Tag - Ofcom
British carrier EE has been fined £1 million ($1.5 million) by regulator Ofcom for failing to resolve customer complaints in a three-year period from July 2011 until April 2014, against Ofcom's Code of Practice. The Next Web reports that EE failed to provide information to consumers about the alternative dispute resolution scheme, a way UK companies and customers can resolve an issue between the two parties by going through an independent body, nor did it send "deadlock letters" to customers when such a stalemate occurs. EE has 20 working days to pay the fine.
Netflix is planning to expand its service to Australia and New Zealand from early next year. Starting from March 2015, the streaming video service will be available in the two countries, complete with 4K video playback with compatible devices, though The Next Web notes the inclusion of "a curated selection" in the announcement points to a more limited TV show and movie collection at launch than in other territories.
United Kingdom telecommunications regulator Ofcom has announced it will be holding another auction for spectrum covering the country, this time spectrum currently being used by the Ministry of Defence. The second auction, set to take place at the end of 2015 or early 2016, will in theory work similar to last year's successful 4G auction, and will provide winning carriers with even more capacity for their LTE networks.
The latest experiment in using 'white spaces' in the United Kingdom is underway, with London Zoo being the unexpected location for testing. Communications regulator Ofcom has detailed a trial by Google and ZSL London Zoo of technologies using white spaces, by streaming live video from several animal exhibits on YouTube.
British regulator Ofcom is considering changes to standards relating to installation and repairs to phone lines in the United Kingdom, as part of a three-yearly review. Openreach, the wholesale arm of BT which performs installations and fault repair for multiple telecommunications companies, as well as managing the infrastructure of the phone system, will receive lower fault repair targets and will be forced to offer reduced charges to customers, if Ofcom's proposals are accepted.
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.
Transport companies in the United Kingdom could offer passengers faster Internet connections in the future, thanks to a recent decision by Ofcom. The UK regulator is permitting the use of satellite-based connections in travel, with Ofcom claiming passengers could end up seeing broadband speeds up to ten times faster than what is currently offered by airlines, ferries, and coach firms.
Customers of mobile phone networks in the United Kingdom will be better protected from high bills after their phone is lost or stolen. EE, Virgin Media, Vodafone, and Three have all signed up to a government agreement that will, among other obligations, place a cap of £50 ($82) on the customer's liability for usage from the time the phone is reported as stolen.
Internet service providers and carriers in the United Kingdom must allow customers to exit a contract without penalty, according to new guidance from Ofcom. The British regulator has clarified how existing rules must be interpreted by telecommunications companies, with the new Guidance statement set to come into effect early next year.
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.
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WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R