TalkTalk and Vodafone UK announce new MVNO partnership



TalkTalk Group and Vodafone UK’s wholesale division today announce that they have signed a significant new MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operation) agreement, which will enable TalkTalk customers to get best value mobile voice and broadband services alongside their home phone and broadband.

TalkTalk is Britain’s biggest provider of broadband with 4.2 million broadband customers. This autumn, it will be adding contract mobile voice tariffs and mobile broadband to its range of services for its existing and new landline and broadband customers. Today’s agreement means, as well as best value, TalkTalk customers will be able to benefit from Vodafone’s award winning mobile network.

Guy Laurence, Vodafone UK CEO, said: “Our MVNO partners are an important part of our business. By adding TalkTalk Group, more customers will get to experience our fast and reliable network for all their mobile phone and broadband services.”

Charles Dunstone, Chairman of TalkTalk Group, said “Over the last 5 years, TalkTalk Group has invested over £1 billion to transform the UK broadband and voice market into one of the most vibrant and good value in the world. Our customers tell us that they expect the same value from their mobile services that they’ve come to expect from their home phone and broadband, so that’s what we intend to provide. We’ve chosen Vodafone as our network partner as they have a proven network and a track record of success with their MVNOs.”

TalkTalk entered the home phone market in 2003 and the home broadband market in 2006. It has been a major force in ensuring market prices for these services are far lower today than they were before TalkTalk and, in the process, TalkTalk has become a market leader.

Carphone Warehouse Group, which separated from TalkTalk Group in April this year, continues to run its successful TalkMobile MVNO also with Vodafone.

Check the latest TalkTalk broadband deals here.




Apple probing iPhone 3G problems with iOS 4



Apple is investigating reports that the 3G edition of the iPhone performs badly when updated with the latest iteration of its smartphone platform with a view to developing a software fix.

A flood of complaints from users about the less than exemplary operating speed of the iPhone 3G when updated to iOS 4 meant Apple had to work out why it was not only running slowly but also eating up battery charge and loading apps at a snail’s pace.

When iOS 4.1 is launched it is alleged that the iPhone 3G will be given some respite with performance tweaks, but early reports from app developers contradict this claim.

Apple was open with the fact that iOS 4 is designed for the iPhone 4 and that performance on its older smartphones would vary.

However, rendering a legacy device inoperable with a software update is hardly the best step to take and so most users will be hoping that a software solution is found, or alternatively seek to roll back the software to iOS 3.2.





















Paint problems delaying white iPhone 4?



Continuing setbacks to the manufacturing process are forcing Apple to push back the release of the white edition of the iPhone 4, it has been claimed.

According to Boy Genius Report the principal factor causing the delay is Apple’s inability to settle on the correct thickness of the white paint for the smartphone.

Apparently, this is an issue because the tech giant does not want the paint to look translucent because it is spread too thinly, but it also does not want to cause proximity sensor issues by making it too thick.

The problems are reportedly focussed on the front side of the device, as the back panel is much easier to work with.

Apple has encountered further paint-related problems because an agent used to secure the paint to the metal distorts its clarity and dilutes the visual impact of the smartphone’s design.






















Profits down 90% at LG



LG has announced a 90 per cent fall in operating profit over the second quarter of 2010, citing big losses from its mobile manufacturing arm, which has failed to capitalise on the smartphone boom.

The South Korean phone maker posted profits of £463 million for the second quarter, a 33 per cent drop from the same period last year.

The decline was attributed to LG’s large investments in the world’s emerging mobile markets, as it looks to expand its share of the global smartphone market.

In two year’s time LG has predicted that it will surpass rival Korean mobile manufacturer Samsung to become the world’s second largest producer of phones. This will mean doubling its current market share of ten per cent.

South Korean analyst Ha Eun-mi said that developing a flagship phone should be the cornerstone of LG’s strategy in the months ahead.

He commented: “LG does not have a smartphone that defines its brand.

“They jumped into the smartphone market very late, trying to catch up with competitors who started one or two years earlier.”























Mobile phones are filthier than a toilet handle


This filthy fact was unearthed after 30 mobile phones were tested for germs by product-testing charity, Which?, seven of which contained “dangerous levels” of “environmental bacteria”.

The most unhygienic of the phone had enough faecal matter to give someone a serious case of diarrohea.

It carried 39 times the acceptable level of enterobacteria, a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella, found in the lower intestines of humans and animals.

Hygene expert Jim Francis, who performed the tests, said: “The levels of potentially harmful bacteria on one mobile were off the scale.

“That phone needs sterilizing.”

These findings relate directly to a recent survey by BM Savings that found mobile phones to be an inseparable companion of Britons.

Martyn Hocking, editor of Which? magazine said: “It’s a worrying thought that people could be putting their health at risk with bacteria-ridden handsets.

“It’s time to give those mobiles a good clean.”



Apple pulls porn from iPhone iBookstore


Apple is being accused of censorship after appearing to pull best-selling pornographic books from its iBooks chart.

Chart-toppers Carl East’s ‘Blonde and Wet, the Complete Story’ and ‘Big Sis,’ have been seemingly banished and replaced with the less risqué autobiographies such as comedian Frankie Boyle’s ‘My S**t Life So Far’ and Labour politician Peter Mandelson’s ‘The Third Man.’

Prior to the purge, softcore auteur Mr East’s books ranked as the two best-selling titles on the eBook store

Mr East, who has penned over 70 other erotic potboilers but never had a best-seller before, stated: “I keep pinching myself to see if I am awake and sometimes I wonder, is this really happening to me.”

The move is perhaps not altogether surprising given Apple’s similar purge of “overtly sexual content” from the App Store in February.

While the books have not been completely withdrawn from sale, it does suggest that Apple could eventually apply a similarly stringent censorship policy to its iBookstore.





BBC slammed over smartphone apps


The BBC is facing strong criticism from the publishing industry after confirming it will go ahead with smartphone applications, despite widespread opposition.

The Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA) has said that BBC’s planned apps will represent entirely new services rather than just expanding upon current offerings and as such will be significantly problematic in the eyes of its commercial competitors, over which the BBC has an unfair advantage of consistent public funding.

NPA Director David Newell said: “It’s disappointing that the BBC Trust has decided to push this through quickly and avoid conducting a formal PVT (public value test).

“The launch of BBC mobile apps represents a significant change to the BBC Online service and we believe it will have a significant and negative market impact on the viability of the business models of commercial news organisations in the app market.”

The corporation originally planned to launch a range of apps to coincide with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but these failed to appear while the BBC Trust was still considering whether or not it would need to carry out a PVT on such releases.

It has since decided that mobile applications do not have an inherent need for this assessment, essentially giving the broadcaster the green light to go ahead with applications.





More than half of Brits are addicted to their mobile phones


More than half of Britons never leave home without their mobile phones and nearly 44 per cent ‘could not live without it’, a survey by BM Savings has revealed.

This not-so-shocking revelation came after the savings specialists polled 2,000 of its customers on their mobile phone habits.

Nearly a quarter of Brits ‘worry’ they would miss a call if they left it home.

Women are more attached to their phones than men, with 54 per cent claiming they would never leave home without it compared to 47 per cent of men.

Perhaps the most shocking figures of all came from the West Midlands, where 70 per cent of respondents said they would never leave home without it in contrast to only 37 per cent of those from the South West.

Despite the popularity of texting in Britain, a staggering 88 per cent of young people poll confessed they spend up to an hour chattering on their phones every day.

Over half of the surveyed also find mobile banking as the most convenient way of managing their finances as it allows them to speak to a real person.

John Bianco, Head of Birmingham Midshires Savings said: “It’s clear that most of us enjoy talking on the phone and find it useful for getting day to day jobs done quickly and efficiently.”







Consumers put off by iPhone 4 problems


Over a quarter of Britons have lost interest in buying an iPhone 4 due to its much-publicised reception problems, it has been revealed.

A study conducted by Opinium Research found that 26 per cent of people polled are no longer as interested in buying the handset in the wake of reports of dropped calls as a result of a design flaw with its antenna.

Among those who already own an iPhone 3G S, almost half said they now plan to stick with their current phone or upgrade to one of the many smartphones touted as iPhone 4 rivals.

Some 43 per cent of the sample had previously held Apple in high regard, claiming that it had altered the general public’s perception of what a mobile phone should offer to its user.

James Endersby of Opinium stated: “With 90 per cent of iPhone owners stating that they are satisfied with the level of service they receive, it’s interesting to compare how few people would now purchase an iPhone after the media attention surrounding the antenna fiasco.

“Our research shows that by not dealing with a such a major issue well through the media, that brands, no matter how big, can have their profile dented in the public’s eye.”







Smartphone sales soaring


Demand for smartphones has increased by 43 per cent over the course of the last year, thanks to a flood of low cost mobiles with high-end functionality.

According to a Strategy Analytics report authored by Neil Mawston, some 60 million smartphones were sold worldwide during the second quarter of 2009.

The change in market trends means that multi-purpose mobiles now represent one in five of all mobiles sold.

Commenting on the data, industry analyst Mr Mawston said that although consumers are benefiting from competition, manufacturers were finding operating conditions increasingly testing.

He said: “Dozens of vendors from the telecoms, PC and consumer electronics industries are piling into the market and driving down prices.

“Even established brands such as Nokia, RIM and Apple are finding it increasingly hard to raise prices and profits in the face of such fierce competition.”

The study also revealed that Apple’s share of the smartphone market fell from 15.9 per cent to 14.1 per cent.

However, sales of over three million units for the iPhone 4 within a matter of weeks of launch suggest that is likely to more than regain its loss of market share over the next three months.