O2 CEO Says Mobile Ad Blocking “Isn’t The Answer”

A few days ago, mobile giant Three, announced plans to block adverts on a network level and provide a more enjoyable user-experience. It’s important to remember that only “irrelevant and excessive mobile ads” will be blocked which ensures unobtrusive ads can still bring in revenue. This seems like a sensible balance and I applaud Three’s decision to tackle mobile advertising in a direct manner. However, this viewpoint isn’t shared by O2’s (Telefonica) CEO Ronan Dunne. In an interview with Campaign at MWC, Dunne claimed ad blocking “isn’t the answer”. To be fair, Dunne did criticize companies employing intrusive adverts. Although he clearly believes a widespread network level blocking policy is flawed. Dunne also went onto say:

“In this market there is an imbalance between the interests of the consumers being supported and the interests of advertisers, and both are legitimate, but there doesn’t seem to be a fair balance.”

“The challenge is, if more and more ads are trying to be squeezed into the same time of consumption, that was never a deal that the advertising industry or brands ever signed up to.”

“What we’ve seen with some of the research we’ve done is, if it’s relevant and contextual, a lot of customers are comfortable with advertising. Good, well-considered advertising is akin to curation – it’s actually delivering value to customers.”

“It’s when it’s unsought and it disrupts their ability to consume the content that they’re after that it’s a problem. The current environment isn’t tenable, so it has to evolve.”

I’m not entirely convinced by the notion that customers accept adverts especially when you consider how many people use Adblock plugins on PCs. There’s a battle ranging between advertisers, and content providers trying to make money, and consumers wanting a clean and enjoyable experience. Wired recently waged a war on readers using Adblock and decided to block access to their site. This story across web and mobile is going to be so important and could dramatically alter the future of media companies.

Image courtesy of onwindows.com

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.

Microsoft’s Band Gadget Finally Lands on the UK Market

Having a desk job is extremely stressing and messes with your body, this is why doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes workout per day. This helps relieve stress and keep you in shape both physically and mentally. But why not track your activity and health with the latest fitness and health bands on the market?

If you are living in the UK and wanted the Microsoft Band, the company appears to have started to offer it for a price tag of £169.99. The band seems to help keep track of activities such as heart rate, sun exposure, stress levels, calories burned and quality of sleep.

The Band connects to any iOS, Android or Windows Phone device via its companion app and offers customizable workouts. Whether you want to burn a lot of calories or just want to have a balanced diet, the Band and its app are available to help you with that.

Also, Microsoft’s gadget can be controlled with commands sent to Cortana, the company’s personal assistant and Siri’s rival. Is this why Cortana aims to arrive on the iOS and Android markets in the near future? Will Microsoft’s personal assistant squeeze its way into other mobile operating systems and offer integrated support in other applications too? We don’t have the answer for the latter questions, but time is bound to reveal the answer to that.

As far as the Band is concerned, you can order one from retailers such as Amazon, Harrods, Currys, O2 or even Microsoft’s Store itself. How do you find Microsoft’s health and fitness gadget? Are you planning on acquiring one yourself?

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Video courtesy of TheNextWeb and image courtesy of Digital Trends

O2 Sold to Three for over £10 Billion

The deal has been finalised and the British operation of Telefónica, O2, has been sold to Three. The people behind Three, Hutchison Whampoa have signed the final deal and O2 is being sold for £10.25 billion (€14 billion).

The sales price is divided into £9.25 billion in cash and another £1 billion “once the cumulative cash flow of the combined company in the UK has reached an agreed threshold”.

The next step will most likely be the removal of the O2 brand as the two companies get merged and Three will get a lot more customers and infrastructure at their disposal. While it removes one competitor from the market, it strengthens another. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long run.

Thanks to Coolsmartphone for providing us with this information

Complaints Rise Concerning Emoticons Racking Up Mobile Bills

The BBC reports today that an increasing number of UK mobile phone users have been complaining about emoticons racking up their bills. They say that money-focused website, MoneySavingExpert has received a significant number of complaints about sky-high bills thanks to emoticons and “other symbols”.

Apparently, a number of people have been caught out unaware that their network may treat the sending of emoticons, symbols and even e-mail addresses, as an MMS rather than a SMS. These messages typically cost significantly more than standard text messages and do not count as part of unlimited texts deals included on some contracts.

While many say that the issue is the fault of networks, O2 told the BBC that customers should be cautious when sending such messages.

“If a customer is using a smartphone to send text messages to more than one person at the same time, they could be charged the cost of sending an MMS. It can also happen when the message contains icons, emoticons and symbols or an email address. 

And some apps (such as Facebook) that integrate with a customer’s contact list in their smartphone may result in an MMS charge too,”

Source: BBC News

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

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

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

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

List of Blocked Torrent Sites in the UK Doubles

The High Court has ruled that 53 torrent websites be prohibited by UK Internet Service Providers, in the largest mass blocking yet. The list of sites include BitSoup, IP Torrents, Isohunt, Sumotorrent, Torrentdb, Torrentfunk, Torrentz, Warez BB, and Rapid Moviez. The Motion Picture Association (MPA) is responsible for submitting 32 of the requests.

The ISPs obliged to comply with the order are Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2, and Virgin.

Chris Marcich, president of the MPA’s European division, said, “Securing court orders requiring ISPs to block access to illegal websites is an accepted and legitimate measure to tackle online copyright infringement.”

According to Ernesto Van Der Sar, editor of Torrentfreak, the move will deter very few from accessing their favourite torrent site, explaining, “It deters a few people who can’t access their usual sites, but most people will try to find ones that are not yet blocked or use VPNs or proxy sites to get the same content.”

Source: BBC

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

 

BT in Talks to Buy O2

 

BT has confirmed that it is in talks to buy back 02, a company which it sold to Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica over a decade ago.

The move would make BT a major player in the UK mobile network market, a market that BT has been interested in joining for some time. BT recently signed up to use EE’s network as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, MVNO.

Engadget points out that BT already owns its own 4G spectrum, but that is not nearly enough to make it a major player in the mobile network business. Purchasing o2 however, would certainly expand BT’s current operations massively.

Interestingly, Telefonica would receive a 20 percent stake in BT if the deal took place, with the two forming a “strategic alliance”.

Source: Engadget 

LG Announced Fireweb Phone Running On Firefox OS

LG Electronics’ new smartphone based on Firefox OS offers slightly better hardware specs than competing products. Firefox OS is built around applications written in HTML5. Mozilla Foundation is pitching it as a better option for low-end smartphones, and devices running it will compete head-to-head with cheap Android smartphones and with devices from other platforms such as Nokia’s Asha.

The smartphone has a 4-inch display with a 480 x 320 pixel resolution and is powered by a 1GHz chip from Qualcomm. It also has 2GB of storage and a 5-megapixel camera. That compares to the ZTE Open and to Alcatel One Touch’s Fire, both of which have 3.5-inch screens and 3.2-megapixel cameras.

The phone will come with version 1.1 of Firefox OS, which Mozilla launched earlier this month. The upgrade improves application load times and has smoother scrolling, Mozilla said at the time. It also includes new features such as MMS messaging and enhancements to email, contacts management and calendar.

Telefonica will also launch devices with Firefox OS in Peru, Uruguay and Mexico in the next couple of days, it said. The operator already sells smartphones with the OS in Spain, Colombia and Venezuela which have exceeded expectations, as a spokesman said via email.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of PCWorld.

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.

Pro Overclocker 8Pack Gives Overclocking Demo At The O2 Arena

Pro Overclocker 8Pack Gives Overclocking Demo At The O2 Arena


Amongst the global community of computer enthusiasts, there are many that dream of having a system that was faster but without having to pay high amounts of money in some cases to get just that. Fortunately for many people, the process of overclocking their systems comes straight to mind and with ease they are able to unlock some extra free performance from their existing components by a process of tweaking setting mainly in the system BIOS.

For a large majority of users however, the idea of doing just that or the thought of playing around in the systems BIOS without the knowledge of what to do is what holds them back and even with many online guides for overclocking available, sadly there’s not too many chances where some of these users get the change to get a workshop based look in to overclocking 101.

This week at the o2 arena in London, Students from all over the world have honed in on the area for a week long technology festival where they can get together with other like minded people and interact in the world’s biggest electronic entertainment event.

Campus Party is an annual week long, 24-hours-a-day technology festival where thousands of “Campuseros” (hackers, developers, gamers and technophiles), equipped with laptops, camp on-site and immerse themselves in a truly unique environment.

Recognized as the biggest electronic entertainment event in the world, Campus Party unites the brightest young minds in technology and science under the idea that “the Internet is not a network of computers, it’s a network of people.”

The festival features over 500 hours of talks, debates, workshops, competitions and hackathons related to science, innovation, digital entertainment and creativity. Additionally, hundreds of hours of ad-hoc events are planned by participants and continue throughout the night.

The overclocking workshop was undertaken by a group of of enthusiasts wh0 included Ian Cutress, the UK’s #1 enthusiast overclocker, Kenny ‘K404’ and finally Overclockers UK’s very own Ian ‘8Pack’ Parry. As part of the 101, the workshop was split into two parts with the first part relating to the fundamentals of overclocking – ie what it is, why we do it, what we need and most importantly how we do it and then a demo of overclocking a Haswell i7 4670k from its stock speed as far it will go in the Intel shipped stock cooler to demonstrate the need for superior cooling.

Asus were keen to pick up on the event and were kind enough to provide the kit for two overclocking setups using a Maximus VI Extreme, 8GB Patriot Black Mamba 2133Mhz memory, Intel i7 4760k and a GTX 760 Direct CUII. Power supply wise, at the heart of it was an Antec 1200W and Corsair AX1200i making sure that the power was clean and stable.

In the second session of the evening, the focus moved more towards extreme cooling and benching for world records. With 160l of fresh LN2 at the ready, the crowd quickly drew in to get a glimpse of what it takes to break a world record.

In the foreground 8Pack can be seen keeping both parts of his setup – which includes a 4770k running at 6.5GHz and a MSI GTX780 Lightning – running well below -100c in order to push for a new 3DMark05 record.

Huawei W1 on Sale With O2-UK from 7th March

Huawei are not a company that one would typically jump straight towards when looking for a new phone, but the company has today announced that they will be launching the W1, an entry-level smartphone that runs on the Windows Mobile platform. The handset will be available both online and in stores on both PAYG (Pay-As-You-Go) and Pay Monthly contracts from as little as £13.50 per month or for £119.99 on PAYG SIM deals.

By utilising the popular Windows Mobile interface, Huawei aims to give users a phone that is easy to use and ideal for novice users to smartphones. The iconic tile based layout will be displayed on a 4-inch 480×800 IPS screen, powered by a combination of a dual core 1.2GHz Qualcomm CPU and an Adreno 305 GPU. The phone will also feature a 1950mAh battery, supposedly giving it the best standby time see to date when compared to other handsets in its class and it also offers up a 5 megapixel camera on the back with LED flash and a 4GB memory which can be expnded to 32GB through the microSD slot on the side of the phone.

The W1 will be available solely in ‘Electric Blue’ to start as shipments roll out, however there will also be an ‘Electric Pink’ variant that will become available as well from the 18th March. Huawei are keen to push the W1 right into the heart of the markets and they plan to have an extensive advertising campaign across the UK media to promote the newcomer to the entry-level markets.

Windows Phone 8, offers users a simple to use tile based animated home screen that seamlessly integrates with their other Windows 8 devices such as tablets and PCs giving a unrivalled experience in its class where users can customise all their devices as one with real-time updates and give easy access to information, entertainment and updates in the news and social worlds.

A white handset is also in production, but at this moment, only the blue and pink models will be available to buy, ideal for the teenage generation where an inexpensive smart-phone with a bit of colour and style is key.