Friday, February 13, 2009

Four billion mobile connections reached

The world passed its four billionth mobile connection this week, passing another milestone along the road to the ubiquitous wireless connectivity of every human being.

The first commercial citywide cellular network was launched in Japan by NTT in 1979 and it took 23 years for one billion mobiles to be connected. The two billion mark was passed in 2005, with the three billion milestone passed in 2007 and the historic 'tipping point' where 50% of all human beings are carrying a mobile phone was reached in Q2, 2008.

Further growth in emerging markets such as China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan, plus the integration of previously unconnected devices are expected to push the number of global connections to six billion in 2013. There are only 6.7 billion human beings.

Mobile Broadband accounts for just 100 million of the four billion mobile connections, compared with 1.1 billion fixed broadband lines. Given the rapid penetration of mobile into the global community, mobile broadband can be expected to accelerate from this point too. Notably, with fixed line broadband included, broadband connectivity now reaches one sixth of the world's population.

Meanwhile, in the uk, new figures from Ofcom this week have revealed that the number of UK broadband connections is nearing the 17 million mark.

The regulator's latest Telecommunications Market data tables show that up to the end of Q3 last year, there were just over 16.9 million active residential and small business broadband lines in the UK.

The tables, which detail the broadband connections between 2006 and Q3 2008, show that during this period there were slight market share falls for industry leaders BT Retail and Virgin Media.

In the case of BT, this is largely due to the increase in broadband connections using local loop unbundling (LLU). These line connections are provided by the likes of TalkTalk and Sky who have installed their own equipment in the telephone exchange - meaning they can offer users discounted prices and so called 'free' broadband services.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Government moves to settle mobile broadband spectrum dispute

Lord Carter, the communications minister, has today called a meeting with the UK's five mobile phone networks as he tries to thrash out a deal that will help achieve his ambition of universal broadband access by 2012.

The former head of regulator Ofcom is attempting to get the UK's two original mobile phone networks, Vodafone and O2 – formerly Cellnet – to share a slice of the airwaves they were given in the 1980s, so that rivals T-Mobile, Orange and 3 can use it for mobile broadband services.

Lord Carter, in his initial Digital Britain report last month, said the mobile phone companies must thrash out a compromise on sharing the airwaves by the end of April or the government would impose a solution.

The slice of the airwaves controlled by O2 and Vodafone is important to the introduction of universal broadband because it is at a low frequency, which means signals can travel over longer distances.

O2 and Vodafone, understandably, are reluctant to give up their spectrum at the 900 MHz frequency unless the government offers them a sweetener by giving them a slice of the airwaves freed up by the switch-off of the analogue TV signal.

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O2 launches into growing laptop market

O2 today unveiled its plans to enter the laptop market with a promise to couple market-leading home and mobile broadband with impressive devices and excellent customer service. With laptop sales expected to reach 9-10 million devices in 2009, O2 is ranging Samsung laptops to create exclusive packages that will give customers everything they need to be more connected, with minimum fuss and hassle.

O2 will introduce three new Pay Monthly deals, available online and at its 490 stores nationwide, on 27 February 2009. With broadband bundles set to take a large proportion of the overall laptop market within three years, O2 is entering this market in a strong position with an all-round package that will meet the consumer needs of style, substance, staying power, service and security head-on.

O2 CEO, Ronan Dunne, highlighted the great opportunity presented by the market today: "We all want to be better connected at all times and the substantial and continued growth in the laptop market is symptomatic of this desire. Laptops are rapidly eroding the desktop PC market and at the same time, the emergence of the mini-laptop has opened up a whole new market for ultra-portable devices – one that is expected to more than double in size in 2009 alone. To date, the subsidised laptop market has received some bad press due to poor equipment and frustrating customer service experiences. O2 is stepping into the market with a promise to turn this around by taking a holistic approach to the product offer. Our package ticks every box when it comes to the main purchase drivers in the market, which in turn means we are taking away the 'worry-factor' involved in buying a laptop."

O2's laptop package is designed to give customers everything they want at a price that they will love:

Style – Samsung's NC10 mini-laptop and R510 laptop models combine great design with looks for the ultimate in laptop style.

Substance – with strong specifications and great performance, Samsung's NC10 mini-laptop and R510 model deliver on functionality too.

Staying Power – Samsung's solid specifications deliver staying power and assure customers that their choice of device will meet their computing needs for years to come, rather than just months.

Service – Recognising the 'worry factor' that many consumers have when looking to buy a laptop, O2 will offer customers expert sales advice to meet their needs. This includes O2 Laptop Support at no additional cost for a limited period to help get them up and running, with a chargeable option to extend this cover, O2 Assistant software to allow computers to be fixed remotely and award-winning UK based customer service. In addition O2 is offering a 30-day Happiness Guarantee on all laptops and an extended two-year warranty on all devices at no extra cost.

Security – McAfee software to ensure customers feel secure online.

"The growth in the laptop market is clear to see and we want to be a part of it. But we want to ensure that our customers get a better experience, not just when they buy the package but throughout the duration of their contract with us. Our two year warranty and 30-day Happiness Guarantee are market leading and show our continued commitment to providing great service," adds Dunne.

"Our bundle packages, unique amongst those currently on the market, provide customers with everything they need and we are confident they will move people away from traditional laptop providers and into our stores."

Customers can purchase O2's new laptop packages at any of the 490 stores across the UK or by visiting our online shop at from 27 February 2009.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Vodafone and 3 merge Australian businesses

Vodafone Australia and Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) are to merge business creating a new business, VHA (Vodafone Hutchison Australia). Airtime services will be sold under the Vodafone brand,

Both companies will hold 50 per cent ownership of the new venture.

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Huawei to deliver 'smarter' mobile broadband dongles

Huawei are to Embed Network Diagnostic Tools into their 3G Modems.

­Carrier IQ has announced that its diagnostic software is to be embedded within a new range of 3G modems from Huawei. The cards will incorporate a diagnostic engine to enable carriers to optimize and improve data performance using Carrier IQ's suite of analysis tools.

Announcing the partnership, Carrier IQ CEO, Mark Quinlivan, said: "These new cards will make for smoother delivery of mobile data services, improvements in customer care services, identification of network coverage gaps and increased awareness of actual user behavior."

"Everybody wins," he added, "the manufacturer of the card, the network operator, but most importantly of all, the actual subscriber to mobile data services."

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O2 offers designer mobile broadband dongle

Spruce up your laptop with this season's must-have accessory, a limited edition polka dot mobile broadband modem designed exclusively for O2 by fashion designer Henry Holland under his House of Holland label.

The House of Holland-designed skin will be included for free with O2 Mobile Broadband Pay & Go from 27 February for a limited time only.

Checking your email or surfing the web on the go has never been more fashionable than with the House of Holland mobile broadband, featuring one of the hottest trends for 2009 – polka dots. "Henry Holland is one of the most exciting designers in London and the perfect partner to help us add some style to our mobile broadband offering. Our customers have been telling us that they continually crave individuality and this delivers stand-out, personalisation and a bit of fun" said Peter Rampling, O2's Marketing Director.

Henry Holland continues: "I'm really pleased to have been asked to design this for O2. It's a fun project and something great to give to all my friends and something I know they all need!"

The exclusive House of Holland O2 Mobile Broadband Pay & Go will be available from 27 February 2009 at O2 stores and from the O2 online shop at

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Orange mobile internet base up by 86 per cent

Orange UK's latest Digital Media Index report indicated an increase in the network's total number of mobile customers to 15.8 million at September 30. It also reported 1.02 million home broadband customers.

The network reported an average of 1.485 billion text messages per month, 3.971 billion call minutes per month and 185,823 GB of mobile data per month.

The number of mobile broadband dongle subscriptions increased by over 2,000 per cent since January last year, while the number of mobile internet customers on 3G handsets and dongles was 2.9 million. It said the mobile internet customer base had increased by 86 per cent, with 1.3 million customers added.

Orange also reported on average more than 276,555 full music tracks are downloaded every month from the Orange Music Store, an increase of 10.5 per cent since last year's Orange Digital Media Index.

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