EE Power Bars Recalled Due to Safety Concerns – Again!

Mobile phones, tablets, handheld games consoles, many things these days can be charged off of a USB port and while many use their PC’s or laptops to charge their devices, some have taken to other ways to charge them. From a plug, a USB adapter or the more mobile solutions, people are able to store and charge with devices as small as your watch.EE made headline news when it revealed that it would be releasing their Power Bar’s, a small tube which you can plug into your phone or tablet and give it that last-minute boost.

EE made headline news when it revealed that it would be releasing their Power Bar’s, a small tube which you can plug into your phone or tablet and give it that last-minute boost. With the added incentive to be able to pop into any EE store and replace your drained power bar with a charged one, they became quite popular and many companies followed suit. That was until trouble struck. Back in April, EE gave out over a million Power Bars only to then have to recall any Power Bar with a E1-06 model number, thanks to the “small risk” of them bursting into flames and exploding.

This wouldn’t be too bad for them, except that EE has now identified a “very small number” of incidents where Power Bars can overheat, this means you could end up with a flaming battery in your pocket pretty quickly. As a result, EE is recalling every Power Bar that was ever handed out, as detailed in their statement released today on their website.

To help give you a little motivation if you are an “eligible” EE Customer, upon returning your Power Bar to an EE store, you will receive a £20 voucher.

With no information about a possible replacement or Power Bar Version 2.0, I can only praise EE for taking the hit and saying that the risk (no matter how small) is still too great.

EE Announce Plans to Block “Intrusive ads”

United Kingdom based mobile network EE (Merger of Orange and T-Mobile) have announced plans to offer ad blocking services to anyone using the mobile network.

Olaf Swantee, Everything Everywhere (EE) CEO, demonstrated this new feature himself showing what would happen to the Web if his company did block mobile ads. This feature is far from revolutionary, desktop users have been blessed with this for many years in the form of the popular Adblock Plus. In recent years, this software has made its way to mobiles and in the latest iOS 9, Apple has included a similar blocking feature for certain content.

The main use for Ad Blockers is more prominent on free to use games and services such as YouTube where an Ad may pop up between each song or every half way through a long video. By doing this, you are reducing the revenue being paid to the developers and uploaders of the content which is why we have seen a sharp rise in Pay-to-use services such as YouTube Red.

Swantee stated the aim was not to block all mobile ads, but the more intrusive ones. By this, we are assuming those highly annoying full-page ads that you sometimes encounter while trying to view certain webpages.

eMarketer predicted that UK marketers would spend around £3.2bn on mobile marketing for 2015. This list could become a marketing tool for EE who could then block all ads and sell specific ad spaces to selected companies.

Everywhere Sim Uses All Four Major UK Networks

Tired of having a poor signal on your mobile? For those who live in rural areas in the UK, signal issues can be tiresome, while those in built-up areas benefit from the fastest speeds, you may be struggling to find a single bar on your signal strength.

A Lancashire-based start-up may finally have the solution you’ve been waiting for. The company uses the O2 network as its home network, but thanks to deals with EE, Three and Vodafone, the sim allows your phone to jump to whichever network has the strongest signal at that time. The downside is that for now, it could be a little expensive if you use your device a lot, plus you’re only going to be limited to 3G services for now. However, if you’re having signal troubles, this could be a vital lifeline for you.

The basic pay-as-you-go sim will cost you 5p per minute for calls, 5p per SMS text message and 5p per megabyte of data. The costs remain the same regardless of which of the four major networks your phone is connected to. However, the sim cannot swap networks mid-call, so it’s best to see if it’s on the best network before you start dialing.

The service is still in its infancy, but it’ll be interesting to see how its services and more importantly, its tariffs, mature over time.

EE Unveil Action Camera with Built-In 4G

At a small event this morning in London, the UK’s largest mobile service provider EE unveiled the next stage of their “Connected Vison” plan. The 4GEE action camera.

It is essentially a GoPro camera, but has built-in 3g and 4g connectivity so you can stream your crazy videos direct from your device. You will be able to add it to your monthly plan for £10 per month and will be available from Jue 16th. So what are the specs?

  • 13-megapixel sensor
  • Can record at 1080p @ 30 FPS, 720p @ 60 FPS, 480p @ 120 FPS,
  • Still image capture resolution :(4288×3216).
  • Live streaming is limited to 720p @ 30 FPS.
  • F/2.8 lens
  • 4GB internal memory
  • SD Card Slot
  • 2260mAh internal battery

Streaming of the video will be done via EE’s own video streaming platform, Skeegle. This then uses permission from Facebook to decide who can view your streams. It will ship with several accessories. Once of which will be a Viewfinder Watch (for setting up your shot), an underwater enclosure that’s good at depths up to 60 meters and also an adapter to allow you to mount it on GoPro tripods and other accessories.

All this 4g streaming talk makes me wonder about data usage and caps. One hour of streaming will use around 1GB of data, EE charge roughly £30 for 5GB of data per month. You could buy the camera outright (£400) and then you get 2gb of data per month, for the year. You’ll also be able to get the camera on contract, with a £50 one off charge, then £15 per month after for 2GB of data allowance. Pretty tight eh?!

Thank you to ArsTechnia for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of ArsTechnica

Ebook Piracy Sites to Be Blocked by UK ISPs

Yesterday, the UK’s High Court ordered that websites carrying pirated ebooks should be blocked by the country’s internet service providers. The court ruled that an application made by The Publishers Association grants that the sites be blocked under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988). Within the next 10 days, BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, and EE will be legally obliged to block any and all sites deemed to be carrying copyrighted reading materials.

Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association, said of the victory:

“A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.

“We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognises the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites.”

Much like the MPAA, it seems that The Publishers Association hasn’t heard of proxies or VPNs, and I would not be surprised to discover that the cost of this legal action was more than any offset loss of sales through piracy by publishers.

Thank you The Publishers Association for providing us with this information.

EE Introduce Two Affordable Smartphones With 4G Capabilities

In the growing market of smartphones there is no denying that whilst the technology improves dramatically, prices still remain unaffordable to many, with new phones costing over £600 for a top of the line model. But now the UK mobile operator EE has announced 2 new smartphones, both of which have full 4G mobile internet support as well as WiFi calling, all whilst being under £200.

The 2 phones, named the Harrier and the Harrier Mini, offer up powerful competition to the current market giants, with the Harrier boasting an impressive 1.5Ghz 8-core processor, a 13MP rear facing camera, and a 5.2 Inch full HD screen all at £199.99 whilst the less powerful Harrier Mini crams in a 1.2hz quad core processor, 8MP Rear camera and a 4.7 inch 720p display at only £99.99. The phones are set to release of the 28th April, with EE rightfully called the Harrier Mini the “UK’s most affordable 4G smartphone with Wifi calling”, with the new phones holding the potential to revolutionize the current premium prices associated with the smartphone market or at least pave the way for more easily affordable and powerful phones in the market.

As well as the phones EE have announced 2 new mobile 4G hotspot device, the Osprey 2 and the Osprey 2 mini. The 4G devices will provide coverage for a total of 10 devices and are available at £69.99 for the Osprey 2 and £49.99 for the mini, although you may be able to get some free on selected contracts.

Hopefully we can expect other companies also trying to capitalise on the budget smartphone market, but will you sacrifice power over price?

Thank you Tech Radar for providing us with this information.

Voice-over-LTE Set to Launch in the UK on Three This Summer

The UK is laying the ground for an intense competition between carriers this summer. Three, the 4th largest mobile carrier in the country, has just announced that it will be launching its VoLTE feature in Q3 this year.

This means that Three will be competing with carriers such as Vodafone, who has already announced that it will be launching VoLTE, and EE, the UK’s largest carrier, who has similar plans in enabling the feature on its networks this year as well.

VoLTE is similar to VoIP, but operates over the 4G/LTE networks as data, compared to the previous “closed-circuit” calls on 2G and 3G. The result is said to bring faster call setup and crystal clear audio, while in turn making better use of the available spectrum.

This sounds pretty amazing, but there have also been a lot of battery performance issues with 4G smartphones in the past using this type of feature. However, new chipsets are said to be rolling out more optimized than their predecessors. But questions regarding what handsets will be compatible with the VoLTE networks still remain.

Three has not stated which devices will be compatible with its future VoLTE network, however handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 onwards should have no problem in connecting to it once it is launched.

EE 4G Speed Testing Hits 400Mbps in London Trial

EE, one of the biggest players in today’s mobile internet market has recently trialled this ‘Hyper-Local’ trial in London. They would like us to believe that this speed will be with us sometime in the future, by combining the LTE speeds of three (number not brand) carrier. Great, in theory, super speed mobile internet that is faster than most of our home fibre speed.

Even though EE would like this speed to be rolled out, they have a planned launch at Wembley next month. Real world speeds are expected to be around that of 150Mbps. That’s still better than most of our fibre speeds at home; more than enough to live tweet what you’re currently eating bite by bite or quickly check to watch a live feed of your neighbours dog giving birth while at a rugby match.

Let us know what you think of these ever-increasing speeds on our forums, over on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks to Gizmodo for this information

BT to Buy EE For £12.5 Billion

British Telecom is to buy mobile network Everything Everywhere (EE) for £12.5 Billion ($19 Billion). This unprecedented deal makes BT, an already giant organisation (owning much of the UK’s landline infrastructure), even bigger with the largest UK mobile network in the fold.

EE was formed as a partnership between Orange and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) in 2010. It currently has 31 million customers and the largest 4G customer base in Europe. This new deal will make BT exceptionally large – BT is already one of the world’s largest telecom companies, a company that consists of most of the assets that belonged to the UK’s state telecoms network before privatisation under Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. Deutsche Telekom will still have a part to play however – they will hold 12% of the new company, with a seat on the board.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out – whether EE will be rebranded as part of BT, or whether it will stay as a separate entity is something we don’t yet know.

Source: The Verge

Sky and TalkTalk Compete With Three for O2 Purchase

Until this week, Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the Three mobile network in the UK, was thought to be in pole position to buy rival network O2 from Telefonica. But now, Sky and TalkTalk have entered the fray, with Telefonica eager to sell its asset for £9 billion to pay off existing debts.

Sky and TalkTalk, both major UK providers of broadband services, are eager to expand into the mobile communications sector, with TalkTalk already engaged in a partnership deal with the Vodafone network, and running its own small network hosted by O2. Financial Times sources claim that Sky, carrying a large debt after a £7 billion European expansion, is thought to prefer a partnership deal with O2, rather than an outright buy-out.

BT is not considered to be interested in O2 since its £12.5 billion takeover of EE.

Source: Wired

BT in Exclusive Talks to Buy EE

BT have entered into exclusive talks to buy EE for £12.5 billion. The period of exclusivity will lasts “several weeks”, according to BT, to ensure enough time to negotiate a satisfactory deal.

Back in November, BT was linked with the purchase of either EE or Telefonica-owned O2. EE is the largest mobile network in the UK, with a 33.8% market share, according to Citigroup. As part of the proposed deal, EE’s owners, Deutsche Telecom and Orange, would take a 12% and 4% stake in BT, respectively. With its 12% stake, Deutsche Telecom would be entitled to appoint a member to BT’s board. BT issued a statement regarding the potential purchase, saying, “The proposed acquisition would enable BT to accelerate its existing mobility strategy.”

Source: BBC

Hutchison to Battle BT for EE and O2 Acquisition

Telecoms company Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the Three mobile network in the UK, has emerged as a contender to buy EE and O2 networks. BT was the first telecoms company linked with EE and O2, earlier this week, but it seems they might have competition from Hong Kong-based Hutchison, who are hopeful of buying up one of the two companies.

Three has a network sharing agreement with EE, which may be terminated should BT purchase the company, which might worry Hutchison. However, Hutchison has already purchased O2 Ireland, so may be inclined to continue the takeover. EE is valued at £11 billion, whereas O2 would be the cheaper option at £9.4 billion, but EE – a joint venture between Orange and Deutsche Telekom – is the largest network in the UK.

Source: telecoms tech

BT Confirmed to be in Talks to Buy EE

Just a few days after we reported on the news that BT is in talks to purchase O2, it’s now been confirmed that they’re also interested in Everything Everywhere – EE.

Deutsche Telekom and Orange, the two owners of EE, say that they are in the early “exploratory” stages of acquisition talks.

“Deutsche Telekom AG and Orange SA are having  highly preliminary exploratory discussions with British Telecom,  although it is too early to state whether any transaction may occur.  Deutsche Telekom and Orange will make further announcements if and when appropriate.”

This wave of acquisition talks from BT has come as no surprise. BT’s main source of income, landlines, has obviously been in decline with the rise of mobile devices and communication. That’s why many are seeing this as BT’s way of staying relevant in this new mobile world.

Source: The Next Web

 

UK Mobile Data Signal Hotspots Uncovered in New Map

Phone retailer, mobiles.co.uk has released a new crowdsourced map that reveals the true strength of mobile data coverage across the UK.

The map uses a handy colour code to show areas of strong and weak signal, offering the ability to separate coverage by 2G, 3G and 4G data reception. It also displays average speeds for a particular area and reports that the entire UK average for 4G connectivity stands at 14.7Mbps.

It also allows us to see where 4G has really caught on (in cities) and exactly where it hasn’t (mostly in the rural areas of Wales, Scotland and the North of England). We also get a chance to compare different networks, with the map suggesting that EE is the best for 4G, covering 75% of the UK.

Source: The Telegraph

BT Launches “One Phone” Mobile Service For Businesses


BT is returning to the mobile market for the first time in 10 years with its “One Phone” service that allows business users to make fixed-line and mobile phone calls using the same handset.

Designed specifically towards small and midsize-businesses (SMBs), One Phone lets users to transfer all home, office and mobile calls directly to a smartphone.  All that is required is a BT SIM card and a picocell in the office to help broadcast the 4G signal.

Once an employee leaves the office and enters the field, calls will be transferred to EE networks – and includes access to BT’s Wi-Fi hotspots, which number more than five million.

Here is what Graham Sutherland, BT business chief executive said:

“With an increasingly mobile and demanding workforce, businesses need communications technology that is as flexible as they are.  Missed calls mean missed business.”

Mobile is an “exciting area” for the company, as the communications market is largely leaving behind traditional land lines and transitioning towards mobile solutions.

BT One could also be a test platform for the company to jump into the consumer mobile market before the end of the year, though nothing has been confirmed just yet.  However, the consumer offering is expected to transfer between 4G in the office/home and use EE’s network or Wi-Fi.

Thank you to FT for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Manchester Evening News

Highspeed Cows Hit Glastonbury With 4GEE – “It’s Udderly Fast”

One of the most globally recognised music festivals – Glastonbury – has this morning kicked off in the Somerset hills of South-West England and like any other music festival, staying current is a fundamental value that organisers have to take into account. Keeping Glastonbury current is not just about ensuring that the headline acts are secured and that there is enough space to cram in over 135,000 people, as well as the tent space, food, 4000 toilets, 2m litres of water on tap plus the capacity to generate the 30,000 megawatts of electricity that is needed to power everything. In 2014 we need internet, and lots of it.

As social media is more on an integral part of our lifestyle and culture, EE have taken it upon themselves to provide as much of the festival with high-speed 4GEE internet as they can – all for free. Obviously wiring up a mesh network with a ton of access points is not going to be an easy operation so EE have instead created a herd of fibreglass cattle that stand around the site acting as wireless hotspots – allowing anyone with a wireless device to connect to them to upload their favourite photos, video clips and stories to the rest of the world whilst not worrying about a mobile signal.

The cow design came as inspiration from the award-winning herd of cattle that reside at Worthy Farm and keeping in with the Glastonbury ethos, the entire herd have been hand painted by one of the festivals legendary artists – Hank, after which they are placed in key locations around the site to provide high-speed wireless to as many people as they can.

Running from 10am to 10pm each day from Thursday to Sunday, the WiFi enabled cows are just one part of the infrastructure that EE are bringing to this years festival, with 100 contact-less payment terminals stretching across the 25 main bars, along with ‘Cash on Tap’ facilities for EE customers, where they can pay for items up to the value of £20 as long as they have a compatible phone.

Source & images courtesy: EE

EE to Offer Voice Calls, Text Messaging via Wi-Fi

UK wireless carrier EE is launching a program for subscribers to make voice calls and send text messages over Wi-Fi, promising sound quality better than what’s provided by Skype.

The company has invested upwards of £275 million to try to eliminate white spots throughout the UK. Many customers living and working in parts of the UK with poor phone coverage complained about the inability to receive calls and text messages.

The Wi-Fi calling is scheduled to launch this call, EE confirmed in a press statement. In addition, here is what Fotis Karonis, EE Chief Technology Officer, said:

“Our Wi-Fi calling capability will let customers make calls where they have access to Wi-Fi but not to the mobile network. The customer experience is seamless because it’s the same as making a network call and uses the normal call interface of the handset. This is a major part of our strategy to invest in giving customers the ability to make a call wherever they are, and we’re confident that this service can make a big difference to people in homes and large offices across the country, especially in the most rural areas, that don’t have mobile coverage.”

It’s a clever offering from EE, understanding that clients living in areas with poor 2G, 3G or 4G network coverage still should have the ability to make and receive dependable phone calls.

Thank you to EE for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Bristol Bulletin

Blue HTC One Now Available In The UK and Blue One Mini To Arrive Shortly

The blue HTC One launched in the US last month, and now the handset is available in the UK from mobile retailer the Carphone Warehouse. The Blue HTC One is available with a number of different carriers through the mobile retailer, the handset is available from free on contracts which start at £32 per month. The Carphone Warehouse are offering the Blue HTC One with all of the major UK carriers, the list includes EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three.

Hardware wise the handset has the same specifications as the existing model, which include Android Jelly Bean, and a 4.7 inch full high-definition display. The display on the HTC one comes with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, the handset is powered by a quad-core 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 processor from Qualcomm, and it also features an Adreno 320 GPU. The devices features 2GB of RAM and a choice of either 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage, it also features HTC’s new Ultrapixel camera.

There are no details as yet on when the blue HTC One will be available off contract SIM free, however it should be made available in time.

Thank you Geeky Gadgets for providing us with this information.

Images  courtesy of Geeky Gadgets.

Qualcomm Unveils World’s First Global LTE Baseband Chip

Qualcomm comes to the rescue of travelers and companies who have to deal with LTE fragmentation. The companies introduced a new chipset model; the RF360 which will enable the devices to use about 40 different frequencies and seven cellular modes used by mobile carriers around the world.

The Qualcomm RF360 also allows the device to consume less power, heat and thickness, and an improved antenna. The dynamic antenna matching tuner helps to extend the antenna range to operators over 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE frequency bands ranging from 700- 2700MHz. The chip has an integrated CMOS power amplifier and antenna switch and therefore requires only a small PCB area compared to its predecessors and helps with simplified routing.

The devices with the newer Qualcomm chipset are anticipated for launch by the second half of 2013.

This will help handset makers (such as Apple) to deal with issues where they have to face a hassle of providing a handset to work with 40 different LTE broadband frequencies. Its important to having a chipset that has global support for the majority of the carriers around the world.

As of now, the company has taken an early lead in the growing LTE baseband market by shipping about 47 Million LTE-capable units last year, which accounts for 86% of the world total. However, Qualcomm needs to watch out for Nvidia and Broadcom as they’re planning to grab a piece of the rapid growing LTE market as both of the companies have achieved their personal milestones. Qualcomm’s RF630 is just what it needs to dominate in the LTE chipset market until the time its competitors work on something but it’s just a matter of time that Nvidia and Broadcom will catch up!

The LTE baseband market itself had an 18% year-on-year reach of about 18 billion. Transition to 4G LTE is also going to be a hit in developing countries such as China and India, although in India there’s always a “never-getting-old” issue of unrealistic data caps, fair usages and ridiculous pricing policies.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/4KtsqA8HDXY[/youtube]

The VP of Qualcomm Technology Alex Katouzian said,”Our new RF devices are tightly integrated and will allow us the flexibility and scalability to supply OEMs of all types, from those requiring only a region-specific LTE solution, to those needing LTE global roaming support.