Rhyl is 200th town to get 4G from EE

peoples-phone-ee-4gEE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, today announced that the seaside town of Rhyl in North Wales is the 200th town in the UK to benefit from 4GEE. The UK’s biggest and fastest network officially switched on superfast 4G mobile broadband in 13 towns across the UK this week, bringing the total to 200 places and 72% of the UK population.

4G from EE goes live today in: Armadale, Bishop Auckland, Brighouse, Cumbernauld, Hamilton Kirkintilloch, Larne, Newry, Peterlee, Staines, Stockton-on-Tees, Rhyl and Washington. These places will now benefit from superfast internet access on mobiles, tablets and laptops, helping people and businesses to do more on the go, whether that’s working or enjoying social media, music and videos.

EE’s rigorous switch on requirements mean that locations aren’t considered official 4GEE towns until at least 80% of the area is covered, ensuring new customers get the best 4G experience possible. EE continues to switch on hundreds of 4G sites all over the UK every month, and many additional towns are set to be announced in the near future.

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE said: “Today we switch on our 200th 4G town just 18 months after pioneering the service in the UK.

“We now have over 2 million customers using superfast 4G. That’s the fastest rollout and uptake of any technology in Britain, and means that the UK’s mobile digital infrastructure is now ahead of many other nations. We’re proud to have been the driving force that made that happen, but we won’t stop there.

“Our continued drive to deliver 4G to more of the UK means that our customers have access to by far the biggest network in the country. Hitting this landmark highlights that 4G from EE is available wherever people need it – at home, at work, or enjoying the sunshine on the beach in Rhyl, our 200th town.”

4GEE is available from just £13.99, allowing more customers than ever to enjoy the benefits of the UK’s biggest and fastest network. The new price plan was launched last month alongside the first ever EE-branded smartphone – the EE Kestrel. The EE Kestrel is free on plans from £13.99, or for just £99 on 4GEE Pay As You Go.

Last month EE was ranked as the number one mobile network in the UK, following comprehensive independent testing from RootMetrics. RootMetrics assessed all four major operators, collecting over 840,000 test samples and driving more than 23,000 miles.




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Virgin to connect a further six Tube stations to WiFi


Virgin Media is connecting a further six London Underground stations to its Wi-Fi network tomorrow, taking the total number to 137 since launch in June 2012.

Passengers are now able to connect to Wi-Fi in ticket halls and on platforms at Golders Green Southgate, West Kensington, Parsons Green, Kilburn and East Putney stations. More locations are due to be added in the Summer.

Virgin has wholesale deals with EE, O2 and Vodafone, meaning most Londoners can connect to the service at no extra cost. All Tube passengers can keep up to date with the latest Transport for London travel information and London entertainment and news through Virgin’s WiFi portal.

A prepay service is also offered. Daily passes cost £2, weekly passes £5 and there is a two month special offering access for £15. More than 800,000 devices are currently registered to Virgin Media’s WiFi on London Underground service, with the connectivity enabling an average of one million emails, web pages, Tweets and Facebook posts to be sent every weekday.

The gap between Apple iOS and Android usage on the network is also narrowing, with 65 per cent of web page views coming from iOS devices and 30 per cent from Android, compared to a 74 per cent to 20 per cent split a year ago.


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O2 helps Man City connect with fans


O2 have rolled out cutting edge Wi-Fi technology across Manchester City’s 47,000 capacity stadium, making it the first Premier League football club to offer unparalleled connectivity to its fans.

The Etihad Stadium joins the likes of Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu and the Brooklyn Nets Barclays Center with free High Density Wi-Fi technology.

Boasting download speeds of up to 30megabytes, it will allow fans to share and enjoy memorable moments before, during and after games.

It marks a major digital milestone for sports stadia across the UK and demonstrates O2’s on-going commitment to opening the possibilities of technology to all.

The state of the art High Density Wi-Fi network has been designed and delivered by O2 in conjunction with Cisco following an extensive installation and testing process. It paves the way for attracting the supporters of tomorrow, who expect superfast connectivity and new levels of interaction wherever they are.

These connected fans will drive online interaction with the club via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while the enhanced Wi-Fi stadium experience will benefit Manchester City’s suite of second screening applications.



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ICO enquiries into Virgin Media email


The ICO has received a number of calls today from people concerned about an email recently sent out by Virgin Media. The email appears to allow individuals to reply to all of the other customers who received the same email by clicking on the ‘reply all’ response.

They have issued the following statement confirming that we will be looking into this matter to establish the full details.

ICO spokesperson said: “We have recently been made aware of a possible data breach relating to emails sent out by Virgin Media.

“We will be making enquiries into the circumstances of the alleged breach of the Data Protection Act before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken.”

The ICO said they do not require any further complaints from the public at this time as they already have sufficient information to take their enquiries forward.



Kim Dotcom wins back cars and cash seized in Megaupload raid

Kim Dotcom, the multimillionaire founder of closed file-sharing site Megaupload, has won back cars, cash and property seized in a January 2012 raid. Requests from police to extend the length of time the assets could be held were declined by a court in Auckland, New Zealand, where Mr Dotcom lives.
Kim Dotcom, the multimillionaire founder of closed file-sharing site Megaupload, has won back cars, cash and property seized in a January 2012 raid. Requests from police to extend the length of time the assets could be held were declined by a court in Auckland, New Zealand, where Mr Dotcom lives.
US authorities accuse Mr Dotcom of infringing copyright on a “massive scale”. He has also been sued by several major film and music publishers. They accuse him of using Megaupload to encourage users to upload copyrighted material illegally – and profiting from the operation.
Mr Dotcom, along with several associates, has denied the charges. Since the raid, he has launched a new file storage site, Mega, as well as setting up his own political party. Police raided the mansion of Mr Dotcom and his wife Mona two years ago, taking more than 15 luxury vehicles, including a pink 1959 Cadillac.
Mr Dotcom tweeted: “Breaking News: High Court ruling just now. Mona and I are getting our New Zealand assets back, unless the Crown appeals.” The authorities have 14 days to appeal against the decision.
Mr Dotcom added: “The NZ asset ruling is HUGE. We’ve just filed a case in Hong Kong against unlawful seizure of #Megaupload. The US case is falling apart!”
An extradition hearing is due to take place in July. If extradited and brought to trial, Mr Dotcom faces 20 years in prison.

Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked

The fingerprint sensor on Samsung’s Galaxy S5 handset has been hacked less than a week after the device went on sale.
The fingerprint sensor on Samsung’s Galaxy S5 handset has been hacked less than a week after the device went on sale.
Berlin-based Security Research Labs fooled the equipment using a mould it had previously created to spoof the sensor on Apple’s iPhone 5S. The researchers said they were concerned that thieves could exploit the flaw in Samsung’s device to trigger money transfers via PayPal. The payments firm played down the risk.
“While we take the findings from Security Research Labs [SRL] very seriously, we are still confident that fingerprint authentication offers an easier and more secure way to pay on mobile devices than passwords or credit cards,” it said. It added that even if users were hacked it would cover their losses.
SRL created its hack by lifting a real fingerprint from a smartphone screen and then carrying out a fairly elaborate process to create a mould out of glue and graphite spray. This was then swiped across the sensor that sits in the phone’s home button.
“The fingerprint mould was actually one I made for the Apple device back in September,” project manager Ben Schlabs said. “All I had to do was take it out of the reject pile as it wasn’t one of the ones that ended up working on the iPhone 5S for whatever reason. It was the first one I tried and it worked immediately on the S5.”
Although the fake fingerprint proved easy to use, Mr Schlabs added that he was concerned that Samsung’s software would not lock out thieves who had less luck, allowing them to make repeated attempts.
“Samsung could have enforced a password [lock-out] after five failed swipe attempts,” he said. “But the way it works is that if it fails five times and asks for a password, if you just turn the screen off and back on again you can have another try.” 
This is not true of the iPhone 5S. While Apple currently limits its fingerprint scanner to unlocking the iPhone and verifying purchases in its own online store, Samsung has allowed its sensor to be used by third-party apps that add its Pass API (application program interface) to their code.

PayPal’s mobile app is the first to take advantage of this. The software can be used to send and request money and reveal past transactions. SRL acknowledged that the fingerprint scanner made it simpler to access, but criticised the company for not requiring a second form of authentication, such as a Pin code.
However, PayPal said Galaxy S5 users should not be deterred from using the feature. “The scan unlocks a secure cryptographic key that serves as a password replacement for the phone,” it said. “We can simply deactivate the key from a lost or stolen device, and you can create a new one. PayPal also uses sophisticated fraud and risk management tools to try to prevent fraud before it happens. However, in the rare instances that it does, you are covered by our purchase protection policy.”

Tech blog Engadget agreed that users should not be too concerned. “The odds are low that a street thief will get past your phone’s defences, or that a talented hacker will get in before you’ve had a chance to remotely wipe your content,” it reported. But Mr Schlabs said that did not mean the risk of fingerprint hacks could be ignored. 
“If you think into the future, once ATMs have fingerprint scanners and once heads of state start using fingerprint authentication it’s going to become a lot more attractive,” he said. “Our method is pretty rudimentary and has been around for at least a decade and it worked on a phone that was only released last week. Once people develop better or faster methods, or once there are fingerprint databases of images that get leaked, it’s definitely a concern.”

TalkTalk and Sky partner with CityFibre to Launch Ultra-Fast Broadband

Sky and TalkTalk today announce that they have joined forces with CityFibre to create a new company that will deliver ultra-fast broadband services in the City of York.
Sky and TalkTalk today announce that they have joined forces with CityFibre to create a new company that will deliver ultra-fast broadband services in the City of York.
The new joint venture company plans to build a state of the art, city-wide, pure fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) network to deliver broadband speeds of 1 Gigabit (1000 Mbps) direct to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in York, offering customers better quality and value.
The new network will leverage CityFibre’s existing metro fibre infrastructure in the City. Once the ultra-fast network is in place, Sky and TalkTalk will retail competing broadband services over the new infrastructure, with the first York customers expected to be connected in 2015.
The joint venture plans to work with leading global technology provider Fujitsu to deploy the pure fibre FTTP network. It will enable Sky and TalkTalk to offer customers better value for higher speeds than is currently available, increasing both choice and innovation in broadband for consumers.
The roll out will give Sky, TalkTalk and CityFibre the opportunity to fully test a new cost effective approach to building a viable pure fibre network, independent from BT Openreach’s infrastructure. The parties also intend to bring ultra-fast broadband to two further cities across the UK and will announce further details about the selection of the cities in due course.
This will be the first time ever that a UK city has been connected with such high speeds on a city-wide basis. The parties will work in partnership with the local community to help ensure the network delivers the numerous benefits better broadband can provide, including helping to grow the local economy and supporting York businesses to better compete in the UK and abroad.
Further details about the new service in York, including branding and launch date, and Sky and TalkTalk’s customer propositions and pricing, will be confirmed in due course.
Dido Harding, Chief Executive of TalkTalk Group, said: “TalkTalk has a long history and proven track record of disrupting new markets, and this is the next step in that journey. We are excited to be working in partnership with Sky and CityFibre to build this new network that will offer significantly higher speeds at much better value than is currently available. This marks TalkTalk taking its first steps into investing in building infrastructure as part of our mission to make British homes and businesses better off.”
Stephen van Rooyen, Managing Director of Sky’s Sales, Marketing and Brand Group, said: “Increased competition in the broadband market has brought benefits to millions of households who now enjoy better quality and value of service. Sky has led the growth of the sector since the launch of Sky Broadband, becoming the UK’s favourite provider of TV, broadband and home phone, and we see plenty of opportunity to continue to develop our offering. This trial will help us understand the potential for cutting-edge technology to help us give customers an even better quality of service and we’re looking forward to working in partnership with TalkTalk and CityFibre.”
Greg Mesch, Chief Executive of CityFibre, said: “As a business that believes in the transformative potential of pure fibre infrastructure and gigabit speeds to stimulate growth and innovation this partnership is great news for UK plc. Working with two of the largest and most forward-thinking service providers in the UK we will continue to extend our existing metro fibre infrastructure and introduce a new generation of gigabit speed services to homes and businesses.”
Cllr James Alexander, Leader of City of York council said: “This announcement makes York the digital infrastructure capital of the UK. Gaining ultra-fast broadband across the city is a huge boost for our economy; providing significant new opportunities for businesses based here and better quality and value to our residents. I’m delighted that York has been chosen as the first city, building on work over the last two years to improve the city’s digital infrastructure, and that we’ll see this in place as soon as 2015”.

O2 4G reaches a third of the UK population as network modernisation programme is unveiled


O2 today confirmed that its 4G network now covers one third of the UK population indoors, reaching 191 towns and cities across the country, from Paisley in Scotland to Brighton on the south coast. O2’s 4G network reaches 41% of the population outdoors.

Since its 4G launch in August 2013, O2 has amassed over one million 4G customers. Those customers used more data in the 4G network’s first six months than the entire O2 network carried between 2000 and 2008, demonstrating the unprecedented demand for fast and seamless data services.

The announcement comes as O2 sheds light on its ambitious nationwide network modernisation programme – one of the largest infrastructure improvement projects taking place in the UK today. Around 25% of O2’s 2G and 3G masts will be upgraded by the end of 2014 in order to deliver an increase in call quality and all round network experience, improving both call and data connectivity at peak times and in high-density areas.

The comprehensive upgrade work, completed on an area-by-area basis, covers a range of modernisation techniques. Sites are assessed individually and key components are refreshed or replaced, including fibre connections, radio equipment, remote monitoring devices and antennas.

The improvements in 2G are particularly crucial to power the ever-growing M2M industry, enabling valuable business data to power services including vehicle recovery and vending machines.

O2 has also committed to investing an additional £16m to bring data coverage to places that have never had it before. Over 200 areas across the UK will get their first taste of 3G data coverage from O2 this year. This will open up possibilities for both customers and businesses to access data on the move, such as mobile email and internet browsing, for which they’ve previously relied on Wifi connections.

Derek McManus, COO of Telefonica UK (O2) commented: “Last year we launched our 4G network and undertook the fastest network roll-out in the history of our company. This year we’re continuing that roll-out and concurrently modernising our 2G and 3G networks.

“Building a great network isn’t just about bringing faster speeds to people that already have coverage. It’s vital that we also bring seamless coverage to people that have never had it before. Investment in all layers of our network is key to ensuring customers receive a great experience, whether that’s in streaming live goals in the pub or receiving critical business information.

“We continue to invest the equivalent of £1.5million in our network every single day to offer seamless connectivity for our customers across 2G, 3G, 4G and Wifi. and remain focused on delivering an experience that exceeds our customers’ expectations.”

In 2012, O2 and Vodafone announced a partnership to pool the basic parts of their network infrastructure. This deal, unlike a network sharing agreement, creates one national grid supporting two independent and competing networks both delivering mobile coverage and services across the UK.



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Smartphone charger promises to power up batteries in just 30 seconds



A new charger that can fully charge a smartphone in 30 seconds will be available in under three years costing $30, according to StoreDot an Israeli university spin off.

A prototype of the charger was shown off at Microsoft’s Think Next conference in Tel Aviv, where it completely recharged a Samsung Galaxy smartphone in around 30 seconds using a charger the size of a laptop power supply.

The charger was developed from technology from the Nanotechnology department of Tel Aviv university. It uses StoreDot’s patented organic compounds, called “Nanodots”, instead of the standard lithium-based chemicals used in current battery technology, to store energy rapidly in a compact form.

StoreDot plans to make chargers compatible with a range of smartphones and other electronic devices like tablets and laptops. It has already received $6m of venture capital funding for the work, which it says originally grew out of research into Alzheimer’s disease a decade ago that discovered “nano-structures” associated with it. Further research led to the new technology.

The prototype charger is about the size of a standard laptop power supply, but StoreDot expects its dedicated engineering team to be able to shrink the technology to a more manageable size.

StoreDot plans to enter production of the 30 second charger by late 2016 with an estimated cost of $30 or roughly twice the price of a standard USB smartphone charger today.




Samsung launches ‘Social’ Galaxy Ace Style


Samsung has added to its smartphone portfolio with the announcement of the Galaxy Ace Style, which it said is aimed at young social networkers.

The device is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and runs the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. It has a four-inch touchscreen, 4GB of internal memory that can be expanded to 64GB with a microSD card and Samsung’s UI, TouchWiz 2014.

Also included is a five megapixel rear and VGA front camera, with pictures instantly sharable on social networks. The handset also comes pre-loaded with Samsung’s instant messaging product, ChatON.

The Galaxy Ace Style will be available in ‘cream white’ and dark grey from this month, with UK availability confirmed in due course.


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