O2 adds price rise clause to contracts to avoid Ofcom rule changes
British carrier O2 has updated its contracts, requiring new customers and subscribers who upgrade to agree to a price plan increase every year. The change, noted by Engadget, comes after UK regulator Ofcom clarified rules that allowed customers to exit a contract early without penalty their contracts are changed mid-commitment, except in specific circumstances. As O2 has managed to find a loophole, it is likely that other carriers in the United Kingdom may employ similar tactics in the future, in order to earn more from their customers without the early termination risk.
Motorola starts roll-out of Android KitKat on Moto G in UK
Motorola has started rolling out Android KitKat to the Moto G in the United Kingdom. The Android 4.4.2 update, which starts rolling out today and will continue for the next week, adds the usual KitKat improvements along with a new look phone dialer, new photo editing options in the Gallery app, printing support over services such as Google Cloud Print, the new version of Hangouts, and support for the Square credit card reader.
Thinner bezel, Android KitKat appears in alleged Nexus 10 images
Images claiming to show the Google Nexus 10 have appeared online, allegedly suggesting that the device is being created by LG, instead of preceding manufacturer Samsung. If true, this would mean that LG would not only be producing the Nexus 5, but also the Nexus 10, leaving the Nexus 7 tablet alone in being manufactured by Asus.
Regulator Ofcom wants to raise 900MHz, 1800MHz charges by factor of four
Carriers in the United Kingdom will be forced to pay more for its spectrum, if a regulator gets its way. A consultation by Ofcom states that it hopes to increase the annual license fees for 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum in the country, with carriers facing the prospect of paying more than four times as much for already-allocated spectrum.
BBC adds podcast download options to iPlayer Radio app
The BBC has updated its iPlayer Radio app for iOS and Android, adding the option to download podcasts from the broadcaster. Downloaded shows will appear under the new "My Downloads" part of the app, with the option to force the app to only download podcasts while connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, in order to avoid potential extra data charges from carriers.
Few launch units available worldwide
Although the phone has only just launched in the eastern hemisphere, the iPhone 5s is proving to be in extremely short supply, reports suggest. Online orders of the device have opened up in Australia and mainland China, but Apple is already listing the product as shipping in 7 to 10 business days in those regions, regardless of color or capacity. In Hong Kong and Singapore, the 5s is simply quoted as shipping in "October."
O2, Vodafone agreement allows networks to roll out simultaneously
British carriers O2 and Vodafone have launched their 4G networks in the United Kingdom. The launch of both high-speed phone networks in the country, following behind established 4G network EE, is accompanied by a confirmation from competitor Three that it will begin to roll out its own 4G network from December onwards.
Access to music, videos, games part of O2 4G service in UK
O2 has revealed more details for its 4G offering in the United Kingdom, set to start on the 29th of August, the same day as Vodafone. The new tariffs are a bit more involved than Vodafone's simpler £5 ($7.76) addition, but the carrier will be bundling games from Gameloft, access to free music tracks and videos for 12 months, and Priority Sports videos for a number of major events.
Deal worth $307M leaves Telefonica to work on 4G services
BskyB is acquiring Telefonica UK's landline and home broadband services. The deal, claimed to be worth around £200 million ($307 million) will see Sky become the second largest Internet service provider in the country, thanks to the addition of an extra 500,000 customers from Telefonica's Internet services, O2 and BE.
Spectrum auction set to finish before April 2013
UK regulator Ofcom has issued rules for the upcoming 4G spectrum auction in the country. The newly-released timetable will see network operators such as Vodafone and O2 submit bids for spectrum from January onwards, with the combined reserve prices for the 800MHz and 2.6GHz ranges being auctioned totaling over £1.3 billion ($2 billion).
Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited to move Freeview channels
The UK may have a quicker overall rollout of faster mobile network services than previously thought. Mobile carriers Everything Everywhere, O2, Vodafone, and Three have stopped their legal threats, and have joined together to create a company specifically to aid in deploying LTE services in the 800MHz band by clearing it of TV signals.
Carrier aims to reduce environmental impact of phones
O2 and HTC will sell a future phone without the charger bundled in the box. According to Pocket Lint, the pilot scheme between the phone manufacturer and the UK carrier seeks to reduce the number of "wasted" charger in circulation, forcing customers to use existing chargers for other devices, a USB port on a computer, or to buy a charger separately.
Hotspot connects five to Internet, contract version missing
UK mobile network O2 has brought out its Pocket Hotspot. The MiFi device, like many others, enables up to five devices to go online simultaneously, connecting to the hotspot over 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. The carrier claims maximum download speed can reach up to 21.6Mbps, while upload speeds peak at 5.76Mbps.
Combined network to increase coverage and smooth 4G rollout
Mobile carriers Vodafone UK and Telefonica UK (known as O2) are going to work together to create a shared network grid, the two companies have announced. The combined efforts of the two networks will see an increased coverage area for both companies in the short term, and a smoother national rollout of LTE services, currently aimed for the year 2015. LTE or "4G" services, currently nonexistent in the UK, could be rolled out quicker by the carriers working in concert.
Lumia 610 arrives at UK retailers and carriers, priced at £15 per month
Nokia launched the Lumia 610 smartphone in the UK on Wednesday. As the company's entry-level Windows Phone-powered device, it has just 256MB of RAM and is relegated to Windows Phone 7.5. Major UK carriers and retailers including Vodafone, Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Three, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u will sell the phone starting at just £15 (about $23) per month on a contract, with no money down.
No city list or timeline for rollout
On May 16, British mobile telecom carrier O2 announced that they are building out a DC-HSPA wireless network capable of 42Mbps wireless downloads in the UK's largest cities. Samsung has jumped on board the effort by announcing yesterday that the Samsung Galaxy S III would connect to the DC-HSPA network. The Galaxy S III is expected to launch in the UK on May 29.
4G LTE testing in London averages 20-50Mbps
UK wireless provider O2 has shared some results from its ongoing 4G LTE tests in London. Involving 1,000 consumers and businesses, some have reported reaching speeds as high as 150Mbps, which is on par with some top-rung home Internet offerings and the theoretical peak of LTE. A more representative number range was the average of between 20 and 50Mbps, however.
RIM would have used BIS servers for basic data
RIM's former co-CEO Jim Balsillie had proposed using BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) servers to provide data for non-BlackBerry hardware shortly before he resigned his position, new leaks uncovered on Friday. The method outlined to Reuters would have let carriers offer Android and iPhone devices with cheaper data plans that limited Internet access to chat (possibly BlackBerry Messenger) and social networks, much like entry BlackBerry plans do today. RIM would presumably have made money from leasing access to carriers eager to get more smartphone customers and offload some of their bandwidth needs.
Ofcom extends deadline by nearly three weeks
Despite approving a deal for Everything Everywhere's proposed 4G network, UK regulator Ofcom has given competing networks more time to comment on the proposal. The extension was done at the request of stakeholders, and was pushed back from April 17 until May 8 of this year. Vodafone and O2 have filed complaints that suggest the new spectrum would give Everything Everywhere an unfair advantage by being the first to get to the market.
HTC One X gets first hard ship date
O2's UK division posted on Twitter what might have been an inadvertent confirmation of the launch date of the HTC One X. The quad-core phone was due to come in on April 5, roughly fitting in with HTC's early spring target. Prices and rates for the phone hadn't been set.
EU worried top carriers keeping prices high
Possible slips may have revealed the first stages of a possible European Commission investigation into the continent's top five carriers. The FT heard from sources that Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), France Telecom (Orange), Telecom Italia, Telefonica (O2), and Vodafone were under scrutiny for a series of "E5" meetings on the state of the industry. Concerns existed that they had used the discussion to possibly collude on prices and policies, hurting competition.
T-Mobile UK may be price of ATT merger dying
T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom may be looking to offload T-Mobile UK after AT&T dropped its bid for T-Mobile USA, insiders asserted Wednesday. Tips to Bloomberg had it in the early phases of considering a British "exit" now that AT&T's $39 billion proposal had been deemed anti-competitive. The choices could include anything from letting Orange UK take over the other half of the Everything Everywhere partnership to an outside company.
O2 UK quietly sorts phone number leak debacle
O2 UK has quietly solved or at least mitigated a major security breach on Wednesday. Following a discovery by Lewis Peckover that O2 was sending mobile subscribers' phone numbers in the clear through their web browser user agent, O2 claimed that it was cleared up. The company explained that it normally sent phone number information to "certain trusted partners" for age verifications and carrier billing, but this information had started going out to other sites by accident.
Senator says Carrier IQ may be in trouble
Carrier IQ's problems mounted dramatically on Thursday after Senator Al Franken sent a letter to the company demanding answers as to the company's extensive phone logging practices. He was concerned that Carrier IQ might be violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the pen register statute, and Stored Communications Act by recording without consent not just diagnostic information but phone numbers, text messages, web addresses, and the location. Carrier IQ's earlier denials that it wasn't tracking keystrokes or personal content were "especially concerning" given evidence showing just the the opposite, Franken said.
Galaxy Nexus 1st Android to beat iPhone 4S in web
Galaxy Nexus to ship 'everywhere' on Monday
(Update: not worldwide) Google has just informed The Verge that the Galaxy Nexus will be "pretty much everywhere" beginning Monday, November 21. This likely means a launch in Canada and the US among other countries, making North Americans wait an extra weekend compared to UK buyers. The UK version is LTE-less, just like the Canadian version, while the US phone will have an LTE radio onboard.
1,000 users to try 4G networking over next 9 mos.
UK wireless carrier O2 has said that it will soon begin trials for 4G LTE network services in the greater London area. O2 plans to deploy the service in a 40 square mile area and give users as much as 100Mbps downstream. The trials will begin later this month and last for the next nine months.
Carrier to begin trials of Skype-like service soon
UK carrier O2 today announced it plans to trial a VoIP service for its mobile phone customers. Called O2 Connect, the Skype-like service will allow smartphone users to use voice and text services over a Wi-Fi network from their mobile device, and call or send a message to any UK mobile or landline number. The app initially will be available on iOS devices and Android smartphones.
iPhone 4S preorders open worldwide
On cue, the online Apple Store and numerous carriers including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon have begun taking online preorders for the iPhone 4S. The picks include carrier-locked models as well as the full-price but unlocked GSM versions for those who want to switch carriers or avoid early cancellation fees.
Tizen rises from ashes of MeeGo
Intel and Samsung partly confirmed rumors by unveiling Tizen. The effective successor to MeeGo still uses Linux as an open-source foundation for a mobile OS but is focused on a much broader coalition of LiMo supporters that includes Japanese phone makers NEC Casio and Panasonic Mobile, OS developer Access, and carriers NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, Telefonica (O2), and Vodafone. The group will focus more on HTML5- and Wholesale Applications Community-based apps that can run on MeeGo and can share much of their code for other platforms and devices.
Supported in US by AT&T, Verizon & Cellular South
Twitter has upgraded the direct messaging capabilities for its texting service. Now, in addition to tweets, users whose service providers support MMS can attach and share videos. To send, all a user need do is enter the text of a tweet as normal, attach a photo to the message, and send it to the relevant Twitter code.
Ofcom: tech complications may push back 4G sale
The largest wireless spectrum auction in the UK may be pushed back to the spring of 2012, according to a Tuesday report. The country's regulator, Ofcom, blamed the delay on many technical and legal issues. The potential delay is at least three months later than originally planned, though Ofcom added it has always said the original timescale was ambitious.
Ofcom proposals may shake up paid mobile content
UK regulator Ofcom proposed on Friday that paid smartphone content bought through a carrier's site should be regulated by carriers and not PhonepayPlus, as it is currently. The content on an industry-owned Payforit gateway should be overseen by PhonepayPlus, it continued. Wireless providers asked Ofcom to look into the matter, but they didn't want Payforit content to be regulated.
Three large Euro carriers team up on NFC payments
The three largest UK wireless providers that include O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere have announced they will join forces to offer mobile wallet services to customers. According to MocoNews, the three will offer a cross-platform solution to banks, merchants, advertisers and other marketing partners to get the technology and its widespread use off the ground. The cooperation seems to be just what NFC needs, as the hardware is becoming increasingly available, with many of the Android-powered handsets getting it and the OS itself coming with the needed software hooks.
O2 UK passes on BlackBerry PlayBook
O2 UK dealt a symbolic hit to RIM on Thursday after it shot down any plans to carry the current BlackBerry PlayBook. Customers who had shown interest in the tablet have been told that the British carrier "will not be selling the device" for what it implied was the rushed state of the software. There were "some issues with the end to end customer experience," it said.
Windows Phone 7 NoDo update live, hits HD7
As suspected, Microsoft's first wave of NoDo updates to carrier-locked Windows Phone 7 devices has started reaching phones. Both of T-Mobile USA's phones, the Dell Venue Pro and the HTC HD7, are getting the update immediately. All WP7 hardware on Orange UK and 3 UK should also be getting the upgrade regardless of the make.
O2 UK drops tethering fees
O2 UK took a cue from Canadian carriers on Tuesday and dropped the premium tethering fee on its monthly plans. Any of its regular Bolt On plans, including the basic £3 ($4.80) 100MB plan, offer tethering for free. It had previously asked for £7.65 ($12.23) regardless of the tier and often more than doubled the price of data.
O2 to offer twice as many Wi-Fi hotspots in UK
In the UK, carrier O2 on Monday detailed plans to double the amount of free Wi-Fi hotspots it offers for its BT Openzone and the Cloud services. The carrier is seeing much more demand for data while on the go from smartphones. The provider will focus the Wi-Fi zones in areas such as high streets, public transport and stadiums.
Windows Phone 7 NoDo hits carriers March 29
New hints have suggested Microsoft plans to push its NoDo update to carrier-locked phones on Tuesday, March 29. The company's first wave would include at least Orange UK and Canada's Telus as well as a handful of unnamed other carriers, WinRumors heard. A second wave would take place on April 5, which would bring in at least O2 and Vodafone.
O2 delays Xperia Play but Verizon on time
O2 UK on Friday said it would delay the launch of the Xperia Play past its original April 1 target. Internal testing had shown "some bugs" that would sour the experience for early buyers. It was collaborating with Sony Ericsson to make sure they were fixed and still left a window open for an April 1 launch if they were fixed in time.
O2 UK first with 900MHz 3G
O2 UK on Friday said it was the first British carrier to use 3G on the 900MHz band. A green light from telecom regulator Ofcom has given HSPA and UMTS devices that will work on the lower frequency, including the iPad 2 and iPhone 4, as much as a 30 percent faster download rate. The greater room created by the frequency has also led to an immediate 50 percent capacity upgrade.
O2 Germany first carrier to commit to HP Veer
Wireless provider O2 Germany, through a tweet, has confirmed it will begin offering the HP Veer. It has become the first to commit to the webOS device, which is the smallest to date and the first to ship with webOS 2.1. The Veer will sport an 800MHz CPU and support 7.2Mbps HSPA for 3G.
webOS 2.1 arrives for Pre Plus on O2 Germany
The webOS 2.1 firmware for the Pre Plus handset has now been made available for download in Germany, despite HP saying earlier this month it won't upgrade older handsets to the firmware. This includes the Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi and Pixi Plus, and HP may still stand by its decision, as it's just carrier O2 that is upgrading the Pre Plus and no one else, at least thus far.
O2 to get white Xperia Play exclusively
UK wireless carrier O2 communicated over Twitter that it will be the exclusive provider of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play smartphone in white. Other carriers that will get the so-called PlayStation phone include Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone in the UK as well Rogers exclusively in Canada. In the US, it will arrive at Verizon sometime in the spring.
Xperia Play due in the UK, exclusive at Rogers
The Xperia Play handset has been confirmed as coming to several carriers on Monday, including Orange, T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone in the UK. In Canada, the phone will be exclusive to Rogers, according to MobileSyrup. Orange and T-Mobile UK have also confirmed they should have the PlayStation phone, has has O2, though no release date is known for Canada.
O2 to bring out 13,000 free hotspots in the UK
UK wireless provider O2 on Wednesday said it will launch a nationwide Wi-Fi network. The premium hotspots will be managed with the help of venue owners and be open for all customers to use for free, no matter what network they subscribe to. By 2013, 13,000 hotspots will be in place, O2 promises, but the rollout will begin this March at 450 O2 shops and offices.
HTC Pro 7 now available at Germany's O2
As promised last week, HTC's Pro 7 smartphone is now available at carrier O2 in Germany. HTC's first Windows Phone 7 device with a QWERTY hardware keyboard sports a 3.6-inch, 800x480 touchscreen, 1GHz Snapdragon CPU and a five-megapixel camera capable of recording 720p video. Pricing is also the same as promised, with a contract price of 22.50 Euros per month and 29 Euros down. The two are the equivalent of $29 per month and $37, respectively.
HTC 7 Pro confirmd for O2 Germany next week
Through a Twitter posting, carrier O2 Germany revealed the HTC 7 Pro will arrive in its stores, confirming an earlier report. The posting also reveals the pricing scheme for O2, set at 29 euros when paired with a 22.50 euro per month, two-year contract. The rate equates to $37 and a subscription fee of $29.
HTC 7 Pro coming to Germany's O2 in January
The HTC 7 Pro unveiled this fall will arrive at German provider O2 in January, the handset's product page has given away. Its version of the Windows Phone 7 device will logically use GSM and will sport the distinctive hardware QWERTY keyboard behind its 3.6-inch, 800x480 display. Also onboard is the needed 1GHz Snapdragon chip and a five-megapixel camera.
Rogers and Fido iPhone unlocks rumored in works
Canadian carrier Rogers and its sub-brand Fido have brought back a system that would let customers more officially unlock iPhones after the sale, a possible leak of its strategy has uncovered. As part of a broader move that would let any subscriber out when out of contract, Rogers has let users get an unlock by calling its help line and having them contact Apple. Once greenlit, the phone needs only to be restored in iTunes to remove the restrictions, iPhone in Canada was told by Fido user Argun Tekant.