Posts tagged mobile
By Andrew Couts
AT&T massively reshaped the US mobile industry landscape on March 20th with its planned purchase of T-Mobile USA. The stunning $39 billion acquisition will merge AT&T, the second largest wireless carrier, with T-Mobile, the fourth largest, to create the biggest mobile company in the county. This pushes Verizon back to number two and makes Sprint’s number three seat seem even more distant.
If federal regulators approve the deal — and they most likely will — the corporate union will consolidate 90 percent of the wireless business in America down to only three companies with 43 percent to AT&T alone. This likely means big changes for subscribers of both AT&T and T-Mobile (but especially T-Mobile) and they’re not all good. Here are the seven best, worst and ugliest outcomes from AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA.
1. Expanded coverage
Through the purchase of T-Mobile, AT&T gains both additional cell towers and wireless spectrum. This is great news for both AT&T and T-Mobile customers as coverage should increase for all areas. For such benefits to become reality however, AT&T must first enable T-Mobile towers, which transmit a 3G signal at a different frequency than AT&T, to work with current 3G-enabled AT&T phones, and vice versa.
More importantly, AT&T-T-Mobile will sit at the forefront of the 4G movement — the future of wireless. T-Mobile already boasts “the nation’s first 4G network” with its HSPA+ offerings, although it must be said that this is not technically considered 4G to some engineers. AT&T — which also offers HSPA+ but does not advertise it as a 4G connection — has announced plans to launch its 4G LTE network sometime this year. According to AT&T President Ralph De La Vega, the merger will bring LTE access to “95 percent of the U.S. population,” which includes “not just major cities but [also] rural America.”
This is one of AT&T’s best arguments to the US government for why the deal should be approved, as President Obama recently announced the expansion of 4G wireless access nationwide as one of his administration’s top priorities.
2. Higher prices for everyone
Fewer companies means less competition. And despite what AT&T wants you to believe, this always results in higher prices for customers. By swallowing T-Mobile USA, AT&T has killed off a fierce rival — one that has consistently offered better value plans that AT&T couldn’t bend far enough down to hand out. It’s possible that AT&T could hang on to T-Mobile’s budget offerings to keep a hold on the lower-end market, but don’t count on it. T-Mobile is in the no-mans-land area of wireless. One step up from Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless, but considered a challenger brand when compared to the big three — AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
Regardless, if the plan is approved, anyone who wants to sign with a major wireless carrier is left with three choices: AT&T-T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel. Unfortunately, Sprint (which came out firmly against the deal) would be roughly one third the size of an AT&T-T-Mobile conglomerate and much less competitive overall. Because of this disparity between carriers, the prices of the US mobile market will be essentially controlled by the top two largest cellular companies: AT&T-T-Mobile and Verizon — not exactly the kind of business environment that results in good deals.
3. T-Mobile users get the iPhone — in a year
Yes, it is a near certainty that current T-Mobile subscribers will eventually have access to Apple’s iPhone without having to switch wireless providers. Seeing as the deal is estimated to take a year to finalize however, access won’t be immediate. As T-Mobile explains in the mandatory set of FAQs released after news of the deal hit the press: “T-Mobile USA remains an independent company. The acquisition is expected to be completed in approximately 12 months. We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and coming soon our new Sidekick 4G.”
4. Customers will have fewer phones choices overall
While T-Mobile customers should expect to have access to a greater number of phones, the overall number of handsets available to US customers will likely shrink. Rather than continue to offer T-Mobile’s entire phone lineup, AT&T will probably pick a smattering of the most desirable devices to add to its arsenal. (Which phones AT&T chooses depends on how it handles its array of 3G/4G technology choices.)
Also, as the fourth largest carrier, T-Mobile could take chances on untested handsets, like the original Android smartphone, the G1. T-Mobile also allows customers to use unlocked phones, and even offers up unlock codes. AT&T’s careful, lumbering ways will probably prevent all of this, which adds up to less choice for mobile users, not more.
5. Billing cycle changes and higher fees for T-Mobile users
Right now AT&T charges customers for the upcoming month, whereas T-Mobile charges for the month that just passed. Since the AT&T method gets the money in the bank sooner, expect that option to prevail. Also, T-Mobile customers pay less in fees than AT&T customers. Those fees, we believe, will go up.
6. No more “unlimited” data plans
T-Mobile still offers unlimited data plans, while AT&T does not. Or, rather, T-Mobile’s “unlimited” plan give users the ability to use up to 5GB-per-month, for $30. Data usage past the 5GB threshold is throttled. AT&T’s data plans cap out at 2GB, with extra charges for additional data usage. Expect AT&T to offer its 34 million new subscribers the latter.
7. T-Mobile customers get rollover minutes
Despite its reputation as the “worst carrier” in the US, AT&T does have at least one attractive feature: rollover minutes. T-Mobile users, whose minutes currently expire at the end of the billing cycle, can now look forward to the endless build-up of minutes that AT&T subscribers currently enjoy.
Obviously, these will likely not be the only changes. And the exact details should begin to become more clear as the deal reaches its close. In addition to the effects felt by customers directly, this merger stands to significantly alter the US mobile phone industry for years to come. For now, however, the fate of America’s wireless industry rests on the federal government, which must decide whether or not all this is a good idea.
The second phase will see coverage extend to remote villages and roads in the north leading to complete coverage of the country, linking the whole of Iraq to the rest of the world. Furthermore, Zain will now include Kurdish alongside Arabic and English as its local languages.
Commenting on the news, Zain Group CEO, Nabeel Bin Salamah said, “The expansion of our services to Kurdistan is another example of our pioneering spirit. Zain was founded on the principles of connecting people through the power of mobile communications and we have shown that not only are we helping rebuild a great country but we are also touching the lives of individual people at the same time. From today onwards, more people will be part of our ‘wonderful world’.”
Zain Iraq CEO, Emad Makiya, said, “The coverage of Kurdistan will not only be welcomed by the local population, it will play key role in spurring business and accelerate the pace of construction and reconstruction. Only the oil industry has invested more in the region and this surely must demonstrate our commitment to playing a key role in the rehabilitation of this great nation.”
Individual customers in Kurdistan can now take advantage of Zain services which offers a competitive flat rate of 1.25 Iraqi dinars per second to all networks within Iraq, as well as “Business Plus”, a service for companies and institutions as well as individuals, to help them to smoothly run their businesses.
Zain hi-tech infrastructure has meant that millions of Iraqi customers have already taken advantage of a wide range of services. Now, increased security and stability has meant that the company can now expand and improve its network.
In Kurdistan, Zain has established points of sale and has trained local employees to meet the high standards expected from its staff.
It has also prepared a broad CSR program to support civil society institutions in the region and is looking forward to being a model corporate citizen in the community.
Over the past decade and a half, the spending habits of Americans have shifted significantly. We have moved heavily toward spending a greater portion of our incomes into services that require recurring fees, like cable TV and cellular phones. Many people have switched off their traditional landline phones and carry only cell phones as they have noticed their home phones are being used a lot less.
With each member of your family having a separate cell phone and plans generally costing $50 to $100 per month, a family of five might be spending $3,000 or more annually on cell phone service. That would be 6 percent or more of the gross income of a household earning $50,000 a year.
The banking crisis of the past few years, and the resultant problems that it has caused consumers, have made it increasingly difficult for consumers to handle the costs of their cell phones. So Virgin Mobile (one of the Sprint companies) created Assurance Wireless, a special program that supplements the cost of cell phones and services for people who can’t otherwise afford it.
Now available in 22 states including Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Assurance Wireless sets specific standards on a state-by-state basis to determine whether you qualify. In Pennsylvania, you can qualify by participating in Medicaid, food stamps, the national school lunch program or several other programs — or by meeting income guidelines, typically set at less than $35,330 for a family of five.
If you qualify, you get a free phone and 250 minutes of wireless voice service each month. No additional charges — not even any bills. You add minutes or texting, if needed, the same way a standard pay-as-you-go phone buys additional minutes — using a Virgin Mobile Top-Up Card that you can buy at a local retailer, your credit or debit card, or PayPal account using the Assurance Wireless website.
You’ll need to file an application by U.S. postal mail to participate (although you can get the application online). The application is short and sweet, asking only for your home address and phone number (assuming you have one), and the manner in which you are eligible. Then there are a few short paragraphs of acceptance text. Sign, date and mail it to the program office in Parsippany, N.J.
Virgin Mobile pays for your phone, accessories and shipping. The majority of the monthly fee is underwritten by the universal service fund (USF). You’ve probably noticed a charge for the USF on your phone bills — maybe even complained about it. Now you know what it is used for.
To get a paper application, you can call 1-800-395-2171 or if you have Internet service, go to assurancewireless.com to download a printable application. (You’ll also find program rules and specific eligibility requirements there.) You should expect approval within two weeks after they receive your application. If you only need the program for a short time, that’s fine. If you need it for more than a year, you’ll need to send in an annual recertification.
Why is Virgin Mobile doing this? In addition to being the right thing to do, the company is hoping you’ll remember them once you’re no longer eligible for the program, and will use their normal cellular service from that point forward.
COIMBATORE: A 16-year-old tenth standard student of a city school reportedly fled from his residence after his parents scolded him for stealing their money to buy a mobile phone. The police are now trying to trace him and have finally located his phone near Dindigul district on Saturday.
According to police, T Vijayakumar (16), a student of CSI boys school near Town Hall in the city, has been missing since Friday. He had left home in Ramanathapuram to attend early morning tuition class at around 6 am. He was last seen on Bharati Nagar fourth street where his father Thiagarajan, a construction labourer left him on Friday morning.
“His father accompanied him till the fourth street. His tuition centre is on the fifth street in the same locality. It now seems he did not attend tuitions and went somewhere else,” said Meenakshi Thiagarajan, his mother.
The parents claim that they saw a new mobile handset with Vijayakumar on Thursday evening and scolded him when he could not explain properly from where he got the phone. “We now realise that he was stealing money from our house and also using our ATM card without our knowledge. But it is okay we just want him to return,” Meenakshi added.
The parents have lodged a missing complaint with the city police on Friday evening. “We are trying to locate the boy. We are also talking to the parents’ family friends and relatives, in and around Coimbatore,” said S Gomathi, inspector, Puliyakulam police station.
PRLog (Press Release) – Mar 25, 2011 – 25th March – UK – SIM free phones offer flexibility to users so that they can switch to any network of their choice. They are basically known as unlocked phones which can work with any network. PrePayMania.co.uk has launched the cool Motorola Defy SIM free phone. When Motorola Defy was released at PrePayMania.co.uk, it created much curiosity and excitement among users.
At the launch of Motorola Defy, General Manager of PrePayMania.co.uk, Mr. Matthias Gaunt said, “SIM free phones are designed with the aim to provide flexibility to users in terms of using different networks. Our success mainly depends on customer’s satisfaction. We have released this phone so that users can reduce their rising bills in a cost-effective way.”
As per Motorola Defy review, this device comes in dimension of 107 x 59 x 13.4 mm and has very little weight of 118 gm. To view messages, videos and images with its TFT display screen of 3.7 inches gives great experience. The screen flaunts a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. Users can take snaps of their precious moments with its 5 MP camera and can be pleased with clear and lively images. Connectivity features consist of GPRS, EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with which users can access internet with high pace. Messaging features are inclusive of SMS, MMS, E-mail and instant messaging so that users can stay connected with their loved ones.
Motorola Defy SIM free is supportive of various music formats such as MP3, MP4, WMA, and WMV. Users can get refreshed by tuning into FM radio station at any time. Motorola Defy operates on Android v2.1 platform. The internal memory of the mobile comprises of 2 GB that can be extended up to 32 GB with the help of micro SD card slot as described in Motorola Defy review. Other features of this mobile phone are inclusive of Document viewer, Photo viewer, Organizer, Voice memo, etc. The strong and durable 1540 mAh battery of this mobile offers talk time of up to 6.8 hours so that users can communicate for long hours. Thus, this handset comprises of all features that satiates every communication requirement of users in a cost-effective way.
PrePayMania.co.uk is a popular and highly opted UK-based online portal which offers users a wide collection of Sim Free Mobile Phones, payg mobile phones, pay monthly phones and mobile accessories offered by numerous reputed brands like Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Apple, etc.
Every time it comes with varied discounts and lucrative offers on various handsets and their accessories which makes it a leading online portal in UK. It offers free shipping to its customers within UK on any order.
Unit 20 Imex Tech Park, Trentham Lakes South,
Staffs, ST4 8LJ,
Tel: +44 08456 77 77 55
[March 25, 2011]
China’s mobile phone users top 878.83 mln in February
BEIJING, Mar 25, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) — More and more Chinese are disconnecting fixed-line telephones and turning to mobile phones for communication, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Friday.
China’s mobile phone operators added 19.83 million new subscribers in the first two months of this year, bringing the number of the country’s cell phone users to 878.83 million, MIIT said in a statement on its website.
Fixed-line telecommunication companies, however, lost 918,000 fixed-line telephone users in the January-February period, partly because these subscribers pay a fixed monthly fee of around 18 yuan (2.74 U.S. dollars) even if they make no phone calls.
China reported 1.17 billion telephone users at the end of February, compared to its population of 1.34 billion.
China’s third-generation (3G) mobile phone service subscribers expanded to 55.99 million by the end of February, according to MIIT.
The entire telecommunication industry generated 170.33 billion yuan (25.97 billion U.S. dollars) in business revenue in January-February, up 14 percent year on year.
Of every 100 Chinese people, 64.4 were using mobile phones in 2010, compared to 56.3 users in 2009.
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Based on results from a comprehensive survey on what mobile users want out of a mobile subscription, Telenor is changing its mobile subscription offering. The answer is that mobile users want a good offer on mobile phones combined with low and predictable prices on subscriptions. They are also interested in coverage that provides the maximum user experience.
Telenor’s radical change to its subscription offering starts 11 April. This will see the start of sales at around 1,500 mobile dealers countrywide. From now on Norwegian mobile customers will only have two options to choose between, Komplett and Prat. In this way Telenor is simplifying and improving its mobile subscriptions.
Svein Henning Kirkeng, Director of Consumer Markets in Telenor, emphasizes that Telenor shall give customers the best mobile experience the market has to offer, and that the growth in mobile Internet usage places major demands on mobile operators.
“Telenor gives people the best user experience when it comes to mobile surfing in Norway; this is documented by independent tests carried out in various media. With our new subscriptions you not only enjoy Telenor’s superb coverage, but also simple and reasonably priced subscriptions with good promotions on mobile phones for surfing. Telenor is now coming out with the most attractive mobile packages on the market,” says Kirkeng.
All additional services, such as the popular FriFamilie, can be combined with the new subscriptions.
The customer decides
Komplett and Prat are offered with various packages that cover the needs of everyone. In an effort to make this adaptation a success, Telenor asked 3,000 people what they wanted out of a mobile. The new mobile subscriptions come as a direct answer to these wishes. Key feedback:
- For the first time in Norwegian mobile history people are saying that surfing using a mobile phone is more important than sending text messages (SMS).
- For the first time in Norwegian mobile history, people are voicing in unison that they want a fixed monthly price that includes as much as possible. This is because people want to keep things simple and predictable.
- Yet again in Norwegian mobile history, people are giving clear responses that, when they are in the market for a subscription, they prefer good offers on mobile phones too.
- The paradigm shift we are now experiencing in the mobile world places great demands on operators. When people are increasingly using mobile phones for a diverse range of network services, they demand network access and a good user experience at all times anywhere they go. Coverage and quality take on a new meaning entirely.
Great value included
Choosing the name Komplett is, according to Telenor, quite obvious since the package contains nearly everything:
- Good offers on mobiles for surfing.
- Everything you need in terms of talk time, SMS and data.
- FriFamilie offers unlimited minutes, SMS and MMS to family members.
- Telenor’s test winning mobile network.
“With Komplett Telenor is providing Norway’s best total solution in terms of mobile subscriptions. Everything is included here; talk time, SMS and data – and the customer gets a great price on a new mobile phone too. The total value of the subscription is actually higher than the monthly price,” says Svein Henning Kirkeng.
Komplett comes in Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large – and Control. Since the mobile user is getting a large package at a fixed price, there is great value included. Telenor will make this value known to customers, because the company wants to show everyone how big a price reduction the subscriptions represent as well as how much value is included in the subscriptions.
Reasonable packages for the windbags too
For those customers most interested in calling with a mobile, Telenor is offering Prat. Prat offers good call prices and predictable customised use. Varieties of Prat are named for how much talk time is included: Prat 100, Prat 400 and Prat 1200. Here too the customer gets very attractive prices on a new mobile phone – and again, FriFamilie and Telenor’s superb coverage are included.
Out with the old, in with the new
Sales of all current subscriptions ceases on Monday, 11 April 2011, and sales of Komplett and Prat starts the same day. Telenor will not be automatically moving customers from the old subscriptions to the new ones but it will be simple to change subscriptions.
“Our existing customers will be informed and guided by us via the Internet, e-mail and SMS, so that they can familiarize themselves with our new reasonably priced offers at a relaxed pace, and choose the package that best suits them, says Kirkeng. He points out that whether they go over to the new subscriptions or keep their existing ones is entirely up to the customer.
In closing Svein Henning Kirkeng points out that although Telenor is going the extra mile to fulfil wishes for reasonably priced mobiles for surfing, the company will still offer good package prices to those who want to keep their old mobiles, yet still benefit from Komplett or Prat.
Nokia R&D： 4 Windows Phone 7 Mobile Phones And 1 Win8 Tablet
Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop said, Nokia started to develop the first Windows Phone 7 mobile phone in a interview on last weekend.
Eldar Murtazin from Russia, revealed more news about Nokia Windows Phone 7 Plan, the “Chief Master of Exposure” of Nokia claimed that Nokia did not only start to develop one version of WP7 mobile phone, there were 4 versions of WP7 mobile phones and one version of Win8 tablet at least on their planning.
There are two new versions would meet the standards of Windows Phone 7 Chassis 1, which aimed at high-end market. The other two would meet the Nokia’s own standards of smart phone hardware, which aimed at midrange market.
According to the prior provisions of Microsoft, the minimum standards of hardware, including processors, memory, screen etc. ,for Windows Phone 7 system settings were strict,. But the limits would be broken after Nokia in cooperation with Microsoft, and cheaper WP7 mobile phones would be launched.
Windows 8 system of Microsoft would support ARM processor what give Nokia a new opportunity to launch a windows 8 tablet, making MeeGo system almost a tragedy.
TEN years ago, Gordon Brown, then the chancellor of the exchequer, was acclaimed for his prudence in using a windfall of £22.5 billion to pay down the national debt. The money came from auctioning off electromagnetic spectrum to mobile-phone operators in 2000. The likes of Vodafone and Orange needed the new bandwidth to launch third generation, or 3G, services, such as mobile internet access. Sadly for Mr Brown’s successor but one, George Osborne, nothing like as much will be raised by next year’s planned auction of new spectrum for 4G, the draft rules for which were announced on March 22nd.
The advantage of 4G over its predecessor boils down to greater speed: 4G mobile internet access could be much faster than home or office broadband connections, making it much easier to watch video content on phones or tablets. However, operators feel they overpaid in 2000, when the technology bubble was at its most inflated. This left them short of cash to invest in infrastructure, which is why coverage remains patchy in some rural parts of Britain. As a rough guide to what Mr Osborne can expect from the spectrum sale, Germany raised just €4.3 billion from its own 4G auction last year.
The government will want to squeeze as much revenue as it can from the sell-off, but it must also preserve competition in a consolidating industry. The recent merger of Orange and T-Mobile has left Britain with four mobile-phone operators: Everything Everywhere (the imperious name for the newly merged company), Vodafone, O2 and Three. That is a healthy number compared with some countries, such as America, where AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA would create what some regard as, in effect, a duopoly. But Three warns that it would struggle in an unrestrained bidding war with its larger rivals for the new spectrum. Without 4G services, it might be forced out of the market, cutting the number of operators to three.
Ed Richards, head of Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator, appears to share this concern. The draft auction rules surprised many in the industry by explicitly aiming to preserve four providers. Ofcom plans to do this by capping how much spectrum any one company can buy, and by forcing the auction to be repeated if four separate bids are not successful.
Ofcom is consulting on its plans and is likely to be deluged by lobbyists. Three wants the auction to compensate it for Ofcom’s decision, taken in January, to allow operators that already had 2G spectrum to convert it for 3G services. This gives its rivals wider geographical coverage and greater capacity to handle calls and web-browsing. Three, which only entered the market at the time of the 3G auction, has no 2G to exploit.
The bigger operators, for their part, might try to persuade Ofcom to dilute its commitment to maintaining four providers, or even go to court to argue that the rules give Three an illegally privileged position. The longer these arguments go on, the longer British consumers will have to wait for the benefits of 4G. They were among the first to enjoy 3G services, but the disputes between companies and regulators have allowed other countries, such as America, Japan and Sweden, to steal a march on 4G technology.
There are issues of social justice, and not just national pride and impatience, at stake. A “digital divide” has opened up in Britain in recent years: parts of the country still have slow broadband, or none at all. The emergence of 4G has been vaunted as part of the solution. Mobile phones are already rivalling fixed connections as the main way in which people access the internet. But even if Ofcom’s planned auction is delayed no further, Britain will not get 4G until at least 2013.
Clothes, books, tickets, music and gifts are hot items for mobile phone shoppers. Source: HWT Image Library
AUSTRALIANS used their mobile phones to shop online for about $150 million’s worth of items last year.
They bought clothing, books, gifts, tickets and music, but many are worried about security.
About 68 per cent of Australians would use mobile devices for purchases, transactions and payments in the near future, a Nielsen survey commissioned by PayPal shows.
The survey was designed to understand the size of the growing mobile shopping market, or “m-commerce”.
“There is an apparent desire for Australians to spend more via their mobile,” the survey of online mobile purchases said.
It showed the peak times for purchasing on a mobile were at lunch, in transit and at home after dinner.
More than three-quarters of 500 respondents said they want to be able to make purchases “on the go” and “at their convenience”.
The survey found that security fears about the ease of use posed “significant hindrances” for more mainstream adoption.