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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Our Worldwide Network Subscribers Index is Now Available

Behind the scenes at DialToSave we’ve been working on a Worldwide Network Subscribers interactive for the past 2 months, and it is finally live!

You may have seen the link to it from our homepage but just to explain a bit about it – it’s unlike any other list of mobile phone subscribers you’ve seen anywhere. Our list includes data detailing the exact number of subscribers from over 600 networks in the world. We’ve also sourced the names of the primary holding companies behind them and the countries they originate from. With this we’ve been able to show you exactly how much of the world subscribes to a network from each particular country.

As you’ll notice when looking through the interactive, the UK is the number one country in terms of international subscribers, who account for 94% of the UK’s subscribers in total. China by contrast have the largest number of subscribers in the world but 98% are based locally.

You’ll also see that the map starts to mirror colonial rule, with the UK having large network affinities in India, Australia and large parts of Africa. Spain also has a large affinity within the South-American countries, all visible through the number of subscribers they have there.

We really hope you enjoy the data and we’re always interested to hear what people think and what they find, so please do share your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

UK Customers Can Switch Networks If They Receive Price Hikes

Ofcom, the regulatory body in the UK have said that people connected to any phone network can switch providers within 30 days of receiving a notice about an upcoming price hike. This is a law now in-place and will be music to the ears of the over 1000 people who had complained to Ofcom about price hikes after providers had signed them up on a fixed-price offer.

Hikes have become common practise in the industry (which includes TV companies), with Vodafone, BT, Sky and Virgin Media all having raised prices recently. The reason being that the companies are passing on the fact that their costs have changed onto the customers instead. However, this has been seen as unfair by Ofcom as the price hikes occur to people who are tied into a contract, with a penalty being enforced if that customer then wishes to leave.

However, now customers won’t incur this penalty if they decide that within the 30 day window, the prices are unreasonable and they’d like to leave. This not only directly benefits customers but will also make the companies involved think twice about pushing up prices in the first place or to what extent.

What isn’t determined, or at least what we can see, is what happens if a customer has a phone that is locked to the original network they’re choosing to cancel the contract with. The phone they have will likely have been subsidised at the time of purchase (often sold for “free” with a 24 month contract) but the value of the phone is then paid for over the course of the contract. With a contract now potentially being cancelled after 9 months for example, would the network then request the phone back?

To find out more, please do keep up to date with the blog and we’ll try to update you as and when we know.

Article By Darren Kingman and Image Source

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

SMS Revenues Decline For The First Time

A massive turning point in the history of mobile phones has be realised by research company Strategy Analytics, after they found that 2013 saw the first year-on-year revenue decrease for SMS and MMS services. The landscape of mobile phone usage has been changing for the past few years, with the emergence of services such as iMessage and WhatsApp, which are both alternatives to traditional text messaging and instead use the Internet to send and receive instant messages. However, the news of the decrease highlights just how important it is now for mobile phone networks to ensure their data packages are as competitive as possible in order to attract and meet the demands of the modern mobile user.

Deloitte have also been offering their take on the industry and have highlighted that although revenues from text messaging has fallen networks worldwide can still expect to make approximately £50 billion from the service in 2014. They’ve also suggested that networks can respond to the negative figures and instead “create an operator-owned OTT messaging service to rival the existing providers” – much like BlackBerry initially had a huge success with, with BBM.

Geographically the move away from text messaging has and will continue to be more prevalent in the Western world. Countries such as the USA and the UK will push through the average forecasted drop in text messaging of 20% by 2017 with figures expecting to reach nearly 40% instead. As these countries become more reliant on 4G phone services, which can also empower uses to use video calling as a viable out-and-about option, there’s little wonder why phone owners would revert back to a more expensive and slower service.

Article By Darren Kingman and Image Source

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Vodafone Sale of Verizon Approved

We’d previously written about the pending sale of Vodafone’s 45% share in Verizon estimated at approximately £80 billion or $130 billion, and just a few days ago that sale was approved by the US regulators, the FCC.

The Federal Communications Commission have now rubber stamped the deal, prompting Vodafone shareholders to make decisions about how they’d like to move forward with their Verizon holdings. Simply because it makes up such a large part of a Vodafone shareholders portfolio, they are being requested to fill out a “Dealing Form” to notify Vodafone how they should proceed on their behalf. Vodafone acknowledge that this is more than slightly confusing, prompting them to create a useful guide.

The deal will be amongst the biggest in history, with Vodafone set to have £27.6 billion left over to “play” with. This is important news for those looking to remain Vodafone shareholders, as the company will continue to pay the dividends they have been accustomed to. A large portion (£6 billion) of the sale will also go towards improving their current service, including erecting more masts around Europe. This will be great news for already existing Vodafone customers and possibly to those coming to the end of their contracts.

Article By Darren Kingman and Image Source

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News Political

Jump Ship If Your Network Raises The Price

The UK for the past few years has been rife with the argument surrounding rising electricity prices and the cost of living going up. This has even been the main bone of contention that the Labour party use as their angle to ensure the Conservative party don’t come out smelling of roses from any Parliamentary debate. However, rising electricity prices aren’t the only rising cost that is going up year upon year, there’s also the telecoms industry to take into account.

This was the subject of a recent policy change pushed forward by Maria Miller, Culture Secretary. Under the new policy telecoms company will be obligated to inform customers at the start of a contract if the price will increase during their agreed period. Customers will also be able to cancel a contract half the way through if the prices are becoming too much, without fear of incurring a penalty. Ms Miller said:

“This agreement with the telecoms companies will deliver real benefits to consumers and help ensure people are not hit with shock bills.”

As part of the agreement between the Government and various telecoms giants, including BT, Sky, EE, Three and others also states that data roaming charges will be abolished by 2016. This will allow customers to use mobile data without the fear of £8 per MB charges.

The hope for consumers will be that these changes and the freedom being afforded to customers will reduce the likelihood of mid-contract price hikes – as customers will almost certainly jump ship as long as the process is made simple to follow through on.

Article By Darren Kingman

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

EE Launch World’s Fastest 4G

Speaking at the Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum in London, CEO of EE Olaf Swantee announced the launch of the company’s LTE-A signal, (theoretically) capable of 300Mbps download speeds. The launch has only so far been limited to Tech City in London, with the aim of rolling the service out commercially in mid-2014 when LTE-A devices are readily available for consumers.

These numbers eclipses the 40Mbps download speeds of current 4G technology, of which 1 million people currently use provided by EE themselves. The adoption rate of 4G in the UK is expected to climb rapidly in the coming months as other leading networks such as Vodafone and Three launch theirs. However, EE are aiming to remain ahead of demand, a decision seemingly driven by the advantage purchasing a years head-start in the 4G market has earned them.

Giving an insight into the knowledge EE have been able to extract from their plethora of data, Mr Swantee said “Our analysts predict that data usage will grow significantly over the next three years. In fact, our trend-mapping shows that data usage is set to rise by 750 per cent in that period, as consumers and companies conduct more of their business and lives on-line”. He was also able to disclose that since launching their high-speed service, EE have also seen upload speeds exceed download speeds particularly at live sporting events and a third of all traffic being attributed to video services such as streaming and video calls.

With the anticipated growth and clear demand for data-hungry services, LTE-Advanced could further change the way people live mobile lives. EE have already acknowledged that since using their service, over half use fewer or no public Wifi spots at all, demonstrating how powerful mobile services have become. This is a societal change that EE clearly want to spearhead.

Article by Darren Kingman and Image Source

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

UK telecoms complaints up 20 fold in 10 years

Figures released by the Ombudsmen service in the UK has shown that the number of complaints in the 2012 – 2013 financial year are now 20 times higher than they were just 10 years ago. The numbers have shown that 10 years ago, complaints about telecoms providers totalled 500 for the year. In the year just gone however, that number is now over 10,000 – a massive increase in the amount of people unhappy with the level of service they’re getting.

It’s believed that at least a third of the complaints (approx 3,500) were targeted towards the customer service element of the providers rather than the service or product itself. This number alone is 7 times higher than the total number of complaints 10 years ago, showing that the companies and decisions they’re making have over the years gone against customer satisfaction.

Member of the Ombudsmen service Sarah Daniel commented that it’s the vast array of products that consumers now have that increase their exposure to services possible to complain about. She said  “consumers have multiple devices for use on the move, such as smartphones, tablets and dongles, as well as traditional landlines and broadband services”, whereas “In the early days complaints were about landlines and dial up”.

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European roaming charges fall

Just in time for the summer holidays, European roaming charges have fallen dramatically, capping them at something resembling a reasonable cost. Roaming charges are what networks charge you for when you are outside of your networks home country. So say for instance your network is O2 in the UK and you travel to Germany, you would have been charged these roaming costs if you had made or received a phone cal, sent a text message or tried to access any mobile data. The costs of doing so were previously uncapped, with some networks across Europe charging £1.70 per minute to make a cross boarder phone call.

The new cap, which was put into place on July 1st sees prices for all European roaming charges set to a much smaller £0.20p per minute. Data has also tumbled from a high of £0.70 per MB to £0.38p or €0.45 if you speak in Euros. These prices are exclusive of VAT.

As we recently mentioned in our blog, Neelie Kroes is the lady behind the cut in roaming charges – intent on creating a cheaper and easier method of European communications. Neelie had this to say upon the success of the recent cap – “This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.”

It also appears that neither Neelie or the EU will stop their cuts there. There are still plans for a single European telecoms market, which would scrap roaming charges altogether. Plans had previously been for this to be implemented in 2015, however it seems that it could be possible by 2014 instead.

Hopefully this will put an end to the unfair and unjustified phone bills that had snuck up on holidaying individuals who’d never have thought watching an episode of Doctor Who on their mobile abroad would cost so much.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Telecoms most optimistic market for job growth in UK

These are the findings of the annual Barclays Job Creation Survey (2013) that have discovered that out of all the markets in the UK currently, the telecoms sector is the most optimistic. 64% of companies within the marketspace responded that they expect to create full-time positions within the next year, up from 51% the year before.

There are also plans for even more job creation, in the form of part-time or temporary work, with 69% of companies saying they intend to hire in these capacities as well. This figure is also up from last year, increasing by 6%. The positions companies are expecting to recruit for are made up predominantly of skilled worker roles or those within middle-management. 25% of jobs are planned to be created for entry-level positions, offering some optimism for graduates hoping to get into the sector.

The Barclays Survey was overall a huge change on previous years, showing that most sectors and companies believe they are now in a better position to not only recruit but hold on to the employees they already have. Out of all companies who took part in the survey 79% believed they wouldn’t be facing job losses. In spite of the noises currently coming out of the British media, maybe things are a bit rosier than first thought.

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BSkyB expand UK broadband business

The news has broken in the past week that BSkyB, the media giant, is set to become the 2nd largest player in the UK broadband market (subscriber numbers considered) after agreeing a deal to purchase Telefonica’s rival business. Estimated at just under £200m with add-ons taken into account, the deal will see BSkyB take their subscriber numbers from 4.2 million, to 4.7 million. This takes them just above Virgin Media into second place, who have 4.5 million.

It is believe that Telefonica, who own O2, wanted out of the broadband business to focus more of the mobile phone offerings that they have around the world. With the rollout of 4G over the past few months, and the continued acceptance the technology is gaining, their time is likely to be taken up already. Especially considering that 4G technology has already seen a rise in various companies shares prices, with Chinese based manufacturer ZTE growing 9% almost overnight at the announcement of 4G in their home country.

Both companies in the deal see it as a win. BSkyB chief exec commented “We believe that the O2 and BE consumer broadband and telephony business is a great fit, with customers used to high-quality products and strong levels of customer service”. Whilst Telefonica UK chief exec Ronan Dunne exclaimed “we believe this agreement is the best way of helping our customers get the highest quality home broadband experience from a leading organisation in the market” as they focus more of their efforts on mobile and 4G.

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