O2 mobile phone customers to get free Twitter updates


O2 has confirmed that its mobile phone customers will be able to convert Twitter updates to text messages from next month.

From August 1st, the network’s subscribers can receive text notifications and direct messages for no charge.

They will also be able to update their profiles for the price of a standard SMS message or as part of the carrier’s contract mobile phone bundles. However, the latter will be limited to 600 messages per month.

O2’s Twitter service comes in the wake of a similar move from Vodafone, which has already opened its network up to the micro blogging site.

Antony Douglas, head of content at O2, said: “We believe that mobile will soon become the most popular way of accessing social networking sites, giving real time access to tweets and status updates wherever you are.

“The agreements we now have in place with Twitter and the other key sites bring this a step closer, making it quick and easy for O2 customers to access their favourite social networks straight from their mobile.”

O2 is the UK’s official iPhone 3G S carrier and also offers a range of other high-end handsets on free mobile phone contract deals.



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Mobile phone owners ‘should share broadband tax burden,’ says BT


The proposed tax on UK landlines to fund fibre optic broadband networks should be extended to mobile phone owners, according to BT’s director of industry policy and regulation.

Last month’s Digital Britain report mooted the introduction of a tax of 50p per month payable by all Britons with landlines.

The charge is intended to provide funding for the government’s plan to roll out next generation, fibre optic broadband networks that will help the nation compete with rival economies.

However, Emma Gilthorpe of BT has said that because the money will be available to mobile phone companies, as well as fixed line telephony providers, the scope of the tax should be widened.

Mobile networks would be able to use the money to deploy new broadband-based services.

Ms Gilthorpe said: “The government should consider the opportunity to widen the base for the tax and possibly reduce the amount that each individual household pays.”

The charge has been subject of strong criticism from within the telecommunications industry on the grounds that it will be insufficient to fund the proposed overhaul of the UK’s broadband infrastructure.






Apple ‘to supersede Nokia in smartphone market’


The runaway success of the iPhone range will see Apple overtake Nokia in the smartphone market by 2013, a research company has predicted.

Analyst group Generator Research forecasts that iPhones’ share of the global smartphone market will hit 33 per cent by this time.

Meanwhile, over the same period the proportion of the sector held by current leader Nokia will halve to 20 per cent, it is claimed.

News of the company’s forecast comes as the new edition of Apple’s mobile, the iPhone 3G S, continues to sell strongly in spite of the slowdown in consumer spending.

Official figures from Apple showed that over one million units of the handset were sold within three days of its launch last month.

The strong showing for the device has come despite some Apple fans complaining that the new faster version of the phone was not sufficiently upgraded from previous editions.

Nokia’s current flagship smartphone and lead challenger to the iPhone 3G S is the multi-functional Nokia N97.



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Mobile phone 3G coverage gaps revealed


Mobile phone 3G internet coverage remains patchy in much of the UK, a new report has shown, despite massive take up for mobile internet services.

At the heart of Ofcom’s new Mostly Mobile study are a series of maps that illustrate areas that are poorly served by mobile phone networks.

Coverage is shown to be problematic for mobile customers in East Anglia, much of Scotland and in the North East. The South West and Wales are also shown to be hamstrung by poor service.

Conversely, Londoners and those in the Midlands enjoy the best coverage.

Commenting on the results, the telecommunications regulator said: “Coverage of mobile networks in the UK is generally good. Indeed, it is better than in other comparable countries, but some issues persist.

“For 3G network coverage there is still a noticeable difference between rural and urban areas, and also between different parts of the UK.”

The mobile phone network providing the best coverage was found to be 3, followed closely by Orange.