O2 is the first British telco to trial 3GPP-compliant Internet of Things connectivity tech in the UK later this year.
An O2 spokesman said that the company will be performing live trials this year to gain more practical insight into the technology.
O2 did not provide many details of the trials or which of the two standards it would be trying out.
So far the UK’s IoT connectivity uses sim-card based GSM-based M2M tech and various localised deployments of LoRaWAN and Sigfox.
This means that it is likely that there will be a commercial deployment of either technology in the UK next year.
NB-IoT is strongly favoured by Vodafone, which has faced problems with rolling it out in Europe. It is popular in China and the Far East, though LTE-M has been gaining ground in terms of commercial deployments over the last year.
LTE-M was popular in the American continent although it has been tested in Europe.
O2 customer data is being flogged on the dark net, according to the very shocked BBC.
It is believed that the data became available when the usernames and passwords were stolen from gaming website XSplit three years ago. When the login details matched, the hackers could access O2 customer data in a process known as “credential stuffing”.
It is highly likely that this technique will have been used to log onto other companies’ accounts including O2 partners.
The data for sale included users’ phone numbers, emails, passwords and dates of birth.
BBC reporters bought a small sample of customer details from the seller to investigate further and contacted O2. Together, the investigating teams believed it was the result of credential stuffing.
This is where a criminal uses a piece of software to repeatedly attempt to gain access to customers’ accounts by using the login details it has obtained from elsewhere – in this case, a November 2013 attack on gaming website XSplit. When successful, a customer’s details can be retrieved and sold.
O2 said in a statement: “We have not suffered a data breach. Credential stuffing is a challenge for businesses and can result in many company’s customer data being sold on the dark net.
“We have reported all the details passed to us about the seller to law enforcement and we continue to help with their investigations.”
Software king of the world Microsoft has been expanding its channel for its Surface tablets by adding more partners.
Six UK resellers into its authorised device reseller (ADR) programme including O2, Academia, XMA, PCS Business Systems, Storm and Total Computer Networks have signed up following a competitive tender process.
This means that there are now 14 ADR’s peddling the Surface in the UK.
Being an ADR gives resellers access to special bid pricing on volume Surfaces and the ability to provide extended warranty and a range of other value-add services around Microsoft’s slow-burner of a tablet.
The first batch of nine ADRs included Insight, SCC, Misco, Softcat, Phoenix Software, Kelway, CCS Media, Computacenter and SoftwareOne. Phoenix Software was less interested in hardware and left the programme two weeks ago to concentrate on software sales.
Microsoft’s Surface distribution strategy after the launch of Surface 3 was likely due its popularity and the fact that Microsoft’s tablet is being demanded by those who need a tablet for business rather than consumer use.
Surface sales started off poor but picked up and demand had been “very strong” since the ADR scheme was launched. Surface sales grew 24 per cent in 2014 driven largely by the Surface Pro 3 and accessories, he said.
Hutchison Whampoa is expected to finalise a deal to buy Telefonica British mobile unit O2 for $15.70 billion today.
The companies did not face any major issues during the two months of due diligence, which could allow the deal to be announced on Tuesday.
The deal could be announced as early as this morning, but there is some possibility that it might be delayed.
Hutchison is chatting with wealth funds including China Investment Corporation, Singapore’s Temasek and GIC, and one of Qatar’s big government-sponsored outfits to provide the cash.
The company has plans to sell stake worth about 3 billion pounds, which makes about 30 percent of the group to outside investors, the newspaper reported.
Hutchison Whampoa is owned by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, and there might be those in the British government who are not that keen to have a British asset like O2 in the paws of the Chinese. However since no one minded when an Armada of Spanish financiers took the outfit out of British ownership, it is too late to bang Drake’s drum now.
The coalition government has used a teachers’ conference in London to encourage primary schools to up their technology ante.
Speaking at the BETT conference in London, education secretary Nicky Morgan will tell people that Google and O2 will help the move by supporting a £3.6 million initiative.
She thinks that schools should be plugged into technology firms because a lot of jobs will end up being in the tech sector.
Her department, the Department for Education, is putting up £3.6 billion in funds to develop computing skills in primaries.
She wants children in primary schools to learn about coding. Meanwhile, Oxford Brookes University will develop an online course for teachers in primary schools.
Other tech firms at the BETT conference include Intel, which is launching an education content management portal aimed at teachers. Intel wants teachers to help develop the so-called “three Rs” of reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic.
A report from UK comms regulator Ofcom said that the four operators who offer 4G in the country offers twice as much speed as 3G.
Ofcom conducted research in five UK cities where 4G was offered by network operators EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.
It measured download speed, upload speed, web browsing speed and latency. Over nine million people in the country can now access 4G and Ofcom said this figure will increase as coverage increases and additional 4G enabled devices come onto the market.
Ofcom conducted 210,000 tests in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. It pointed out that with only nine million 4G subscribers, “networks may be lightly loaded” and increased network congestion may dampen down the performance.
The tests showed that 4G download speeds were over twice as fast as 3G speeds, with an average for 4G being 15.1Mbit/s but for 3G only 6.1Mbit/s.
Upload speeds were even better, with 4G seven times faster that 3G. Although there was less difference between browsing web pages, 4G networks have a lower latency than 3G networks.
Ofcom said that EE had higher download and upload speeds, while Three was better at web browising and latency.
O2 has awarded Daisy Distribution its “partner of the year” award for 2013.
The company said that is beat off distributors Avenir and Carphone Warehouse to the front line. All three are O2 Centre of Excellence distributors.
Dave McGinn, MD at Daisy, said it won the award because of its low churn and rise in customer satisfaction.
“Although we continually perform strongly on computer acquisition, our goal for 2013 was to further improve our retention performance in order to strengthen our position as O2’s leading distribution partner,” he said.
O2’s Angie Simpson, said that the two companies had an “excellent working relationship in 2013 and our strategic alignment has helped forge a closer working relationship over the last 12 months”.
Daisy Distribution said that it has a promotion that will let some of its resellers enjoying a luxury ski trip to the Alps in March next year.
The resellers have to collect as many point as possible by buying any SIM free Nokia and also promoting fixed line, new and resigned contracts with O2.
The promotion will take place between the 21st October and the 24th of January 2014.
After three months, the “partner points” will be consolidated and divided into three leagues. The league will then be given a percentage of the overall incentive places and winning partners will be drawn at random from each league.
There are 10 prizes to win, getting a three night say at a top Alps resort with fully paid transport, equipment costs and entertainment thrown in.
Having just launched their own 4G services, O2 and Vodafone are roughly neck and neck in speed and availability, according to a report.
Conducting over 11,000 tests around central London over five days since the companies launched their 4G services, research company RootMetrics found that O2’s average blended 3G and 4G speed was 16.3 Mbps, compared to 16.2 Mbps from Vodafone. As 4G is not always available, Rootmetrics claims these are the speeds most customers will actually receive.
Having had an enormous head start, EE was given the chance to improve its speec and coverage. At present, its average 3G-4G download speed hit 22.7 Mbps, compared to 17.3 Mbps in April.
At least in central London, both O2 and Vodafone had made their services broadly available. Of the 310 miles within London’s borders, including indoor locations, Vodafone’s 4G was available in 69.4 percent of tests, compared to O2’s 63.9 percent.
For 4G only, O2 won out, reaching average speeds of 23.3 Mbps and a maximum download speed of 65.8 Mbps. Vodafone managed 20.8 Mbps on average and 57.7 Mbps maximum download speed. EE was still ahead with an average of 29.6 Mbps.
RootMetrics CEO Bill Moore said the tests bode well for providers and customers.
“EE has had the best part of a year to cement its place and remains the speed leader, but the early signs for O2 and Vodafone are very positive, especially when it comes to 4G availability,” Moore said. “This is all good news for the consumer as uploading your pictures or downloading content on the move will become quicker as coverage expands and improves”.
Many customers will be waiting for the price to dip. Although 4G in the UK is off to a good start, it is a premium service. Earlier this month, EE boasted it had passed the 1 million customer milestone ahead of schedule. But Ovum’s head of Industry, Communications & Broadband Practice told us with its head start, the company could have done even better. The demand is there, but for early technologies, prioritising getting the adoption rate up with cheaper plans may have put EE even further in the lead.
Changes in phone acquisition models might be about to contribute to the slowdown of smartphone sales in some markets, as well as BYOD adoption rates. An OECD report found that most markets are still heavily relying on subsidised phones and bundles, available on two-year plans.
However, in many countries most mobile plans include an entitlement to a handset discount, which makes BYOD unattractive with costlier mobile plans. In spite of that the report found that in some big markets, such as France and the US, bundled phones actually end up $10 to $20 more expensive than the BYOD option. What’s more, the differences aren’t even evident to most consumers, which isn’t the case in some countries which mandate operators to disaggregate the cost of the device in monthly bills, revealing the actual cost of bundled phones.
The report found that operators in the UK are still trying to push two-year contracts, as they help create a stable customer base. One month contracts are used by about 17 percent of British consumers and the number has been more or less stable since 2007. However, two-year contracts accounted for 68 percent of sales in the first quarter of 2011, up from just 2 percent in Q1 2008. At the same time the number of 12-month or 18-month contracts is decreasing.
It is evident that the vast majority of high-end smartphone sales are coming from two-year plans and that this won’t change anytime soon. However, it is an inherently risky approach. Although two-year contracts with fancy bundles can help maintain a stable customer base, smartphones aren’t evolving nearly as fast as they did two or three years ago. The upgrade cycle is slowing down and the model might not work a few years from now, since Vodafone, O2 and EE aren’t offering subsidies anymore.
Consumers aren’t about to ditch bundled phones in favour of unlocked devices and cheaper plans, but the protracted economic downturn might prompt them to do so in the future.
However, having a good customer base and heaps of new devices sold every year allows carriers to invest more in infrastructure. Smartphones are driving 3G and 4G growth and without two-year bundle deals development would be much slower.
The OECD report concluded that consumers can benefit from reduced lock-in by simply buying a pricey smartphone through monthly instalments and using a cheaper plan. Increased transparency, such as disaggregating the cost of the phone in the monthly bill would help as well, along with more unlocked phones. It all comes down to the consumers, but most of them don’t appear to be well informed and savvy to compare competing mobile plans, or the cost of getting an unlocked phone and a separate plan.
EE has reached another 4G milestone. After becoming the first UK telco to roll out a commercial 4G network, it is now proudly proclaiming that it already has 500,000 customers. This makes it one of the leading European 4G operators and Britain is expected to become the largest 4G market later this year.
Samsung’s Galaxy Young, an Android smartphone running Jelly Bean, will be available through retail channels and networks this weekend.
The Young is a 1Ghz device with a 3.2″ HVGA TFT display and a 3 megapixel camera. It will ship with the usual torrent of Samsung extras loaded into Jelly Bean including TouchWiz, Kies, Apps and Hub, but where the company wants to differentiate is with its integration with Dropbox.
Of course, there are other cloud services available, including Google Drive, and Dropbox is available to download for free from the Google Play store anyway.
The device comes with 4GB internal storage and will be available in different colours.
The mid-range smartphone is not exactly a flagship device but is more affordable for those who can’t justify splashing out on an S4. Samsung has said it will be available from a “number of networks and online retailers”, but the Carphone Warehouse and O2 are the ones it specifically mentions.
Britain is breeding a generation of men bearing thumbprints on their foreheads, if recent retail research is to be believed.
Gone are the days when men sat in the pub watching their sport and women took this opportunity to shop, with Debenhams claiming “a huge number of men” are using its free wi-fi in stores to catch up on the sport they are missing by shopping with their missus.
Sites such as BBC Sports, Sky Sports, LiveScore and YouTube were found to be the most popular, with the lapdogs telling Debenhams they were spending an average of thirty minutes on their mobiles checking the latest results, watching video clips and sharing their reactions on Facebook, while their other halves spent the cash.
The retailer has decided to cash in on these soft touches and their joined at the hip ladies, by offering “sport-starved men forced to miss the weekend’s big matches”, Internet crèches”.
It’s promising its free wireless service to men who are waiting for their WAGs to spend the money and missing out on the range of sport events, including Six Nations Rugby and Premier League football, taking place.
Men can grab a comfy chair in any of the retailer’s cafés where they can use the in-store Wifi to browse the internet free. They’ll also be treated to a free cup of tea or coffee so they can avoid being dragged around looking at clothes or having to wait outside the fitting room – is it just us, or does this totally defeat the point of going shopping together.
Helen Lacey, a spokeswoman for the company said men were “over the moon” that they could keep up-to-date with all the latest sporting news.