Mobile Network in a briefcase comes to London

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The days of large cranes blocking roads to install mobile network cell sites could be over thanks to a successful deployment  by Vodafone UK and Ericsson of a new ‘mini base-station’, housed in small, briefcase-sized radio units.
The award-winning radio units also come packed with the latest 4G mobile technology to give a greater number of customers a faster and more reliable mobile connection. Half the size and weight of a standard radio unit* offering three times the capacity, the units not only help meet increasing data demands, but make it easier to deploy on rooftops in urban areas – and they are more energy efficient. Engineers can simply carry the equipment up the stairs to a rooftop and install the unit without the need of a costly and disruptive crane, speeding up the process of extending our 4G network.
Vodafone and Ericsson have installed the first mini base station in Southwark, London, and will be rolling out the new system across the capital and in other urban areas.
Vodafone has a long track record in network innovation and design. Through the Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s philanthropic arm, it developed the Instant Network, a portable mobile network that has been deployed in countries across the world following natural disasters, including Kenya and the Philippines.
With mobile data usage growing at an incredible rate, Vodafone is also exploring the deployment of antennas and small cells to ensure long-term capacity requirements are met for customers and visitors. It is also calling for 30-year old planning laws to be updated and for less obstruction to gaining access to key sites in order to ensure the UK has a world-leading digital infrastructure for years to come.
The two organisations are also working on faster versions of Carrier Aggregation, which allows Vodafone to combine its range of spectrum bands to provide higher average speeds to more simultaneous users and meet future capacity demands. Following recent trials of three-way Carrier Aggregation on sites in London, which combine Vodafone’s 800MHz, 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz spectrum, download speeds were achieved of up to 240 Mbps.  The trial sites are now ready to deliver download speeds of up to 700 Mbps to meet future mobile data growth.
Vodafone UK’s Chief Technology Officer Jorge Fernandes said: “We continue to look at new and innovative ways of providing improved mobile coverage in order to meet our customers’ soaring demand for mobile data and video while minimising disruption to the general public and improving the aesthetics of the surrounding area.”
“We are delighted to be partnering with Ericsson, one of our key network suppliers, on this project and look forward to further engaging with local councils and Government to look at ways of reducing red tape around site planning for mobile mast installations.”
In addition to being less obtrusive, the base stations can also support the latest mobile technology such as 4G+, which is also referred to as Carrier Aggregation. Under its 4G+ roll-out, Vodafone is combining up to three mobile spectrum bands to provide customers in high density areas with faster data speeds and improved voice quality both outdoors and indoors.

EE launches international plans to support UK small businesses

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Senior decision makers in British small and medium enterprises (SMEs) expect international trading to drive 25 per cent of their business’s growth over the next five years, and say mobile technology is critical to international operations, new online research from EE has revealed.
To help UK SMEs work more effectively across borders, EE has launched Business Extra+, the UK’s first plan for businesses to include unlimited calls and texts across the USA, EU and UK.
EE’s SME International Ambitions online survey of 1,000 senior decision makers in British businesses was conducted by YouGov, and found that the US and Western Europe are the top growth markets for Britain’s smaller businesses. 55 per cent of senior decision makers in SMEs operating internationally say their businesses are currently or planning to trade with the US market, while 82 per cent said they are currently or planning to trade with Western Europe.  
Over two thirds of senior decision makers in SMEs operating internationally (69 per cent) said international calls are critical to their business, and three quarters (75 per cent) said that using mobile devices while abroad for calls, text, email, web and file sharing in the same way they do at home was extremely important when travelling. 70 per cent said mobile technology helps them better interact with overseas customers, partners and prospects.
EE’s Business Extra+ plans provide enhanced roaming options for UK SMEs when travelling to the US and Europe. The plan is designed for businesses to use their smartphones as they would at home, in Europe, USA or the UK, with unlimited calls and texts between any of these destinations, plus EE’s Euro Data Pass as standard. The plans includes up to 50GB of data per month in the UK, meeting the demand of the majority of UK SMEs.
EE also enables SMEs to work in the EU as they do at home with 500MB of daily data through the Euro Data pass – equivalent to 15GB a month.
Lydia Hicks, director of SME product marketing at BT said: “UK SMEs show no signs of holding back on their international business ambitions, so we’ve built our EE Business Extra+ plans to help them stay connected with international customers and partners, whether at home or abroad.  Unlimited calls and texts to and from clients and partners overseas, plus generous 4G data allowances enable UK SMEs to focus on growing their businesses, rather than worrying about their bill. Plus, our superfast 4G in over 50 countries enables businesspeople to work as they would from home.”
Anthony Sinclair, the central London tailors, is the company behind the suits worn by Sean Connery in his first James Bond film. Just like the 007 agent, the work takes its staff all over the world.
David Mason, managing director of Anthony Sinclair, said: “International operations are crucial to our business. We travel frequently to Europe and America to meet with suppliers, clients and new business leads, and technology helps us to bring the office with us. EE’s plans will mean that we can call our customers and partners, and access all customer records and virtual catalogues while we’re abroad just as we would at home without worrying what the bill is going to be like.”
The research further revealed:
After Western Europe and the USA, the Nordics is the third most popular growth market, with 44 per cent of SMEs currently or with plans to operate internationally saying they’re targeting the region
Asia and Eastern Europe are the fourth and fifth top growth markets, each with 42 per cent, while one third (33 per cent) are targeting Australia and New Zealand
22 per cent currently or plan to trade with South America, and 21 per cent currently trade with or are aiming to trade with South Africa
Northern Africa was revealed to be the market SMEs are least likely to be targeting for growth, as just 15 per cent of SMEs saying they currently or plan to trade with it
Manufacturing (71 per cent), media and marketing (67 per cent) and IT/telecoms (43 per cent) are the industries most likely to be trading or planning to trade abroad
Additionally, 40 per cent said that they are currently trading internationally, while a further six per cent plan to do so within the next five years

Ofcom to probe consumers’ understanding of broadband speed claims in ads

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Research into consumers’ understanding of broadband speed claims in advertisements is to be carried out by Ofcom.

The industry regulator will work with the Committees for Advertising Practice (CAP), which wrote and maintains the Advertising Codes.
Broadband providers can only advertise a headline speed if it is achievable by at least one in ten customers.
Guidance also states that any claims must be clarified with an “up to” qualifier, while those using ADSL2+ services must be told that their distance from the exchange can affect their speeds.
Ofcom said the guidance was drawn up to manage customer expectations and make sure they understand that numerous factors can cause speeds to vary.
The regulator revealed it has seen a 60 per cent drop in the number of complaints about broadband speed advertising since the guidance was introduced.
However, it pointed out that some consumers still feel misled by what providers are saying in their promotional material. As a result, Ofcom wants to look at this issue in more detail and test people’s understanding and expectations that arise from advertised claims.
Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA, commented: “As an evidence-based regulator, we want to make sure our approach is underpinned by the experience of real people. “While complaints to the ASA about broadband speed claims have reduced considerably over recent years, we’re taking action to respond to the concerns by testing our approach through consumer research.”
Ofcom will publish its findings in the autumn, at which point CAP could determine if any changes to the current guidance need to be made.

BT breaks broadband speed record in fibre trials

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Recent trials by BT using fibre optic cables have yielded record breaking results.

The company’s specialists at Adastral Park in Ipswich have collaborated with Huawei on tests involving a live core network link extending more than 700km between London and Dublin.
They achieved a speed of 2Tbps, which is a brand new world record for a live network.
Researchers also managed to transmit speeds of 5.6Tbps over a single optical fibre running on its trial network between Adastral Park and the BT Tower in London.
This breaks the 3Tbps record set two years ago and is comparable to downloading nearly 200 HD quality films in a second.
Howard Watson, Chief Executive of BT Technology, Service & Operations, commented: “BT scientists built the first commercial single mode optical fibre link back in 1984 and the BT Labs remain at the forefront of photonics research more than 30 years later. The core network is the superhighway of the internet. It’s important that our core networks keep pace with the growth in bandwidth demands driven by take-up of high-speed fibre broadband, HD content, 4G smartphones and tablets and in the future, 5G services.”
Mr Watson added that BT is investing in its core and high-speed access technology such as fibre broadband to ensure there is no capacity crunch and that broadband customers get the best possible speeds.
He described the recent tests as “landmark trials” that demonstrate BT is able to deliver the speeds needed in its core networks to stay several steps ahead of rising customer demand.

End spam calls with one text

peoples phone text message received

Mobile phone users across the UK can now opt out of unsolicited and marketing calls – by sending one text. The ‘text-to-register’ service – created by phone company regulator Ofcom and the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) – allows mobile phone users to add their number to the UK’s official ‘do not call’ database by texting ‘TPS’ and their email address to 78070.
Having a mobile number on the database means that it is illegal for companies to call without permission.
Ofcom are keen to raise awareness of the TPS – according to their research, only half of people familiar with the TPS (48 per cent) are aware that mobile numbers can be registered, compared to almost nine in 10 (88 per cent) for landline phone numbers.
Only around 3 per cent – 2.9 million – mobile numbers are registered with the TPS database, compared with 18.5 million landline numbers (around 85 per cent).
Mobile customers simply text ‘TPS’ followed by their email address to 78070. They should receive a text reply from the TPS confirming their number has been successfully added to the database. A gradual reduction in unsolicited sales and marketing voice calls should be noticeable after a few days, although it can take up to 28 days for the service to become fully effective.

People registered with the TPS have seen around a reduction of around a third in ‘live’ sales and marketing calls – although registering with the TPS does not prevent spam text messages.
John Mitchison, Head of the Telephone Preference Service, said: “Rogue callers operate illegally and against the interests of ordinary people. Texting will make it easier for people to register their mobile numbers on the TPS, which is the only official no-call list, and help us stamp out rogue callers once and for all by giving the Information Commissioner more ammunition to prosecute these cases.”
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom Consumer Group Director, added: “Many millions of landline customers already take advantage of the protection the TPS gives against nuisance calls, and we want to ensure it’s as easy as possible for mobile users to do the same. We encourage anyone who wants to reduce the number of frustrating and unwanted calls to their mobile phone to register with the TPS today.”

Aside from the new scheme, Ofcom has the five tips for tackling nuisance calls Be careful who you give your contact details to, whether it’s online, on the phone, or in person. Look carefully at any marketing ‘opt-in’ and ‘opt-out’ boxes. These boxes are often buried in the small print. If you don’t pay attention to them, you could find yourself inadvertently agreeing to be contacted by companies you don’t recognise.
If someone rings and asks for financial information over the phone, such as your account details or PIN number, don’t provide it.
Talk to your phone provider to see what privacy services are available, and consider a call-blocker – though be aware, you may need to pay for these services.
If you receive a nuisance call or message, make a complaint. Complaint information helps regulators take action against companies acting unlawfully. If the call is a live telesales call, an automated marketing message, or a spam text message, complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. You can report spam texts to your mobile network operator by simply forwarding the text to 7726. If you receive a silent or abandoned call, complain to Ofcom.

Three hits EE with £167m lawsuit over mast-sharing agreement

Three have started legal proceedings against EE over claims that they have lost £167 million through their network sharing agreement.
Three have started legal proceedings against EE over claims that they have lost £167 million through their network sharing agreement. 
Court papers filed by Three state that EE has so far only enabled Three to make use of 1,301 mobile mast sites during the last six years – less than half stated in the original agreement between the two mobile network operators.
Three, owned by CK Hutchison had existing agreements with T-Mobile which enabled Three to use their 3G infrastructure. the allowance of Three to use T-Mobile’s masts was one of the conditions that had to be met before Orange and T-Mobile were allowed to merge together to form EE.
An estimated £127.9 million has already been lost by Three who have calculated an estimated loss of £39 million in the future.

UK Government announces plans to cut the costs of building mobile masts

The UK Government has announced it’s plans to reform the UK telecoms sector as part of the upcoming Digital Economy Bill.
The UK Government has announced it’s plans to reform the UK telecoms sector as part of the upcoming Digital Economy Bill.
On May 18th this year (2016), Queen Elizabeth II announced as a part of the Queen’s Speech that the Government will introduce a new code which has been designed to cut the cost of building new mobile masts.
Masts currently average around £100,000 per installation according to The Mobile Operators Association. 

This new pledge follows repeated calls from figures within the mobile telecoms industry that have requested help from Westminster to enable mobile infrastructure rollout with more speed and less red tape.

The proposed Digital Economy Bill is due to be put before Parliment next year. If approved the Bill will also guarantee UK households have access to broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps through the Broadband Universal Service Obligation.
Her Majesty the Queen also stated that customers will will have an automatic right to compensation should their broadband service goes down.


Smartphones using lithium-air batteries could last a week per charge

The Post Office has announced that it will be cancelling it’s PAYG offering immediately.
Dr Kyeongjae Cho and his team of researchers based at Dallas University have discovered a new catalyst for lithium-air batteries.
This new discovery can theoretically enhance a batteries capacity by up to ten times with batteries lasting five times longer than present day fuel-cells. These new batteries breath oxygen which in turn powers chemical reactions inside the battery to produce chemical energy.
The new type of battery would be a lot smaller, and more efficient than current day batteries as the lithium-air fuel cells woudn’t need to store an oxidiser like current ithium-ion batteries do. According to Dr Cho this new power source could offer a greater energy density of up to ten times that of lithium-ion, making them comparable to gasoline in terms of output.
It isn’t just smartphones that could benefit from the new type of battery with electric cars being an obvious candidate. The new cells are estimated to be one fifth of the weight and one fifth of the cost of standard batteries today. An electric car should be able to cover a 400 mile range off a single charge.
However it’s too early to get excited about, as this is only a research breakthrough it could be another ten years until we see lithium-air batteries in smartphones and cars.
Dr Cho has commented on the breakthrough saying, “This is a major step, hopefully it will revitalise the interest in lithium-air battery research, creating momentum that can make this practical, rather than just an academic research study.”

More than 10% of drivers admit breaking law by using mobile at the wheel

More than one in 10 motorists is happy to use a hand-held mobile at the wheel and over half admit to snacking while driving, a survey reveals today.
More than one in 10 motorists is happy to use a hand-held mobile at the wheel and over half admit to snacking while driving, a survey reveals today.
Four in 10 of respondents also admitted that they had become dangerously distracted while driving as they felt the urge to use a smartphone. The poll for the Guild of Experienced Motorists came as provisional Transport for London figures show motorcycle fatalities up 147 per cent from 2014 to 2015, and pedestrian deaths up by 31 per cent over the same period.
Despite the willingness of some of those surveyed to break the law, more than three quarters of the 3,391 drivers polled called for more traffic police and almost 35 per cent wanted to see more speed cameras.
GEM chief executive David Williams said: “The survey reveals the double standards at the heart of motoring in this country, and the enormous challenge the authorities face to promote behaviour change. On one hand, we are demanding tougher action against law-breaking motorists, but on the other hand millions are quite happy to admit to bad driving.  

In recent decades we have made considerable progress in persuading people not to drink and drive. Achieving a nationwide commitment to reducing driver distractions is a huge challenge.”

The survey shows that opinion is split on enforcement cameras, with 34.9 per cent calling for more, 39.4 per cent happy with existing levels and 25.7 per cent wanting fewer. Following reports of some drivers keeping their licences despite having 12 or more penalty points, 66.4 per cent of respondents said courts should show a tougher line with “totters”.

However, most of those surveyed said speed penalties were at the “right” level, and favoured plans to increase fines from £100 to £150 for using a hand-held phone at the wheel.
Mr Williams said: “The government priority should be to seek out new compelling messages that will persuade drivers to banish distractions. At the same time, we call for a much-needed boost in traffic police numbers to deal with the riskiest drivers.”
Paul Watters, the AA’s head of roads and transport policy, said the behaviour admitted to by drivers was adding to casualty levels in the capital. We’ve all seen people eating breakfast cereal from bowls and texting while driving in London’s slow-moving traffic. The trouble is that traffic speeds up and there might be a pedestrian or vulnerable road user squeezed between the traffic, unnoticed.”
Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport at TfL, said: “We are working relentlessly to reduce casualties on London’s roads. The increased usage of mobile phones has seen a rise in the number of incidents involving drivers, other road users and pedestrians using such devices. We are redoubling our efforts to communicate the dangers of distraction, including working with police partners to clamp down on people failing to obey the law. By doing this we can continue to make real progress towards making our roads safer for everyone.” 

EE predicts Glastonbury goers will use 15 terrabytes of data

ee 4g network glastonbury festival 2016 peoples phone

EE, the UK’s largest mobile network operator, predicts Glastonbury 2016 will be the most connected green-field music festival in the world as it prepares to install the largest and most powerful temporary 4G network seen at any UK event.
The amount of data consumed by festival goers at this sold out event has been rapidly increasing since the launch of 4G, and this year EE predicts that with 135,000 revellers on site, EE customers will use a colossal 15 terabytes of data via its 4G network over the course of the five days.
This mind-boggling amount of data is the equivalent of: Uploading 63 million Pyramid stage selfies; Downloading Adele’s hit single Hello three million times; Streaming artist performances on BBC iPlayer continually for six years; 20 times as much mobile data as festival-goers used in 2011, the last time Coldplay headlined the festival.
Whether uploading selfies to Instagram, sharing memorable moments via Snapchat, checking in on Facebook, or joining the conversation on Twitter, EE’s bespoke network will allow experiences to be shared seamlessly so festival-goers can spend more time embracing all Glastonbury has to offer. Festival-goers will use EE’s 4G network to share twice as much content in five days as people across the whole of Bristol – the South West’s largest city.
Planning for the temporary 4G network at Glastonbury starts nine months prior to the festival and installation of the high capacity mobile base stations commences four weeks before. To cope with the data demand, EE has added a sixth mobile site this year, and tripled the amount of mobile airwaves for customers to use. For the first time ever customers will also be able to make calls on the EE 4G network with EE’s launch of ‘4G Calling’.  
Spencer McHugh, Director of Brand at EE, said “People in the UK are using their mobiles more than ever before to share cherished experiences. 2016 has already seen 4G data usage increase by at least 40% at other major events year on year and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. Each year social media feeds all over the world are flooded with images and videos of Glastonbury Festival so, in anticipation of the huge demand we expect to see at Worthy Farm this June, we’ve tripled our 4G capacity thanks to a number of new innovative network technologies.”
The official Glastonbury 2016 app, developed in partnership with EE, will be available to download in early June, allowing festival-goers to get up-to-the-minute news on the weekend’s entertainment and live stream the BBC’s coverage. Customers who download the app can drop location pins over the weekend to ensure they don’t lose their friends, tent or car at Worthy Farm.  More information on charging at the festival will be announced in the coming weeks.
The technology behind the network. EE’s investment in building a 4G network capable of supporting the amazing appetite for data at Glastonbury Festival includes: Adding a sixth temporary mobile antenna unit to the network to improve coverage and increase capacity; Identifying optimum locations for all six mobile sites to deliver 4G coverage to all areas of the festival; Reviewing congestion graphs from 2015 to optimise capacity for the 2016 event
Tripling the 4G spectrum capacity, adding 35MHz of 2600MHz spectrum to the existing 20MHz of 1800MHz spectrum; Implementing 4G Calling (VoLTE) to allow phone calls to be carried over the 4G network; Implementing state-of-the-art six sector antenna technology to optimise capacity; Deploying the full EE portfolio of 2G and 3G spectrum.
Increasing backhaul capacity to provide an optimum data experience