Posts tagged plans
Making calls with your cell phone while traveling abroad can be a hefty investment. Domestic carriers have a wide range of international calling plans and roaming fees that can quickly add up.
But there are some alternatives coming onto the market.
Canadian company Polar Wireless has come out with a “global key chip,” a thin SIM card that can be inserted into most GSM (which account for more than 80 percent of the market) and some CDMA cell phones, which allows users to bypass their carrier’s roaming fees.
Polar Wireless’ average rates are 28 cents per minute, compared to what the company claims are the average international carrier rates of $2.59 per minute.
Polar Wireless subscribers with GSM devices will be able to take their phone (with their existing phone number) to 213 countries with 500 partner carrier networks. They will have access to voice, data and texting services. The company says it provides carrier grade connectivity via standard cell phone towers globally.
Polar Wireless touted that one of the advantages of the global key chip over mobile services such as Skype or Google Talk is that those require Wi-fi, which is not available everywhere.
Another option is getting a global phone. Tour company Big Five Tours & Expeditions has partnered with Wireless Traveler to promote Wireless Traveler’s global phones, which can be purchased for between $95 and $180. With the Wireless Traveler plan, the phones work in more than 200 countries and have no monthly fees.
Users are charged per call and per text. So, for example, if you’re with your phone in France, an outgoing call to the U.S. costs 65 cents per minute and outgoing texts to the U.S. are 38 cents per minute. Incoming calls and texts from the U.S. to your phone in France are free. Rates vary depending on which country you’re in and which country you’re calling to, so it’s worth comparing and doing the math compared to your carrier’s calling plan.
More from Budget Travel:
Using Your Cell Phone in Europe
What’s the biggest phone bill you’ve ever been socked with after returning from a trip?
What’s the best social network for travel?
China Telecom Plans to Buy Wireless Network From Parent March 22, 2011, 4:54 AM EDT
By Bloomberg News
(Updates with comment from analyst in fourth paragraph.)
March 22 (Bloomberg) — China Telecom Corp., the country’s biggest fixed-line carrier, said it plans to buy the mobile- phone network it now leases from its parent company after the number of users more than tripled in the past year.
China Telecom will complete the purchase of the third- generation CDMA mobile phone network by the end of next year, Chairman Wang Xiaochu said at a press conference in Hong Kong today. He said the network is valued at about 90 billion yuan ($14 billion) and that the purchase will be funded with debt. He said a price for the acquisition hasn’t been decided.
China Telecom boosted the number of 3G phone users to 12.3 million at the end of last year, from 4.1 million a year earlier, by increasing the variety of handsets on offer. The network purchase will raise earnings, Wang said. The listed- company’s CDMA network capacity lease fee rose 59 percent to 13.3 billion yuan last year, the company said today.
“The reason why they are buying the network is because the leasing fee they are currently paying to the parent company is more than the depreciation of the assets and related finance charges,” Kelvin Ho, a Shanghai-based analyst at Yuanta Securities Co., said in a phone interview today. “If they buy, it will be cheaper and they will save costs. The parent will try to price it attractively so it will be accretive.”
China Telecom rose 2.3 percent to HK$4.49 at the 4 p.m. close of trading in Hong Kong.
The company said today profit excluding gains from connection fees rose 42 percent to 2.67 billion yuan in the three months ended Dec. 31. Sales rose 5.1 percent to 56.2 billion yuan.
–Mark Lee and Ed Lococo. Editors: Chua Kong Ho, Vipin V. Nair
To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org; Edmond Lococo in Beijing at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at firstname.lastname@example.org
Human rights campaigners have expressed concerns over plans to track every mobile phone user in Beijing through global positioning technology.
Chinese media reported this week that pilot schemes were being introduced for an “information platform of real-time citizen movement” to help with traffic management.
Li Guoguang, deputy director of the Beijing municipal science and technology commission, said the project would be used to tackle congestion by allowing officials to monitor the flow of people through the transport system.
“To some degree, [it] can effectively increase citizens’ travelling efficiency and ease traffic jams,” he told the Beijing Daily.
He added that citizens would be able to buy the information, although more sensitive information – such as the location of individuals – would not be available.
But while Beijing’s roads are increasingly congested, experts say there are plenty of ways to assess and manage traffic and suggest the project is bound to be used for security purposes too.
“Certainly the use of the platform will not be limited to gathering traffic information. Officials in other areas, such as anti-terrorism and stability maintenance, will also find it useful,” Chen Derong, professor of wireless communications at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, told the South China Morning Post.
“I think despite the excuse of traffic control this is part of the escalation of the use of technologies to control social discontent,” said Wang Songlian of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders network. She pointed out that last year the government introduced compulsory registration for anyone buying a sim card.
“A lot of activists have said their cell phones are already tracked by security forces. They use it to locate where people are and whether other activists are going there,” she said.
But she added: “For ordinary people, the government is worried about social unrest. Often there’s a spark somewhere and everyone gathers and puts out information. By registering people and tracking them, it enables them to find out about particular protests and punish individuals.”
China National Radio said the municipal government hoped to start the project in two parts of the capital within the first half of this year.
A planning application has been put forward by two mobile phone companies to install a telephone mast at a rugby ground in Coventry.
Vodafone and O2 are proposing to install and share a 15m mobile telephone mast at the side of the Old Coventrians Rugby Football Club in Tile Hill Lane.
There have been six objections to the plan, which is set to go before Coventry City Council’s planning committee on Thursday.
One resident said there was no justification for the transmitter near a residential area, another raised concerns about other masts already existing on the site and others raised concerns on health grounds.
The council’s planning officers have advised the mast will only be acceptable in a residential area if applicants can show there are no alternative sites available and it is not visible from people’s windows or road junctions.
In the report, planning officer Kurt Russell, wrote: “Concern has been raised regarding the location of the equipment, and whether a site in the countryside or in an industrial area would be better.”
The application will be discussed by the planning committee on Thursday from 11am.
The European Commission will have to consider radical new measures to reduce the cost of mobile roaming charges after almost all respondents to its consultation said prices were unfair.
European roaming prices are currently more than three times that of domestic charges. Even Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes on Monday described the current charges as “rip offs.” And the prices for data roaming are even higher. “The consumer often pays less than 5 cents for downloading a MB of data at home, but this may turn into 2.60 Euro per MB when the same consumer crosses an invisible border!”"said Kroes.
This is despite efforts by the Commission to bring prices down. Caps on roaming were introduced in 2007. Travelers’ data-roaming limit is by default set at €50 (US$67) excluding VAT and operators must send users a warning when they reach 80 percent of that. Customers may alter this limit, but the aim of the default setting was to remove the so-called “shock bill” received by many customers on return from abroad.
These rules will apply until the end of June 2012, but the Commission is due to present new plans by June this year aimed at getting closer to the target of zero difference between roaming and national tariffs by 2015.
One idea is to unbundle roaming services from other mobile services, allowing customers to purchase roaming independently of their national mobile provider. Such a move could create an entirely new telecom market.
Other suggestions include legislation to mandate a direct lick between roaming tariffs and domestic prices. “Initial indications from our consultation suggest strong support for continuing price regulation. A significant number of respondents seem to accept that some form of retail price regulation would also need to be introduced for data roaming,” said Kroes.
A Eurobarometer survey, also released on Monday, revealed that 72 percent of European mobile phone users limit their voice calls while abroad because they are worried about the cost, while about one in five has cut down their use of roaming services in the past four years.
Meanwhile, Ryanair on Monday launched a roaming service together with Maxroam. Although it claims to be “the world’s first free mobile phone roaming service” customers still have to pay for making calls at a fixed rate of €0.29 per minute, and for sending texts at €0.09 each. But Ryanair has also offered 1 million free minutes for incoming calls.
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[February 04, 2011]
Plans for new phone mast [Sentinel, The (Stoke-on-Trent, England)]
(Sentinel, The (Stoke-on-Trent, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A MOBILE phone mast is planned for grassland.
Vodafone wants to put the 17.5-metre (57ft) mast with three 3G antennas on land off Westmill Street in Joiners Square Industrial Estate.
Plans for the structure, which will be surrounded by a 2.4 metre (7.8ft) fence, have been submitted to planning officers at Stoke-on- Trent City Council for approval.
Vodafone says the mast will improve its network coverage and capacity in Hanley and Shelton. And the mast will be set back from the highway in the yard of a commercial premises.
A decision on the proposal is expected to be made by council officers using delegated powers by the end of March.
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Washington – The co-chairs of the Congressional Privacy Caucus have sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, seeking detailed information on the company’s recent announcement that it would share users’ addresses and mobile phone numbers with developers. Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) pose 11 questions to Zuckerberg in their letter, asking how Facebook developed and vetted the feature; what led the company to suspend roll out after it had been announced; how the company is adjusting the feature prior to re-enabling it; how consumers will be able to opt-out; and whether consideration was given to risks in children and teenagers disclosing their addresses and mobile phone numbers.
The letter also pointedly asks, “Why is Facebook, after previously acknowledging in a letter to Reps. Markey and Barton that sharing a Facebook User ID could raise user concerns, subsequently considering sharing access to even more sensitive personal information such as home addresses and phone numbers to third parties?”
“Facebook needs to protect the personal information of its users to ensure that Facebook doesn’t become Phonebook,” Rep. Markey said in a statement.
“The computer — especially with sites like Facebook — is now a virtual front door to your house allowing people access to your personal information. You deserve to look through the peep hole and decide who you are letting in,” Rep. Barton added.
Zuckerberg and Facebook were given until Feb. 23 to respond to the lawmakers’ queries.
http://tinyurl.com/4mxhgqj (Rep. Markey statement)
Anger over plans for St Giles phone mast
8:30am Thursday 27th January 2011
A BID to erect a mobile phone mast near the Oxford War Memorial in St Giles has come under fire.
Vodafone has submitted a planning application to erect the 12-metre mast at the north end of one of the country’s most historic and beautiful streets.
The news has outraged conservationists who say the proposal would damage a world famous streetscape and bring clutter to a prominent and sensitive landmark.
The war memorial is sited on a traffic island in front of St Giles Church, where Woodstock Road and Banbury Road meet.
Nicholas Purcell, a don at St John’s College, said when people learnt about the “brutally insensitive” application they would be outraged.
Mr Purcell, a history don based in nearby Wellington Place, said: “This streetscape is of high architectural significance, ranking with the High Street and Broad Street as an essential part of the internationally important urban environment of central Oxford.
“The greatest care was accordingly taken some years ago over the design of the lighting columns. The environment is already threatened by ugly signage. Additions to the street furniture must be rejected.”
Debbie Dance, director of Oxford Preservation Trust, said: “It is unthinkable that this will be allowed.
“St Giles is a wonderful Oxford space.
“The suggestion that there should be a telecom mast is a nonsense.”
Ilana Clark, a spokesman for Vodafone, said: “Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live work and travel.
“Base stations are low- powered devices which only cover approximately half-a -mile in radius and therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.
“We have identified that we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Oxford and have proposed a base station on St Giles.
“To minimise visual intrusion the proposed structure is as short as possible and has a slimline design.”
Visitors at China Telecom’s booth at PT EXPO COMM CHINA 2010, held at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing. Fan Song / For China Daily
China Telecom Corporation aims to increase the number of its 3G users to 35 million this year, and 10 million of them could be 3G smart phone users, Wang Xiaochu, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, said on Tuesday.
The company did not reveal the exact number of current 3G users, but industry analysts said the figure probably surpassed 11 million by the end of last year.
The number of China Telecom subscribers reached 93 million by the end of 2010, an increase of 34 million from the previous year.
“We expect China Telecom will have more than 100 million subscribers by the first quarter of this year. The number of newly added mobile phone users will surpass that of 2010,” Wang said at a industry conference in Beijing.
“During the past two years, especially in 2010, we saw a breakthrough in the CDMA chain. We broke the bottleneck of insufficient numbers of handset,” Wang added.
The company provided 800 CDMA device models in 2010 and terminal sales rose 50 percent to more than 45 million units.
Domestic demand for CDMA terminals is expected to surpass 60 million this year, and more than half of those will be 3G phones, Wang said.
He suggested mobile phone manufacturers should step up production of 3G smartphones, especially those handsets with a price range of between 700 yuan ($106) to 2,000 yuan, which are most popular smartphone models in China.
“China Telecom also wants to bring ‘Made-in-China’ handsets to overseas CDMA operators,” Wang said.
China Telecom’s 3G network has the most extensive coverage among the three domestic carriers, with full coverage at county level since 2009. Meanwhile, 77 percent of villages and towns across China can use China Telecom’s 3G services.
Wang said China Telecom has the lowest rate in terms of customer loss.
“It means that once a customer starts to use the CDMA network and experience our products and services, they are unlikely to abandon it,” he added.
Wang did not say whether China Telecom would introduce the CDMA iPhone to China, as “negotiations are under way”.
3G mobile devices have become the first choice for domestic consumers when they consider changing their cell phones, according to a survey conducted by news portal sina.com.
Sina’s research showed that 30 percent of Chinese people chose a 3G phone at the beginning of 2010, with that figure rising significantly to 70 percent by the end of the year.
Source: China Daily