Posts tagged calls
By Rosa Golijan
Updated March 15, 7:45 p.m. EST:
AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, T-Mobile and Sprint are helping out individuals who are trying to reach Japan-based friends and family in the aftermath of the recent earthquake by providing free calling to the country.
AT&T is offering “billing relief” for its customers on calls made to Japan between March 11 and March 31.
This means that postpaid wireless customers will not be charged for international calls made to Japan from the United States or Puerto Rico — or for text messages to Japan which originate from a U.S. wireless number.
AT&T customers who have residential wireline service through the service provider are also eligible for billing relief:
Upon receiving their wireline bill, customers may call AT&T to receive adjusted calling for up to 60 minutes. In other words, no charges for up to 60 minutes of call time from the United States to Japan between March 11 and March 31.
Verizon has announced that it will be offering a similar deal to its own customers.
Verizon Wireless’ postpaid customers will receive free calling to Japan from March 11 through April 10. During that time U.S.-based Verizon Wireless customers will also receive free text and multimedia messaging to Japan.
Verizon customers who have residential wireline service through the carrier will receive a similar offer:
All calls made from a Verizon residential landline to Japan will be rated at $0.00 per minute, from March 11 through April 10. Customers with Verizon World Plan (300, 500 or unlimited minutes of long-distance calling) can call Japan without using any minutes from their time-allotment blocks.
And there’s more:
Additionally, Verizon Prepaid Phone Card charges for all long-distance calls placed to Japan from the United States will also be waived from March 11 until April 10
The company is also providing FiOS TV customers who are not subscribed to the channel free access to TV Japan through March 17. The channel location is 1770.
Later today, Comcast and T-Mobile USA also announced they are providing free calls to Japan.
Comcast said calls will be free for its Xfinity Voice and Business Class Voice customers. For calls made to Japan by customers during the timeframe from March 11 through April 10, Comcast will remove these charges from customers’ bills. Credits and waived fees will be automatic, as no action is required by customers. Comcast will cover fees for calls made to both landline and mobile phones. Comcast’s subscriber terms and conditions otherwise apply.
T-Mobile said in a statement that, effective immediately:
- T-Mobile USA is enabling phone calls to Japan for postpaid customers without charges for international long distance through March 31, and retroactive to March 11.
- Postpaid customers can make Wi-Fi calls to and from Japan free of charge through March 31, and retroactive to March 11.
- Text (SMS) messaging is also free of charge to and from Japan for postpaid customers through March 31 and retroactive to March 11.
T-Mobile added that prepaid or postpaid customers interested in helping immediately can text “REDCROSS” to 90999, and your donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts. This donation will be charged to your T-Mobile phone bill, and 100 percent of the donation goes directly to the Red Cross. There is no per-text fee for this service for T-Mobile customers who do not have a messaging plan, nor will the text be deducted from your messaging plan. Similarly, you can send donations via text message to a number of other relief organizations. T-Mobile does not charge for text messages sent to mobile giving campaigns.
Also, Sprint representative Crystal Davis confirmed to Phone Scoop via e-mail that it, too, will waive the fees of its customers looking to call or text message phone lines in Japan effective March 11 to April 10.
If you are trying to find more information about what is going on in the Pacific region right now or how help out with relief efforts, you can take a look at some of our prior coverage of this topic:
- Japan’s earthquake: How to help
- Sites to help you with Japanese quake information
- Google tool helps track and find Japan earthquake victims
- Japan phone service struggling post quake
- Early hero of Japan’s quake tragedy: Building codes
- Tsunami waves put data centers at risk
Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She’s a bit obsessed with Twitter and loves to be liked on Facebook.
6 March 2011 Last updated at 15:06 GMT China security tight after new protest calls Police in Beijing shut the underground and mobile phone networks, and helicopters were deployed
China has mounted a huge security operation in the capital in response to renewed online calls for protests.
Anonymous postings had urged people to stroll silently in areas of major cities, as a way of calling for change.
The BBC’s Damian Grammaticas in Beijing says crowds of shoppers were out but it was not clear if any were protesters.
The massive police deployments are being seen as a sign of the Communist Party’s nervousness at the civil unrest and revolutions across the Arab world.
The security blanket thrown over the parts of Beijing on Sunday afternoon was extraordinary, our correspondent says.
This was the third week of calls for protests and the anonymous posts urged people to take a walk through Xidan, a busy shopping area.
At Xidan and another shopping area, Wangfujing, there were hundreds of uniformed police; men posted every few yards. Reporters were banned from filming or interviewing anyone.
Data signals on mobile phones were blocked and everywhere were huge numbers of plain clothes security men; wearing ear pieces, watching everything, our correspondent reports.
He says uniformed police politely checked his identity documents – in contrast to the previous weekend when the BBC team was taken away violently by plain clothes officers.
In Zhongguancun near Peking University, police also closed down the subway and mobile phone networks, and police helicopters were reported hovering overhead.
Online messages said there may have been a planned gathering of students there.
‘The wrong idea’
Meanwhile, in a more hardline interpretation of current reporting rules, officials said that foreign reporters must seek government permission to conduct interviews in Beijing.
At a news conference, Li Honghai, vice-director of Beijing’s Foreign Affairs Office, said reporters must apply for government permission before carrying out any news gathering in the city centre.
Beijing officials at the briefing denounced the protest calls as an attempt to undermine China’s stability.
“All clear-minded people will know that these people have chosen the wrong place and have the wrong idea.
“The things they want to see take place have not and cannot occur in Beijing,” said city government spokeswoman Wang Hui.
China’s government is aware there are many possible reasons for popular discontent.
In his speech at the opening of the annual National People’s Congress on Saturday, Premier Wen Jiabao said there were still fundamental issues the government must solve, which he said the masses felt strongly about.
Among the issues he listed were inflation, exorbitant house prices, land appropriations and house demolitions by the government and rampant corruption.
“We must make improving the people’s lives a pivot linking reform, development and stability… and make sure people are content with their lives and jobs, society is tranquil and orderly and the country enjoys long-term peace and stability,” Mr Wen said.
He made no mention of the unrest in the Middle East.
Telecoms boss urges changes in cost to firms of mobile calls
12:50pm Wednesday 2nd March 2011
A West Yorkshire telecoms entrepreneur has urged businesses to get behind a campaign to cut the cost of making calls from mobile phones to landline numbers.
Mike Bower said the cost of ringing mobile numbers from fixed lines was ten times that of ringing other landlines and was costing firms billions of pounds a year.
Mr Bower, chairman of West Yorkshire-based telecoms group Commsprovider, supports calls for the industry regulator Ofcom to cut crippling call charges from landlines to mobile phones and has urged others to back the campaign.
Mr Bower, who owned and ran a telecoms business in Keighley for many years, said hidden mobile phone charges – known as Mobile Termination Rates – are costing UK businesses billions of pounds a year.
He is backing calls for firms and organisations to sign an online petition at the campaign website terminatetherate.org It calls on Ofcom to enforce a reduction in the cost of calling mobiles from land-lines.
In the face of mounting pressure, the industry regulator is due to make a decision at the end of February.
To date, the petition has been signed by nearly 162,000 people and more than 40 local councils.
Mr Bower said: “Calling a mobile costs ten times more per minute than calling a fixed line number.
“That’s because when you call someone’s mobile from your land-line, their network will charge your operator a fee for carrying the call – currently around 80 per cent of the total cost.
“Present day trends more often than not involve a call to a mobile phone, rather than a fixed line location.
“This means that staff in organisations large and small have unlimited access to a firm’s money simply by having a phone on their desk.
“Someone could sit on the phone for an hour and run up a £7 to £10 charge calling a mobile, whereas calling a land-line for the same time would only be around 90p.
“Multiply this across your organisation and the picture is clear. I would strongly advise businesses to take a look at their office phone bill and the likelihood is that more than 50 per cent will be calls to mobiles.”
Mr Bower is concerned that while Ofcom has indicated it intends to act to redress the balance, it wants to bring in the changes gradually over the next four years.
He said: “This means that rates for calling mobiles from land-lines are unlikely to fall significantly until 2014.”
Skype announced today their Skype To Go service as a new way to save on calling abroad. This new service lets you enjoy great rates on calls without needing an internet connection or being in an area with 3G coverage. It works on any mobile phone as well as landline phones.
The Skype To Go service works by assigning a unique Skype To Go number to the overseas number that you want to call. Then you simply call the assigned local number whenever you need to dial that overseas number. It’s free to setup Skype To Go numbers, with a limit of up to nine.
You do have to pay for Skype To Go service which can be charged through Skype Credit or via subscription. You get the same low rates you enjoy as when you call with their regular VOIP service, but local operator charges may apply if dialing from a landline and airtime minutes will be used if calling from a mobile phone. Skype’s standard connection fee also applies.
[via Read Write Web]
Spending 50 minutes with a cell phone plastered to your ear is enough to change brain cell activity in the part of the brain closest to the antenna.
But whether that causes any harm is not clear, scientists at the National Institutes of Health said on Tuesday, adding that the study will likely not settle recurring concerns of a link between cell phones and brain cancer.
“What we showed is glucose metabolism (a sign of brain activity) increases in the brain in people who were exposed to a cell phone in the area closet to the antenna,” said Dr. Nora Volkow of the NIH, whose study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study was meant to examine how the brain reacts to electromagnetic fields caused by wireless phone signals.
Volkow said she was surprised that the weak electromagnetic radiation from cell phones could affect brain activity, but she said the findings do not shed any light on whether cell phones cause cancer.
“This study does not in any way indicate that. What the study does is to show the human brain is sensitive to electromagnetic radiation from cell phone exposures.”
Use of the devices has increased dramatically since they were introduced in the early-to-mid 1980s, with about 5 billion mobile phones now in use worldwide.
Some studies have linked cell phone exposure to an increased risk of brain cancers, but a large study by the World Health Organization was inconclusive.
Volkow’s team studied 47 people who had brain scans while a cell phone was turned on for 50 minutes and another while the phone was turned off.
While there was no overall change in brain metabolism, they found a 7 percent increase in brain metabolism in the region closest to the cell phone antenna when the phone was on.
Experts said the results were intriguing, but urged that they be interpreted with caution.
“Although the biological significance, if any, of increased glucose metabolism from acute cell phone exposure is unknown, the results warrant further investigation,” Henry Lai of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Dr. Lennart Hardell of University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden, wrote in a commentary in JAMA.
“Much has to be done to further investigate and understand these effects,” they wrote.
Professor Patrick Haggard of University College London said the results were interesting since the study suggests a direct effect of cell phone signals on brain function.
But he said much larger fluctuations in brain metabolic rate can occur naturally, such as when a person is thinking.
“If further studies confirm that mobile phone signals do have direct effects on brain metabolism, then it will be important to investigate whether such effects have implications for health,” he said.
John Walls, a spokesman for CTIA-The Wireless Association, an industry group, said the scientific evidence so far “has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices, within the limits established by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), do not pose a public health risk or cause any adverse health effects.”
Volkow said her the findings suggest the need for more study to see if cell phones have a negative effect on brain cells.
Meanwhile, Volkow isn’t taking any chances. She now uses an ear phone instead of placing a cell phone next to her ear.
“I don’t say there is any risk, but in case there is, why not?”
Passengers on board Air New Zealand’s new all black A320 will be able to use mobile phones within a month.
In partnership with New Zealand On Air and Vodafone, travellers will be able to text and make phone calls in flight on domestic routes, NZ Herald reported.
“The Airbus A320 aircraft, which commences its first commercial flights today, will be fitted with new in flight mobile technology which will enable the safe use of mobile phones to make and receive phone calls, text messages and emails, during the cruise stage of flights,” an Air NZ statement read.
The price of calls and texts have been upped from their usual costs to 80c per text as well as NZ$3.50 per minute to make a phone call.
The airline has also added a change for people receiving calls of NZ$2.00 per minute as well as an online usage charge of $20 per megabyte of data.
According to the statement, travellers will be able to make phone calls using mobile phone signals which are routed through an aircraft cell site.
“This new inflight technology, which uses an aircraft-based cell site and Inmarsat satellites, will mean our customers onboard the new black A320 aircraft will be able to safely use their mobile to stay in touch by text, phone call and email,” Air NZ general manager Captain David Morgan said.
February 07, 2011 17:13 PM
Air NZ To Allow Passengers To Make Calls And Text On A320
MELBOURNE, Feb 7 (Bernama) – Air New Zealand will allow its passengers flying on the black Airbus A320 to use their mobile phones, but pay more for the privilege, the airline says.
The black-liveried Airbus A320 aircraft will begins its first commercial flights soon.
It will be fitted with new inflight mobile technology, enabling the safe use of phones to make and receive phone calls, text messages and send emails, during the cruise stage of flights.
The system, which will be available on the domestic A320 aircraft only, is designed so that passengers’ mobile phone signals are routed through an aircraft cell site.
The service is a deal with Vodafone New Zealand and OnAir.
Inflight roaming costs will apply at 80 cents per outbound text, NZ$3.50 a minute to make a call, NZ$2 a minute to receive a call and NZ$20 a megabyte of data.
Other mobile providers may have different rates for their customers.
The move has Civil Aviation Authority approval.
The use of mobile phones will be prohibited during the critical phases of flight such as the takeoff and landing.
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A university researcher in Australia has developed software that allows Android phones to make voice calls without the help of a mobile carrier.
Paul Gardner-Stephen, a research fellow in the School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, has devised a technology that relays calls directly from one phone to another. More Telecom Insights White Papers
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The software will soon be available on the Serval Project Web site. It has two components: one creates a temporary, self-organizing, self-powered mobile network using phone towers dropped by air (as might be done in a crisis situation); the second supports a permanent mesh network that allows Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones, and eventually phones that connect via unlicensed frequencies (called Batphones), to communicate directly.
“Phones running our software relay calls between themselves,” said Gardner-Stephen in a university news release. “If even just one of those can see a cell tower, then calls can be with any of the phones, thus sustaining communications in affected areas. A balloon is not necessary; a phone running our software at any vantage point can suffice.”
Gardner-Stephen cites the recent flooding in parts of Australia, which disabled cell towers, as a use case for the technology. The ongoing communications blackout in Egypt represents another such scenario.
Mesh networks are not a new concept, as can be seen from the Mesh Potato. Such projects seem to share a goal of providing phone service to under-served or poor communities.
Gardner-Stephen says that any telephone carrier or handset maker can incorporate the Project Serval software and that the Project Serval team will be happy to help make that happen.
The promise of the Serval Project may sound tempting to those who’d rather not pay hefty smartphone bills every month — “use your existing mobile phone number wherever you go, and never pay roaming charges again” — but it remains to be seen how keen mobile carriers will be to get paid less for phone calls or nothing at all.
Add to that the difficulty of monitoring phone-to-phone communication, particularly if encryption is added, and it’s likely that control-oriented governments will look for ways to limit this kind of technology in the name of combating terrorism.
Now in its fifth year, Web 2.0 Expo is for the builders of the next-generation Web: designers, developers, entrepreneurs, marketers, and business strategists. It happens March 28-31 in San Francisco. Register now.
Washington, Jan 22 (ANI): Don’t have the willpower to decline calls or texts when you’re driving? Well, a German telecom company has come up with an application that does it for you.
“We heard loud and clear from our customers that distracted driving is an issue they care deeply about. They want to help themselves drive responsibly, and they want to make sure their kids are doing the same,” ABC News quoted Torrie Dorrell, T-Mobile USA’s vice president of applications, content and games, as saying.
The 4.99 dollars per month application, developed by Emeryville, Calif.-company Location Labs, will be available to T-Mobile customers with Android smartphones.
When activated, the DriveSmart application determines how quickly a phone is switching between cell phone towers. When it senses that the phone is moving faster than 10 mph, within a few minutes, it automatically sends phone calls to voicemail or a hands-free Bluetooth headset (depending on which version the customer selects). It sends text messages to a user’s inbox.
Depending on the phone, the application can also disable audible alerts so that the driver isn’t even aware of incoming messages.
If drivers want to override the service for an emergency call or if users want to override the feature while they’re in the passenger seat (or even on a moving bus), DriveSmart allows that.
Location Labs’ CEO Tasso Roumeliotis said the application would initially only be available on newer T-Mobile Android phones. But considering that the response to the service has been “exceptional,” they hope to reach other platforms. (ANI)
CHANDIGARH: They had a recording of Khushpreet’s kidnappers making a ransom call, but then some UT cop deleted it from the mobile phone which stored the audio file while trying to change the instrument’s ring tone. And now, UT SSP Naunihal Singh has given three of his officers the task of finding that recording from details of 30,000 calls made from dozen public call booths. The saying, looking for a needle in a haystack, would be apt for this situation.
Khushpreet’s body was recovered from Mohali’s Phase X on Wednesday. He was kidnapped on December 21 from Burail village.
A senior police officials said the three-member team will also have to co-relate the different phone calls for ransom that they find and that could make the task even more difficult.
The investigation team has been directed to do this as the previous one had lost crucial data, said the official.
So far, Chandigarh police have not been able to establish anything about the culprits in the investigation regarding the kidnapping and subsequent murder of young Khushpreet.
Loss of key evidence meant that police could not keep a grip on the probe.
The said recording was made by Sector-34 police station officials. It was of a ransom call made by the kidnappers to the family.
But before the voice analysis could be conducted, cops told their seniors that the audio file had been deleted from the phone, which contained it.