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5G Networks To Be Rolled Out in 2020

The UK telecoms regulator has set a timetable for the launch of 5G services in Britain by 2020, with early trials set to take place as soon as next year.

The Ofcom announcement comes ahead of a spectrum auction due to take place this year that will free up the airwaves needed for faster 5G networks.

The technical standards for the new network technology are still being thrashed out but it is expected to bring faster and more reliable mobile broadband for consumers as well as supporting myriad connected devices — from street lights to driverless cars to heart monitors — that make up the “internet of things”.

Countries including South Korea and China are forging ahead with 5G launches that are expected in 2019. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has said he wants the UK to be a world leader in 5G, while the EU has predicted the faster networks will provide an economic boost of €113bn by 2025.

However, some in the industry have questioned whether 5G has been overhyped and whether telecoms companies really have the incentive to spend billions of pounds on new network equipment.

EE, which was the first network to launch 4G, is keen to retain its pioneer position and be first to launch 5G, according to senior sources with knowledge of the situation.

The launch of 4G was delayed after some telecom companies sued the regulator over the spectrum auction process.

For the 5G sale, both Three and O2 want a “spectrum cap” that would limit the power of EE, now owned by BT, and Vodafone. EE already owns 45 per cent of the country’s spectrum and Vodafone has 28 per cent.

The 5G auction was postponed last year, as a result of Three’s attempt to take over O2, a deal that was ultimately blocked.

BT in negotiation to buy EE

Telecoms giant BT is in exclusive talks to buy EE – Britain’s largest mobile network group – for £12.5bn.

It said the period of exclusivity would last “several weeks” to enable it to carry out the necessary negotiations. In late November, BT said it was in talks to buy either EE or O2, which is owned by Spanish firm Telefonica.

Vodafone, Sky, Virgin, Talk Talk and 3 – the other major players in this market – will all be watching developments closely.

EE leads the market in 4G (the fastest mobile bandwidth), has 24.5 million customers, and holds 33.8% of the UK mobile market by revenue, according to Citigroup.

BT said owning EE would accelerate its plan of giving customers seamless access to the Internet whether via fibre broadband, wi-fi hotspots or 4G mobile services.

If acquisition goes ahead, BT will be able to provide innovative packages of TV and telecoms that could reshape how people buy their communications services in the UK. For example, BT Sport could be offered with no data charges, or even exclusive access, on an iPad or smartphone.

The decision to buy a mobile business will also reduce BT’s reliance on earnings from Openreach, the infrastructure arm of the company. Analysts said the deal will turn the unregulated consumer access and content business into more than half the enterprise value of the group.

The deal also provides BT with a new story to tell investors and an opportunity to reset market expectations over future earnings. There were signs that growth in its core superfast broadband business was slowing in the last quarter, while its TV business — for all the noise and fanfare — has not seen spectacular growth.

However, there are also some problems ahead, not least the need for network investment as EE has aimed to provide 4G services to 98 per cent of the country within the next few years.

 

Mobile Technology is Fuelling Growth in the UK

The UK gaming sector is dominated by independent brands developing game titles for mobile and tablet devices, according to new research by TIGA. The trade association, which represents the UK games industry, extensively studied British game businesses and found that 37% of all UK games studios are primarily developing game titles for mobile users.

“Increasingly studios’ preferred platform for games is mobile and tablet: almost two-fifths of the UK studio population now primarily make games for these platforms,” said Dr Richard Wilson, the CEO of TIGA. “The attraction of the mobile and tablet market to UK developers is clear. The mobile and tablet market is substantial and growing: sales of smartphones are expected to hit 1 billion globally in 2013.”

He added: “There are few barriers to entry in the mobile and tablet market, the cost of game development on these platforms is relatively low and it is comparatively straightforward for developers to update game content.”

The research comes in the same month that the International Data Corporation (IDC) announced figures that show mobile gaming will overtake handheld products in sales. Although the average revenue per user for handheld console games will be higher in 2013, players will be spending more money on tablet and mobile game apps. As the mobile gaming industry swells in popularity, there is more opportunity for the independent studios to turn a profit.

London based developer Hutch produced the title Smash Cops, which has generated more than 10 million downloads. “TIGA’s research shows that the UK games sector is shifting rapidly towards mobile and tablet games development,” said Shaun Rutland, the CEO of Hutch. “Smartphone and tablet gaming presents the greatest opportunity and our own experience at Hutch shows that the right game and business model can be extremely successful in this market.”

With the UK gaming market facing a potential boom, developers are calling on the government to introduce the Games Tax Relief as soon as possible. Dr Wilson described this as “vitally important” as the Relief “effectively reduces the cost of games production, improves access to capital and will stimulate the production of culturally British games.” TIGA have stated that the UK government has assured that they will be legislating for the tax breaks in the current Finance Bill.

In addition to this, gambling brands are calling on the government to re-think regulation on the industry, in order to support economic growth. The Rank Group, operators of Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino, have devised a ‘Game Plan’ report that shows how a different approach to the UK’s gaming policy could be beneficial. The Chief Executive of Rank, Ian Burke stated: “We believe that the over-arching role of gambling legislation should be to maximise the benefits to society and the economy while minimising costs.”

The report has been presented to over 150 members of parliament and states that greater support from the government is needed. In the ‘Game Plan’ Burke states that Rank and other gambling brands in the UK could “contribute a great deal more to life in Britain through job creation and economic development, revenue generation for government, our work in communities and our capacity to bring people together for shared experiences.”

Latest offers on mobile phones week 22 April 2013

Great deals this week on smartphones from Carphone Warehouse:

Apple iPhone 4 - Free on £22 per month contract with £50 cashback or £305 SIM free!

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - Free from £25 per month on 2 year contract

Sony Xperia Z - Free from £29 per month on 2 year contract

Nokia Lumia 820  Free phone from £25 per month on 2 year contract

HTC ONE – Free phone from £33 per month on 2 year contract

Blackberry Z10 – Free phone from £32 per month on 2 year contract

 

Latest deals from Orange:

The HTC One SV is now FREE from £10.50 a month from Orange.

This is a time limited offer and will end at 10am on Wednesday 24th April
htc_one_sv_orangePlease find below details of the offer:

  • Offer: Free HTC ONE SV
  • Contract: £10.50 per month
  • Tariff:100MB Data, Unltd Txts, 100Mins
  • Start Date: 5:00pm Monday 22 april
  • End Date: 10:00am wed 24th april
  • CPA/Cashback:   £20

T-Mobile to increase prices by 3.3% for most of it’s customers from 9th May

This is no April’s Fool joke, if you are a T-Mobile customer, then you probably have received bad news by text saying their prices for mobile contracts are going up 3.3% inline with inflation. The means from 9th April 2013 most of the customers will pay more for their contract.

Some customers are not affected, customers on Mobile Broadband and consumer 30 day SIM Only, will not be affected. Latest Pay Monthly 24 month plans and new Full Monty plans, available since 22 January 2013, are also not impacted.

t-mobile_price_increaseAccording to T-Mobile website, you can cancel your contract by paying any cancellation fees applicable, you will need to contact customer services to see the impact.

In this time of economic hardship for many customers, this is an unexpected bad news from T-Mobile. There is a calculator on their website to help you see how much it will affect you.

T-Mobile gives you an option to fix the price for the duration of the contract, following is the table of how much you will need to pay to fix your contract:

t-mobile_price_fix

It looks like if you have signed up more than 6 months ago and you are not on 24 months contract, it doesn’t make sense to pay extra for fixing, since you are quite far into your contract already. I do not expect T-Mobile to increase prices more than once per year, so I would suggest not to pay this. Of course you need to do your own calculation. But if this is something that they are planning to do regularly, then it is a bad news and you should vote with your feet!