both denied the story, according to ZDNet.co.uk, which suggests it may have been a government 'leak' to gauge public reaction.

Friday, 17 October 2008

T-Mobile G1 to arrive in UK on 30th October

T-Mobile has said its exclusive Android-powered G1 smartphone will be available in the UK from Thursday 30th October, slightly earlier than previously suggested. 25,000 UK consumers have already pre-registered their interest in the device. [Press release]

Poppy campaign promotes text code

This year's Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal is publishing a text shortcode on its posters for the first time. People are being invited to support the appeal by texting POPPY to 80848. (The text costs £1.50; 90p goes to the British Legion). The text service itself isn't new; it's something we mentioned on podcast no.14 two years ago. [PDF press release]

Skin disorder caused by mobile phones

The British Association of Dermatologists is warning doctors to watch out for a new allergic skin disorder caused by mobile phones. It's been called 'mobile phone dermatitis' and happens when Nickel-allergic people hold a mobile phone containing nickel to their face or ear for long periods of time. Nickel is the most common 'contact' allergy in the UK and is found in the 'metallic' casing or buttons of some mobile phones. [Press release]

Marketing man leaves T-Mobile

T-Mobile marketing director Phil Chapman is leaving the company next month. His job is losing its European focus to concentrate solely on the UK. Phil joined T-Mobile in January 2005 after a 23-year period working for Unilever. [Source: Mobile News]

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Nokia's quarterly figures are down

Nokia has reported its figures for Q3 2008. Revenue from sales is down 5% year-on-year and down 7% from the previous quarter. Profits are down rather more; it also says its share of the mobile market has slipped from 40% in Q2 2008 to 38%, as it had warned in September. However, it expects its mobile device market share in the fourth quarter of 2008 to be no worse. [Sources: Press release; Mobile News]

Almost a quarter of broadband homes to be mobile-only by 2013

Almost a quarter of broadband-equipped homes will be mobile-only by 2013, according to a report from telecoms advisors Analysys Mason. They say that by 2013, 47% of European broadband subscriptions will use mobile networks and nearly a quarter of broadband-equipped sites will only use mobile technology. [Press release]

Nokia N95 is UK's favourite mobile browser

The latest AdMob Mobile Metrics report, which analyses the company's mobile advertising, says the Nokia N95 is the UK's leading handset for web browsing. 9.7% of all the company's UK advertisements were displayed on an N95 in September. Last year's leader, the Sony Ericsson K800i, has slipped to second place. Worldwide, the Motorola RAZR V3 is top (with 4% of traffic), followed by the Nokia N70, the Motorola KRZR K1c, the Apple iPhone and the Motorola W385. [September 2008 pdf report]

Mobile gaming in the USA is a billion dollar industry

Mobile gaming in the USA is now a billion dollar industry - and the global mobile gaming market will be worth $6.8 billion by 2013, according to a new report from In-Stat. This suggests a slight slow-down sine a report from Understanding & Solutions a year ago, which said revenue from mobile games would rise to $6 billion by 2011. The In-Stat report also says 29.5% of respondents played games on their handsets, with over 80% of players only buying from their network. [Press release]

Ofcom chairman gives final lecture

Ofcom chairman David Currie has given the organisation's 2008 lecture; his last before he leaves the organisation. He contrasted the current state of the market with Ofcom's first report from early 2004, when mobiles accounted for almost a quarter of voice calls and each person sent an average of one text message a day. Today, mobile calls account for 40% of voice minutes and text messaging has grown by 27% per year. [Ofcom Annual Lecture 2008]

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Hutchison Whampoa to create own phones for 3

Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa has announced the creation of a new division - INQ Mobile - that'll make phones for the company's 3G networks... and also for other operators The first device, currently known as the INQ1, will have prominent social networking features and will go on sale in the UK and Australia later this year. [Sources: WirelessWeek.com; Guardian.co.uk]

North Americans still prefer voice calls for social contacts

Software company AppTrigger has conducted a survey that shows North American mobile users prefer voice calls for social contacts - although they also want advanced applications. The survey of (just) 250 users said 74% wanted additional services but preferred voice as the main communication channel. In addition, 50% use voicemail at least once a day and 23% now use mobile email. [Press release].

Microsoft considering BlackBerry purchase?

Falling share prices are apparently raising the possibility of Microsoft taking over RIM, the maker of BlackBerry devices, according to Unstrung.com.

Mobile News podcast now online

This week's edition of the Mobile News podcast includes a wide-ranging interview with Graeme Oxby, Managing Director of Virgin Mobile in the UK. There's also time for a quick preview of the new Prada phone from LG and our usual look at the latest industry news headlines. As always, you can download or listen free at TheFonecast.com and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

The Mobile News podcast is produced and presented by Iain Graham, Mark Bridge and James Rosewell from TheFonecast.com

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

US mobile consumers aren't using 'high-end' features

Consultancy firm Accenture says US consumers aren't using 'higher-end' applications on their mobile phones. The organisation's recent research shows 88% of users never use mobile devices to watch videos, 84% don't use mobiles to send email and 79% never play games on their mobiles. [Press release]

New mobile service automatically diverts mobiles when driving

Canada's Aegis Mobility has announced that it's entered into a partnership with the USA's Nationwide Insurance, offering drivers a discount if they use the Aegis Mobility's DriveAssist technology. DriveAssist - which is expected to be implemented from next year - uses software on the phone to detect when a phone is in a car that's being driven. It then diverts calls and text messages, while offering an override facility for passengers and emergency calls. [Press release]

Monday, 13 October 2008

1.5 million T-Mobile G1 phones already ordered

The T-Mobile G1, the HTC smartphone that runs Google's Android operating system, has apparently been pre-ordered by 1.5 million people in the USA, with about two million more phones ready for sale in high-street shops. [Sources: Pulse2.com and Fool.com]

Kenyan elephants send text messages before rampaging

Here's a prime contender for this week's "And finally..." story on the Mobile News podcast, I reckon. An elephant conservancy group in Kenya is fitting troublesome elephants with mobile-equipped collars that send rangers a text message if the elephant heads towards crops. It means the rangers can divert the elephant, protecting farmers' livelihoods without causing the elephant any harm. [Source: Ol Pejeta conservancy]

Prepay sales outselling 'post pay' 2 to 1 worldwide

Sales of 'pay monthly' contracts may be increasing in the UK, but things are different in the rest of the world. Informa Telecoms & Media says prepaid mobile services are outperforming the traditional 'contract' market at a rate of two to one. They say there were 2.33 billion prepaid subscriptions in the world at the end of 2007, generating $241.9 billion in revenue. Annual growth in prepay sales will drop to around 9% from 2007 to 2013, but will still account for over 80% of new connections. In addition, almost 29% of mobile connections in 2008 aren't expected to be the customer's main number but will be an additional handset. [Source: Telecoms.com]

70 million people will be using mobiles for navigation by 2014

By 2014, 70 million people will be navigating by using their mobile phones. That's the conclusion of a new research report from Berg Insight. They say the number of mobile customers downloading routes using their handsets is expected to grow by 27.9% per year from 16 million users in 2008 to 70 million users in 2014. Revenue from subscriptions and advertisements is expected to grow by 22.4% per year during the same period, hitting €597 million in 2014. [Press release]

25 years of commercial mobile phone use in the USA

Today, 13th October, is the 25th anniversary of the first commercial mobile phone call in the USA. (Well, on a cellular network, anyway). Back in 1983, the president of Ameritech Mobile Communications called the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell in Germany using a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. Incidentally, the first-ever public mobile phone call was made in April 1973... and the UK's first commercial call was in January 1985. [CTIA press release]

Friday, 10 October 2008

Crimestoppers anonymous text trial expands to cover London

The text message trial that encouraged the anonymous reporting of knife crime has been expanded to cover all schools in London. Crimestoppers points out that 21 young people have already died from knife-related incidents in London this year. [Press release]

Geraldine Wilson joins Truphone as CEO

Geraldine WilsonMobile VoIP network operator Truphone has appointed Geraldine Wilson as CEO, while current CEO and company co-founder James Tagg is moving to the role of Chief Architect. Ms Wilson has spent the last two years at Yahoo! Mobile, having previously been MD of Vizzavi UK and Sales Director at Vodafone UK. We spoke to James Tagg last month - the podcast is online at TheFonecast.com. [Press release]

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Budgets for mobile marketing to grow 150% in 5 years

A report from O2 says the amount of money spent on mobile marketing is expected to increase by over 150% by 2013. 85% of respondents said that mobile marketing generated a higher response than traditional methods. [Source: NMA.co.uk]

40% of adults say text messages help with dating

A survey of customers in the US has revealed that 40% of adults aged 18 to 55 who are dating or in a relationship say text messaging plays a significant role. 68% of customers send love notes by text, 67% flirt by text and 28% send or receive at least three messages a day with their partner. The most common message from a date or partner is "Thinking of you". [AT&T press release]

Vodafone set to control South African mobile company

Vodafone has confirmed that it's planning to buy a 15% stake in South Africa's Vodacom from Telkom SA Limited. This would give it 65% of Vodacom, which currently operates in South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania. It's a deal that's been rumoured for quite a while. [Press release]

Mobile tracking technology helps researchers

UK technology company Path Intelligence has proved that its anonymous mobile phone tracking technology can be used for practical purposes. The company's first project has tracked shoppers in a shopping centre, showing that spend increases in line with the amount of time spent in a shop. [Sources: BBC News; TechCrunch]

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

New 'Mobile News' podcast now available

In this week's edition of the Mobile News podcast we're talking to Milind Kangle, CEO of Lycatel - the company behind new UK virtual network Lycamobile. There's also a quick preview of the forthcoming T-Mobile G1 and our usual look at the latest industry news headlines. As always, you can download or listen free at TheFonecast.com and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

The Mobile News podcast is produced by Iain Graham, Mark Bridge and James Rosewell from TheFonecast.com

Ba-ding-ding-ding

News Corporation has bought VeriSign’s minority share of the Jamba mobile entertainment company, giving it total control of the former joint venture. Jamba is best known to many for its marketing of the 'Crazy Frog' ringtone. [Press release]

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Only 14% of mobile TV owners will pay

A new study from Juniper Research says less than 14% of people with mobiles capable of receiving broadcast TV will pay for premium services. They've forecast that more than 330 million mobile customers worldwide will own TV-enabled handsets by 2013, with the US having the most users, but say most people will use them for free-to-air broadcasts. Revenue from users in 2013 is expected to be $2.7 billion, much lower than previous forecasts. [Press release]

Making Sense of Radiation

The London-based Sense About Science charity has published a guide called 'Making Sense of Radiation', which offers guidance for people concerned about radiation from mobiles, WiFi and radio masts. It's particularly critical of speculative stories and unnecessary 'protective' products. [Sources: Guardian.co.uk; Sense About Science statement; PDF report]

Apple iPhone takes 17% of the US smartphone market

Researchers at the NPD Group have calculated that the Apple's iPhone devices now account for 17% of the US smartphone market, up from 11% earlier this year. And apparently 30% of all 3G iPhone buyers in the US switched from another network, which is good news for AT&T, Apple's exclusive network partner in the 'States. Average industry churn in the USA is estimated to be 23%. [Source: cnet.com]

Monday, 6 October 2008

T-Mobile and 3 sign BT backhaul deal

T-Mobile and 3 have signed a deal with BT Wholesale to link their base stations to the UK telecommunications networks, freeing them from managing the connections themselves. The deal - technically with the joint-venture partnership between T-Mobile and 3's network operations -lasts for 5 years and echoes similar deals with Vodafone and O2 earlier this year. [Source: FT.com]

T-Mobile lost information about 17 million German customers in 2006

Rather belatedly, Deutsche Telekom has admitted that its T-Mobile subsidiary in Germany had confidential data about 17 million customers stolen in 2006. The missing information included telephone numbers, dates of birth, postal addresses and email addresses. The company says it's now reinforced security procedures and has no evidence that the missing data has been misused. [Sources: Yahoo.com; DW-World.de]

Sunday, 5 October 2008

20% of second-hand mobiles contain sensitive data

New research from BT, the University of Glamorgan and Edith Cowan University in Australia has revealed that a significant number of second-hand portable communication devices still contain sensitive company and personal information. The survey of over 160 used devices found a range of information including salary details, financial company data, bank account details, business plans, meeting details and personal medical information. BlackBerry devices were found to contain the greatest amount of unprotected data; 43% contained information that could identify organisations or individuals. [Press release]

Mobile phone fraudster jailed for 12 years

35-year-old Craig Johnson from Staffordshire has been jailed for over 12 years for laundering more than £6 million through so-called 'carousel fraud' that involved the import and export of mobile phones. He's one of 21 people jailed following a £138 million VAT fraud investigation by HM Revenue and Customs. Craig Johnson bought a stately home with his gains, along with a yacht, two helicopters and luxury cars. [Sources: BBC News; Mobile News]

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Mobile phone sniffer dogs for US prisons

The state of Florida now has a 'sniffer dog' to prevent mobile phones from being smuggled into prisons. Its Department of Corrections has a 14-month-old Malinois (think 'Alsatian', but a little bit bigger) called Razor that'll be starting work next month. Her job is reinfored by a new law that carries a potential five-year prison term for anyone trying to smuggle in a mobile. [Source: Cellular-News.com]

New HP iPaq phone due by Christmas?

Another week, another new handset rumour. This time it's HP, alias Hewlett Packard, which is said to have a European smartphone planned for release by the end of the year. [Source: WSJ.com]

Friday, 3 October 2008

Shouting is most annoying trait of mobile users

Speaking too loudly on mobile phones is the most irritating thing about people using mobiles in public, according to a survey from easyMobile.com. Other annoying traits included ringtones (presumably melodic) and taking calls while at the dinner table. Nearly two thirds of people said they ignored calls from some people when they saw who was calling, with more than 80% lying about it afterwards. [Press release]

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Nokia Comes With Music to launch on 16th October

The Carphone Warehouse has announced that it'll be offering Nokia's Comes With Music service from 16th October. The service will initially be available with a version of the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic phone for £129.95. This includes a year of unlimited music downloads from Nokia's online music store, which will offer tracks from all four of the biggest music labels: EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner. Nokia also announced its first-ever touch-screen phone, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, an a new version of the S60 operating system to support it. [Comes With Music press release; S60 press release, 5800 press release]

New quarterly industry figures from Ofcom

Another quarter, another batch of UK statistics from regulator Ofcom. Apparently revenue across Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile fell by 1.6% in Q1 2008, with call volumes dropping slightly (0.23%) and messaging volumes increasing by 8%. Customers with 'pay monthly' constracts increased by 1.9% - a trend that's happened since the beginning of 2006. 'Contract' customers now account for 36% of all mobile subscribers, compared to 32% in Q1 2006. [Press release]

Vodafone marketing man moves to LG

Dominic Chambers, who left his role as Vodafone's head of brand and marketing earlier this year, has been appointed by LG as its European Marketing Director. [Source: BrandRepublic.com]

Rail crash engineer was texting on duty

The USA's National Transportation Safety Board has issued a new statement about the railway collision in September that killed 25 people and injured 130. As previously suggested, the engineer of the Metrolink train had been sending text messages while on duty (in contravention of his company's policy). The last text message received by the engineer's phone before the accident was at 4:21:03 pm according to the mobile phone company's records, and the last text message sent from the phone was 4:22:01 pm. The accident was estimated to happen at 4:22:23 pm. As a result of these findings, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has said it will issue an emergency order explicitly prohibiting the use of personal electronic devices by railroad employees while operating trains and in other settings. [NTSB press release; FRA press release]

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Messaging booming but SMS revenue to drop in Europe

Mobile messaging - text messages, MMS and instant messaging - is increasingly popular in Western Europe, although SMS revenue is dropping. New research from Frost & Sullivan says that texts generated €16.42 billion revenue in Western Europe in 2007, which is expected to drop by 2.9% per year until it reaches €14.59 billion in 2011. However, MMS and IM revenue is expected to grow in the same period. [Press release]

Most business users won't change mobiles to get email

65% of European business users with mobile phones wouldn't change their phones just to get email, according to new market research from Globo. [Source: Cellular-News.com]

Nokia to sell security business

Nokia says it's planning to sell its security equipment business and is also going to stop making its own enterprise software. [Press release]

Ofcom announces 116xxx number range

Not directly mobile-related but interesting nonetheless. Ofcom has announced a consultation about its plans to set aside six-digit numbers beginning 116 so that important services can use the same number range across the EU. For example, there'll be a 116000 hotline for missing children, 116111 for child helplines and 116123 for emotional support helplines. [Press release]

Nokia buys email and IM company

Nokia has said it's buying Canadian email and instant messaging company OZ Communications. [Press release]

Mobile News podcast now available online

This week's edition of the Mobile News podcast takes a closer look at O2's recent dramatic changes to its commission structure for dealers. Iain Graham learns more by talking to Chris Caudle of the IMPDA and Sohail Ratansi who runs London-based dealership Fones U Like. Plus, as usual, Iain's joined by Mark Bridge and James Rosewell for a discussion about the latest industry headlines. As always, you can download or listen free at TheFonecast.com and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Almost half of US mobile customers use their phones for entertainment

Mobile gaming company Artificial Life has released a survey that shows almost half of US mobile phone users - 46%, in fact - use their handsets for entertainment. When the company just looked at smartphone users, 87.5% accessed entertainment. The survey (of only 200 users, so admittedly it's not particularly accurate) also said that 33% favoured mobile entertainment over other features, including email, mapping and web browsing. [Press release]