Mobile Operator Three to Block Ads at Network Level

Three, the phone network with a focus on mobile internet, has announced that it will begin blocking ads at a network level within the UK and Italy, the first network in Europe to do so. In partnership with Israeli company Shine, Three will introduce adblocking over the next few months, with a “rapid roll-out” to other Three networks to follow.

Three promises that it will not block all ads – “Our objective in working with Shine is not to eliminate mobile advertising,” the statement reads – but those that negatively impact customer experience. “Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience,” Tom Malleschitz, Three UK Chief Marketing Officer, said.

Three has outlined, aptly, three “principal goals” for introducing adblocking:

  1. That customers should not pay data charges to receive adverts.  These should be costs borne by the advertiser.
  2. That customers’ privacy and security must be fully protected. Some advertisers use mobile ads to extract and exploit data about customers without their knowledge or consent.
  3. That customers should be entitled to receive advertising that is relevant and interesting to them, and not to have their data experience in mobile degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts.

“These goals will give customers choice and significantly improve their ad experience,” Malleschitz added. “We don’t believe customers should have to pay for data usage driven by mobile ads. The industry has to work together to give customers mobile ads they want and benefit from.”

Google Wireless Plan to Offer Free Roaming Abroad

 

A new report from The Telegraph suggests that Google is to enter into a partnership with Three network owner Hutchison Whampoa to offer smartphone use abroad without customers incurring roaming charges, according to “industry sources”.

The free roaming plans include voice calls, SMS and internet data, with the cost of each limited to existing contract agreements. Hutchison Whampoa, which owns UK-based Three and operates a number of other networks across the globe, would allow Google to use its networks as part of the agreement.

Google’s Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai announced plans to offer a “small scale” wireless service only last month, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 2nd March.

Though Google has no plans “for the foreseeable future” to offer network coverage to European customers, an agreement with operators within Europe means it would be well-placed to do so should it change its mind.

Both Hutchison Whampoa and Google declined to comment on the story.

Source: Mashable

Three Beat Sky and TalkTalk to £10.25 Billion Purchase of O2

Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong-based owner of UK mobile network Three, has confirmed its purchase of rival network O2 from Spanish telecoms company Telefonica for £10.25 billion.

Hutchison has trumped both Sky and TalkTalk to complete the deal, which as agreed requires £9.25 billion up-front from Hutchison, with a further £1 billion deferred payment, making Three and O2 combined the biggest mobile operator in the UK, taking a 41% share of the market.

“The deal remains subject to satisfactory due diligence over O2 UK, agreement on terms, signing of definitive agreements, and obtaining required corporate and regulatory approvals,” a spokesperson for Hutchison Whampoa said.

Telefonica were desperate to sell O2 in order to pay off its existing debts, but managed to get £1 billion more for the company than early reports suggested.

Source: The Guardian

Owner of Three Network in Talks to Buy O2

Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong conglomerate that owns UK mobile operator Three, is in talks to buy rival network O2, owned by Telefonica. According to the Sunday Times newspaper, Hutchison will pay up to £9 billion for O2.

Telefonica is said to be keen to leave the UK to help pay off debts, hiring investment bank UBS AG to explore exit strategies, and going so far as to consider floating O2’s shares for public sale. Hutchison are being helped by Moelis & Co to pursue possible deals within the UK.

All parties involved, including Moelis & Co and UBS AG, have declined to comment on the potential sale.

Source: Bloomberg

Mobile Network Vulnerability Means Hackers Could Listen in to Calls

A vulnerability in mobile networks has been discovered that allows hackers to monitor phone calls and track user locations. The weakness, part of the SS7 global mobile network, has been around for a long time, built in as part of a function that keeps calls connected when a phone is on the move, switching between different mobile towers, and researchers don’t know how much it has been exploited.

SS7 was built into mobile networks as a key component during the Eighties, so no amount of security updates or encryptions can remove it, and since the weakness exists worldwide, hackers don’t need to be near a mobile phone to be able crack into it.

“I doubt we are the first ones in the world who realize how open the SS7 network is,” said Tobias Engel, a German researcher who helped find the vulnerability.

A hacking conference in Hamburg will openly discuss the flaw later in December. As long as SS7 remains in use, security experts recommend no sharing any private or sensitive information over a mobile voice call.

Source: The Independent

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

Qualcomm QFE1100 Envelope Tracking Chip To Improve Nexus 5 Battery Life

According to latest news, Qualcomm has revealed that the new Google Nexus 5 not only features the company’s fastest mobile processor, the Snapdragon 800 SoC, but also features a certain Qualcomm QFE1100 envelope tracking chipset, which is a front-end for OEMs to design global 4G LTE compatible devices, like the Nexus 5. This isn’t the first time that the QFE1100 is being used in a Smartphone. Samsung was first to the finish line with the Galaxy Note 3, launched nearly two months ago.

“The Nexus 5 also utilizes the Qualcomm QFE1100 feature, an important component of the upcoming Qualcomm RF360 Front End, a comprehensive, system-level solution that allows OEMs to develop a single, global 4G LTE design.”

Qualcomm states that the new chipset offers 30% lesser heat and 20% decreased power consumption. Thanks to the improvements made by the chip designer, the Nexus 5 will last longer while being used over 3G/4G networks than any other device with a similar battery capacity and internal specifications.

“The QFE1100 feature is the world’s first envelope tracking (ET) technology for 3G/4G LTE devices and offers significant performance improvements, including reduced heat by up to 30%t and decreased power consumption by up to 20%, enabling thinner form factors with longer battery life.”

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Anandtech

New Location Settings To Be Added in Android 4.4 KitKat

The old Android location services will be revamped on the new Android 4.4 KitKat release. It seems that the “Location Access” area will be called simply “Locations” and the Location ON/OFF switch will be moved from the area that used to be called “Access to my location” to the top right corner.

Furthermore, the two Location Sources features, GPS satellites and Wi-Fi & Mobile Network will be replaced with three new features. The first is “High Accuracy” which uses the GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile (but uses more battery), the second “Battery saving” which uses Wi-Fi and mobile networks and of course as the name says, it saves battery. The third is Device sensors only, which only uses the internal GPS receiver, but of course will take a long time to get your actual position.

The rumor is still to be treated as a rumor, at least for now, but given the images and looking from a logical point of view, there are high chances that the rumors will be true. There is a hint pointed to a launch date for the Android 4.4 on October the 15th, but we will have to wait and see what happens.

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Android Police.