Thursday, 29 January 2009

We've moved our blog!

We've moved our blog to our own site at You'll find all the latest mobile industry news there, along with a few new features as well. Plus, of course, there's our free weekly podcast produced for Mobile News.

The Fonecast

Barclays bank gives mobile security software to customers

Barclays is giving its online banking customers free software to protect against mobile and PC security threats. It says it's the first UK bank to offer mobile security software. Barclays mobile banking is available online at [Source: Mobile News]

Acer smartphone due next month

Computer manufacturer Acer is expected to launch a smartphone on 16th February at this year's Mobile World Congress, according to reports. [Sources:;]

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

190 million Fixed/Mobile Convergence users by 2013

There'll be over 190 million people using converged fixed/mobile services by 2013, according to Informa Telecoms and Media - and 46% of these will be using femtocells. [Source:]

Eight mobile technologies to watch

Research company Gartner has published a list of eight mobile technologies that it says will have an impact on mobile strategies and policies over the next couple of years:
  1. Bluetooth 3.0,
  2. User Interfaces,
  3. Location Sensing,
  4. 802.11n WiFi,
  5. Display Technologies,
  6. Mobile Web and Widgets,
  7. Mobile Broadband and
  8. Near Field Communication.

[Press release]

Vodafone buys Wayfinder

It's not just Nokia interested in maps. Vodafone has completed its takeover of Swedish navigation software company Wayfinder, which was first proposed in December. [Sources:; Vodafone press release - as before, not for Australia, Canada, Japan or South Africa!]

Nokia buys another map company

Nokia has agreed to buy bit-side GmbH, a Berlin-based services and software company with 39 employees. It says integrating the company in its Services unit will strengthen and accelerate its mobile development for Nokia Maps. Nokia acquired digital map company NAVTEQ last year. [Press release]

New Mobile News podcast now online

As usual, the Mobile News podcast team looks at the latest headlines from the industry. Iain, Mark and James talk about termination charges, premium SMS, manufacturers' quarterly results, crossing the road with a phone... and Barack's BlackBerry. You can download or listen free at and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Mobile News podcast RSSThe Mobile News podcast is presented and produced by Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge at

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Sumsing Turbo 3000

Okay, it's not new - but it is funny.

Competition searches for 'best text message'

Mobile application blog SMS is the new Black is running a competition to find the best text message sent or received in January 2009. It's an entertaining promotional exercise... and it'll be interesting to see the results. [Press release]

Research says crossing the road with a mobile is dangerous for children

Children who are talking on their mobile phone when crossing the road are at greater risk of being involved in an accident, according to research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. Pretty obvious when you think about it. Psychologists who used a virtual reality software program found that all of the children tested (aged 10-11) were more likely to exhibit risky behaviour when they crossed the street while talking on a mobile phone, even when the children were familiar with mobiles or were rated as highly attentive. Children using mobiles took an average 20% longer to cross the road, gave themselves 8% less time to cross safely in front of traffic and were 43% more likely to be hit by a vehicle or to have a close call. [Press release]

Electricity by SMS

Rwanda's national electricity company, Electrogaz, has been selling prepaid electricity scratch-cards since the beginning of last year. Customers buy a card, scratch off the serial number, send a text message and receive a unique code that lets them add the credit to their electricity meter. Apparently 30% of the country’s electricity consumers now purchase their electricity this way. [Source: Nathan Eagle via]

Monday, 26 January 2009

Mobile companies could keep 3G licences forever

The Sunday Times says mobile companies will be allowed to keep their 3G licences permanently if they commit to new broadband plans expected in the next few days from communications minister Lord Carter. He's expected to tell the UK telecomms industry that it needs to provide broadband service to every home in the country. The 3G licences cost a total of £22.5 billion in 2000 but are only valid for 20 years. [Source:]

New premium rate mobile rules for UK

Premium phone service regulator PhonepayPlus has set out new measures for the mobile premium content market. With immediate effect companies offering mobile subscription services charging over £4.50 a week or applying pay-per-page mobile internet charges must apply for permission from PhonepayPlus. In addition, customers must receive a free confirmation text message and must reply to that text before the service starts. [Press release]

BT considering mobile internet service?

The Guardian says BT is considering setting up a mobile phone or mobile data service in partnership with T-Mobile and 3. It currently offers some mobile services as an optional extension of its broadband package.

Google G2 to launch by summer?

A successor to the Android-powered T-Mobile G1 mobile phone will be launched in May, according to an assortment of online rumours. The G2, made by HTC and codenamed Sapphire 2.0, won't have a slide-out keyboard but will apparently have a 3.2 megapixel camera. [Sources:;]

Sunday, 25 January 2009

President Obama to keep BlackBerry

In November we reported that Barack Obama would give up his BlackBerry when he became president - but now it seems he'll be hanging on to it. His email address will remain confidential, his email addresses will apparently be designed not to be forwarded... and pretty much everything he says will be archived. [Sources:; Seattle Times]

Microsoft job cuts to hit mobile?

Microsoft has said it's cutting 5,000 jobs worldwide during the next 18 months, with 1,400 going immediately. It's now reported that the company's Entertainment and Devices unit will be the first to suffer. This is the part of Microsoft that's responsible for Xbox, Zune and Windows Mobile -and many of the immediate cuts are expected here. [Source:]

Samsung figures show increased sales

Samsung's quarterly results show an overall 22.2 billion Korean Won loss (around £12 million) loss, despite shipping 52.8 million handsets (up 14% year-on-year and up 2% from the previous quarter). The handset operating division did, however, make a profit. Rather like Nokia, it anticipates a 5%-10% drop in sales during 2009. [Sources: Press release (pdf);]

Vodafone's Indian tax battle continues

India's Supreme Court has said it's not appropriate for it to hear Vodafone's appeal against its £1 billion tax bill for buying Hutch Essar. Instead it says India's tax authorities should reconsider the case and - if they considers that they have jurisdiction - Vodafone can then approach the High Court again for action. [Source:]

Friday, 23 January 2009

UK mobile termination rates likely to fall

The Competition Commission has told O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone that their mobile termination rates should be cut to 4p per minute for April 2010, which is 1.1p per minute more than Ofcom's original proposal. The decision stems from Ofcom's change to mobile phone termination charges in 2007. The recommendations have been passed to the Competition Appeals Tribunal, which meets next month. [Competition Appeal Tribunal; Press release (pdf)]

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Opera ends 2008 with 17.8 million mobile users

Mobile browser company Opera has published a review of the mobile web for 2008. Its State of the Mobile Web report shows continuing growth, with 17.8 million people using Opera Mini at the end of the year. In the UK, the top 5 sites visited by Opera mobile users were,,, and The top UK social network was with 536% growth in 2008. MySpace, incidentally, showed a 15% drop. [Press release]

Nokia predicts 10% sales drop in 2009

It's the big one. Nokia has published its Q4 results, which saw sales down 19% year-on-year but up 3% on the previous quarter. It sold 113.1 million units, which was down 15% year-on-year and down 4% on Q3, giving it an estimated market share of 37% in Q4 2008 (down from 40% in Q4 2007 and down from 38% in Q3 2008). It says it expects sales in 2009 to be down around 10% from 2008, having previously estimated a 5% drop. [Press release]

GPS phone sales will grow in 2009

ABI Research says shipments of GPS-enabled mobile phones will continue to grow throughout the current economic downturn. Although global mobile shipments are expected to drop by up to 5% in 2009, 240 million GPS-equipped phones will be shipped; an increase of 6.4% over 2008. By 2014, the company reckons 9 of every 10 smartphones will contain GPS, compared with one in three last year. [Press release]

LG Mobile results are up

LG’s Mobile Communication Company results for the last three months of 2008 show sales of 4.49 trillion Korean Won (around £2.4 billion), which is up 34.6% year-on-year. Handset sales were up 40.3% year-on-year and 16.5% up on the previous quarter. In addition, handset shipments were up 8% year-on-year to 25.7 million, which meant over 100 million units were sold in 2008 compared with 80.5 million units in 2007. says this puts LG in third place worldwide, ahead of Motorola and Sony Ericsson (and behind Nokia and Samsung). [Press release]

Apple sold 4.4 million iPhones in Q4

Apple says it sold 4.4 million 3G iPhones in the final quarter of 2008, which is down from the 6.9 million sold in the previous quarter but almost twice as many iPhones as were sold in Q4 2007. Whichever way you look at it, that's a lot of phones. [Press release]

MSN adds mobile music downloads for UK

The MSN Mobile portal has launched a music download service that lets UK consumers choose from a million tracks and download them directly to their phone. Music tracks cost £1.50, ringtones are £3.00 and music videos are £2.00 each. Charges are added to the user’s monthly bill or taken from their prepay credit. [Source: Mobile News]

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

New 'Mobile News' podcast now online

The Mobile News podcast looks at crime this week, with contributions from Detective Inspector Stephen Leonard of the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit and MICAF's Jack Wraith. Plus, as usual, we talk about the week's news headlines. You can download or listen free at and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Mobile News podcast RSSThe Mobile News podcast is presented and produced by Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge at

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Three Microsoft mobile launches expected in Barcelona

Technology news website says Microsoft plans to announce three major new mobile products at next month's Mobile World Congress. It says we should expect Windows Mobile 6.5, a mobile application marketplace and an online sync & storage service.

Blyk changes its tariff structure

Ad-funded MVNO Blyk has said it's changing its tariff structure next month. Gone is the free bundle of 217 texts and 43 minutes per month; instead the company will be giving its customers £15 of credit every month to spend on calls at 24p a minute or texts at 8p each. It means that customers can now send picture messages and use data as part of their allowance. [Source:; there's also in-depth commentary at]

Monday, 19 January 2009

Hyundai Mobile launches in UK

Hyundai, best known for its motor manufacturing, has announced the UK launch of Hyundai Mobile and says it aims to achieve 3% - 5% market share within the next five years. The company is currently located at the Advantage Cellular distribution centre in Oxfordshire and has recruited former Advantage marketing manager Graham Jelfs as its head of marketing and communications. Hyundai's products are largely prepay phones, aimed at what it describes as a "broad, price-conscious target group”. [Source: Mobile News]

Mobile set-up too complicated for most users

A survey of mobile phone users in the UK and the USA says most people get annoyed when they set up a new handset. 85% of users said they were frustrated by the difficulty of getting a new phone working, with 61% saying it was as challenging as moving bank accounts. The survey, by mobile device management software company Mformation, also revealed that 95% of people said they would be more likely to use new features if the initial set-up was easier. Most people expected to take 15 minutes to set their phone up but found the actual time was around an hour. [Sources: BBC News;]

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Sony Ericsson publishes 2008 figures

­Sony Ericsson has reported a loss of €187 million in Q4 2008 and an overall loss of €73 million for the whole year, compared to a €1 billion profit in 2007. [Press release]

Samsung reorganises

Samsung Electronics has reorganised its four businesses into two operating divisions. Its telecom and media businesses are being combined into a single unit, as are its memory chip and display businesses. Choi Gee-sung, who currently heads the company's global telecommunications business, will oversee the new media and telecom division. [Sources:;]

Vodafone achieves 16Mbps mobile broadband speed

Vodafone has achieved download speeds of 16Mbps during mobile broadband trials in Spain. It's now aiming to achieve 21Mbps in the next few weeks, which would mean consumer speeds of around 13Mbps. The tests combined new HSPA+ and 64QAM technology along with MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) - multiple antennae on base stations and data devices. 64QAM and MIMO both require new HSPA+ mobile broadband devices, so these speeds won't be available on any current mobile equipment. [Press release]

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Google drops Dodgeball mobile application

Google says it's going to close Dodgeball, which lets users in the USA share their location with friends via text message. It bought the company in 2005. [Google blog]

Apple CEO takes a break for health

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking the next 5 months off work to focus on issues affecting his health. [Press release]

Motorola cuts 3,000 mobile jobs

Motorola says it'll cut 3,000 jobs from its Mobile Devices business in 2009 and around 1,000 more from corporate functions and other business units. These are in addition to job losses announced at the end of last year. It's all part of the company's cost-cutting drive and, together with all the other recent cuts, is estimated to reduce spending in the Mobile Devices business by approximately $1.2 billion this year. [Press release]

Mobile phone use isn't linked with eye cancer

The latest edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute says mobile phone use isn't associated with the risk of melanoma of the eye (uveal melanoma). Researchers in Germany looked at the association between phone use and risk of uveal melanoma, finding no statistically significant association between mobile phone use of up to about 10 years and uveal melanoma risk. [Source:]

T-Mobile UK MD quits

T-Mobile UK managing director Jim Hyde is leaving the company at the end of March for a new job with telecoms company nTelos in the USA. He joined the company three years ago from T-Mobile's American business and has been with the Deutsche Telekom group for a total of 12 years. [Sources: Mobile News; nTelos press release]

150 million bank customers will be mobile by 2011

Juniper Research says there'll be over 150 million people using mobile phones as an additional tool for banking transactions by 2011. It says this figure just refers to existing customers of conventional banks rather than 'transformational banking', which offers mobile banking to customers that aren't within reach of branch-based banking. Juniper Research has previously forecast over 800 million people worldwide to be using some form of mobile banking by 2011. [Press release]

Carphone announces figures and plans

The Carphone Warehouse has announced its quarterly trading update for October, November and December 2008, as well as revealing its plans for the next 15 months. UK like-for-like revenue (compared with the same period in 2007) was up 8.3%, with European like-for-like revenue up 6.5%. In the next 12 months it plans to open the first Best Buy 'big box' stores in the UK and will be conducting an efficiency review alongside its current structural review. [Press release]

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

New Mobile News podcast now online

This week's Mobile News podcast previews the MOTO W233 Renew, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. Plus, as usual, we'll be taking our regular look at the latest news headlines from the mobile industry. You can download or listen free at and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Mobile News podcast RSSThe Mobile News podcast is presented and produced by Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge at

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Vodafone takes new angle on mobile TV

Vodafone UK has launched a trial scheme with Babelgum Mobile that'll let customers watch video clips 'free' on compatible handsets: initially the Nokia N96, N95 and 6210. Babelgum is a web TV service that, unlike many other video sites, generates its own original programming as well as showing clips from other television channels. [Press release (pdf)]

Truphone to include Skype calls

Mobile VoIP company Truphone says it's launched Skype calling and IM on the newest version of its Apple iPhone and iPod Touch software, which means Truphone users can make and receive Skype calls from their chosen Apple device as well as using Truphone services. [Truphone blog; BB Comms blog]

New Year's Eve texting

O2 and Vodafone have both released their 'New Year' text figures for the UK - and they're pretty evenly matched. O2 says a record 166 million messages were sent over its network in the 24-hour period ending at 7.30 am on New Year’s Day 2009, while Vodafone says nearly 170 million text messages were sent over its network during a similar 24-hour period. Vodafone added that its customers also sent 1 million picture messages on Christmas Day. [Sources:;]

Monday, 12 January 2009

Vodafone returns to court in India

As expected, Vodafone has gone to India's Supreme Court in a bid to overturn last month's High Court decision upholding an income tax demand of over £1 billion. [Source:]

Saturday, 10 January 2009

5% of American mobile users watch video

Talking of mobile multimedia, a report from The Nielsen Company says 10.3 million Americans currently watch videos on their phone each month - that's 5% of all mobile customers (compared to 3% in the UK). The majority of users - 66% - say they watch their video through the web, rather than downloading clips to their phones. The Apple iPhone is the most popular phone for mobile video consumers, comedy is the most popular mobile video content and waiting for someone or something is the most popular occasion for video usage. [Report (pdf)]

35% of US households to get mobile TV this year

The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), which is an alliance of commercial and public broadcasters in the USA, says 63 TV stations will launch mobile digital television services in 2009, covering 35% of US households that watch TV. Services will use the ATSC Mobile DTV standard and can only be received on a compatible device. [Press release (Word document)]

Friday, 9 January 2009

Vodafone & 3 are favourite mobile portals

Research from Strategy Analytics says that consumers in the UK prefer the usability and design of Vodafone and 3's mobile internet portals in preference to those from O2, Orange, T-Mobile and even MSN. They've also recently published a report that says an increasing number of consumers are happy with navigation on their phones, with the usability of Vodafone's Telmap Navigator software winning over two dedicated navigation devices. [Portal press release; Navigation press release]

Skype for Google Android and Java handsets

VoIP service Skype has launched a beta version of its service that can be downloaded on Android-powered devices as well as more than 100 other Java-enabled mobile phones. [Press release]

New UK CEO for Blyk

Antti Ohrling has been appointed as as UK CEO of virtual network Blyk following Shaun Gregory's resignation for personal reasons. Mr Ohrling is one of Blyk's co-founders and is currently an executive director of the company. He's also the chairman and founder of Contra Group, an advertising agency. Last year Blyk announced that it had doubled its first-year target by attracting 200,000 members to its network. [Source: Press release]

Palm unveils new phone and OS

Palm has revealed its new 'Pre' smartphone and a new 'webOS' operating system. The operating system claims to integrate information from multiple calendars, contacts and messaging applications - recognising people who are listed in multiple accounts - while the Pre has a touch-controlled screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It's due for a USA release in the first half of 2009, although there's no mention of a UK date. [Press release]

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Finland tells parents to monitor childrens' mobile use

Rather like the findings of the UK's Stewart Report, ­Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) says there's no evidence that mobile phones are dangerous to health but tells parents to restrict children's mobile phone use until all the effects are known. It suggests sending text messages instead of making voice calls and says children should be taught to use hands-free devices. [Sources:; (Finnish)]

3G, smartphones and dongles will help sales in 2009

Although the mobile phone industry saw just 7% annual growth in 2008 - and a 5% year-on-year drop in device shipments is expected to be shown in the final quarter - ABI Research says there are still a few rays of sunshine (their words, not mine) for 2009. Sales of 3G devices worldwide are expected to exceed 50% of all mobile phones in 2009, with smartphone sales also expected to grow along with USB modems. [Press release]

International CES opens today

The annual International CES consumer electronics show opens today in Las Vegas, with some commentators suggesting it'll be much more subdued than previously. [Sources:;]

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Apple lets iPhone users download via mobile network

Apple 3G iPhone users, who've previously only been able to download music from iTunes via WiFi or by using their computer, can now also download by connecting to their chosen mobile network. [Source: Hot News]

Half of US mobile users ignore multimedia features

A new report by The NPD Group says 45% of American mobile phone users don't use the multimedia features on their handsets. In fact, only 20% use their mobiles as an all-in-one device for music, videos, web surfing and other activities. 21% were not sure if their handsets would play music and 23% weren't sure if their phone included GPS - although NPD calculated that 55% of phones sold from January to November 2008 had GPS technology. [Press release]

Reports say train crash engineer regularly used his mobile

The engineer allegedly responsible for the fatal Los Angeles rail crash on 12th September 2008 was known to regularly use his mobile phone while operating trains, according to reports that quote a lawyer acting for several victims. [Sources:;]

3M announces mini-projector for phones

3M is preparing to launch the MM200, which is a miniature projector small enough to be built into a mobile phone. It's capable of projecting a 50-inch image while using only 1 watt of power. [Press release]

New Mobile News podcast for 2009

In the Mobile News podcast this week we welcome 2009 with a review of the top stories from 2008. And, as usual, we'll also be taking a look at the current news headlines from the mobile industry. You can download or listen free at and on the Mobile News website... and you'll find us on iTunes and via RSS too.

Mobile News podcast RSSThe Mobile News podcast is presented and produced by Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge at

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Peter Jones CBE

Peter Jones, now better known for his role on BBC TV's Dragons' Den than for his ownership of the Phones International Group, has been awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours List. [Source: Mobile News]

New Motorola handset made from recycled water bottles

Motorola has announced the MOTO W233 Renew, which it's describing as the world’s first mobile phone made using plastics comprised of recycled water bottles - and the world's first carbon-neutral mobile phone (thanks to a carbon offsetting deal). The case is recyclable, the box is printed on recycled paper and there's a postage-paid recycling envelope in the box for your old phone (well, there is in the USA, where the Renew will be available on T-Mobile within the next few weeks). [Press release]

Hospitals should reconsider mobile phone bans

New guidelines from the Department of Health say hospitals in England should consider allowing mobile phones to be used in hospitals wherever it doesn't interfere with equipment, affect privacy or cause a nuisance. They also say that mobile phone use should continue to be restricted in areas where critical care equipment susceptible to electro magnetic interference is used. [Press release]

3G iPhone can now be unlocked by anyone

The iPhone Dev Team have released a beta version of yellowsn0w; free software that'll apparently unlock any 3G Apple iPhone. [Dev-Team blog]

Monday, 5 January 2009

UIQ files for bankruptcy

UIQ Technology, which makes software based on the Symbian operating system, has filed for bankruptcy in a Swedish court. The company was originally part of Symbian and is now jointly owned by Motorola and Sony Ericsson. Its future has looked very uncertain since Nokia acquired Symbian and founded the non-profit Symbian Foundation last year. [Source:]

Vodafone and Orange expected to share more

Vodafone and Orange are apparently close to expanding their existing base station sharing agreement by integrating 3G access and possibly even working together on international coverage, according to a report in The Observer.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

4giv me fathR...

The Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, who heads a church of around 12 million Orthodox Christians in Egypt and another 4 million elsewhere, has banned priests from taking confessions over the phone and has also banned monks in Coptic monasteries from using mobiles. Pope Shenouda III says there is a chance that telephones are monitored, meaning that the confessions could possibly be overheard by state security, according to news reports. He also said that monks were supposed to be secluded from the world when in monasteries, which is why he'd banned the use of mobiles by monks but had allowed monastery administrators to keep their phones. [Source:]

Friday, 2 January 2009

Google launches website for mobile ideas

Google has launched a website - - that allows users to suggest and vote on suggestions for Google Mobile products.