Repairs, installation targets for phone connections in UK could reduce under Ofcom proposals
British regulator Ofcom is considering changes to standards relating to installation and repairs to phone lines in the United Kingdom, as part of a three-yearly review. Openreach, the wholesale arm of BT which performs installations and fault repair for multiple telecommunications companies, as well as managing the infrastructure of the phone system, will receive lower fault repair targets and will be forced to offer reduced charges to customers, if Ofcom's proposals are accepted.
O2 adds price rise clause to contracts to avoid Ofcom rule changes
British carrier O2 has updated its contracts, requiring new customers and subscribers who upgrade to agree to a price plan increase every year. The change, noted by Engadget, comes after UK regulator Ofcom clarified rules that allowed customers to exit a contract early without penalty their contracts are changed mid-commitment, except in specific circumstances. As O2 has managed to find a loophole, it is likely that other carriers in the United Kingdom may employ similar tactics in the future, in order to earn more from their customers without the early termination risk.
Passengers could see faster Internet connections in transit before end of year
Transport companies in the United Kingdom could offer passengers faster Internet connections in the future, thanks to a recent decision by Ofcom. The UK regulator is permitting the use of satellite-based connections in travel, with Ofcom claiming passengers could end up seeing broadband speeds up to ten times faster than what is currently offered by airlines, ferries, and coach firms.
Capped bills for stolen phones, early termination clauses in new agreement
Customers of mobile phone networks in the United Kingdom will be better protected from high bills after their phone is lost or stolen. EE, Virgin Media, Vodafone, and Three have all signed up to a government agreement that will, among other obligations, place a cap of Â£50 ($82) on the customer's liability for usage from the time the phone is reported as stolen.
British carriers must allow free disconnections after contract increases
Internet service providers and carriers in the United Kingdom must allow customers to exit a contract without penalty, according to new guidance from Ofcom. The British regulator has clarified how existing rules must be interpreted by telecommunications companies, with the new Guidance statement set to come into effect early next year.
Regulator Ofcom wants to raise 900MHz, 1800MHz charges by factor of four
Carriers in the United Kingdom will be forced to pay more for its spectrum, if a regulator gets its way. A consultation by Ofcom states that it hopes to increase the annual license fees for 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum in the country, with carriers facing the prospect of paying more than four times as much for already-allocated spectrum.
Total of 4G auction winning bids lower than anticipated
UK regulator Ofcom has closed its 4G spectrum auction earlier than anticipated. Mainstream British carriers Vodafone, Telefonica, Everything Everywhere, and Three, as well as BT subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures, have won various sections of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands, though the money earned by the UK Treasury through the auction is far below what it expected.
UK carriers may be allowed to roll out 4G LTE outside of auction
United Kingdom telecommunications regulator Ofcom is considering the prospect of allowing carriers to reuse existing spectrum for LTE-based services, such as those offered by EE. Such a proposal from Ofcom would potentially offer more spectrum for the faster network services than its current 4G spectrum auction could provide, with little in the way of extra licensing cost for phone networks.
Major UK networks joined by PCCW, BT in auction
UK regulator of communications Ofcom has revealed the companies that can bid in its oncoming 4G spectrum auction. The list of seven companies that have qualified in order to take part includes all of the major phone networks in the UK, as well as two that do not currently operate as mobile carriers in the United Kingdom.
Spectrum auction set to finish before April 2013
UK regulator Ofcom has issued rules for the upcoming 4G spectrum auction in the country. The newly-released timetable will see network operators such as Vodafone and O2 submit bids for spectrum from January onwards, with the combined reserve prices for the 800MHz and 2.6GHz ranges being auctioned totaling over £1.3 billion ($2 billion).
White space control could lead to free national public Wi-Fi
Google and Microsoft are both seeking control of the UK's unused spectrum, according to reports. The white spaces, sections of radio spectrum used as a buffer between bands employed by mobile, radio, and television services, could potentially be used by the technology giants to offer nationwide broadband services to the population.
Competitor claims foul on regulator decisions
Ofcom is allowing Everything Everywhere to use its existing spectrum for 4G services in the UK, despite carrier resentment. The statement on the regulator's website approves Everything Everywhere's rebranding request, which would see the 1,800MHz spectrum used for the 4G rollout from September 11 this year, well before the expected start of 4G services next year by other carriers.
Tenth of population owns a tablet computer, two fifths own smartphones
The average British resident uses SMS and social networking more than phone calls, a study claims. Ofcom, the UK regulator for communications, has released a report suggesting mobile-based voice calls are in decline for the first time ever, with use falling by over one percent in 2011. Landline call volumes dropped by ten percent, which equates to an overall decline of five percent for all voice calls throughout the UK last year.
4G auction delays due to threats of litigation
The blame for the slow creation of a 4G network in the UK lies with carriers, according to a government minister. Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, told the Future of Entertainment summit in London that repeated legal threats to Ofcom from mobile service providers are causing delays, as opposed to government interference. Vaizey referred to the continued problems Ofcom faces from carriers, saying “Every single one is threatening to sue, not Ofcom, if they get it wrong, which is continuing to prolong the roll out of 4G in Britain.”
Ofcom extends deadline by nearly three weeks
Despite approving a deal for Everything Everywhere's proposed 4G network, UK regulator Ofcom has given competing networks more time to comment on the proposal. The extension was done at the request of stakeholders, and was pushed back from April 17 until May 8 of this year. Vodafone and O2 have filed complaints that suggest the new spectrum would give Everything Everywhere an unfair advantage by being the first to get to the market.
Ofcom OKs Orange, T-Mobile LTE in UK
UK regulator Ofcom has approved (PDF) Everything Everywhere's planned formal rollout of LTE in the UK. The pairing of Orange and T-Mobile can reuse its 1,800MHz spectrum from 2G to run its LTE. Its coverage will come on top of whatever frequencies Everything Everywhere gets from upcoming LTE auctions.
Ofcom and TfL to brace London for Olympic data
Two organizations are working to brace London's mobile data networks for the expected impact of the summer Olympics this year. Regulator Ofcom has planned to increase the amount of available wireless spectrum for 3G in the city. Among the efforts, it plans to borrow airwave access from government bodies like the Ministry of Defence, to exploit unlicensed bands, and to use frequencies going up for auction but which won't be used until 2013.
RIM to come up with solution for UK porn filter
RIM has been summoned to a meeting with the UK’s independent regulator of its communication industries, Ofcom, over the way its devices and services circumvent carrier porn blocking technology. The problem is unique in the UK to BlackBerry handsets and is especially concerning for local authorities as RIM’s phones remain popular with the younger demographic in the UK. The filtering technology works on the iPhone and Android handsets, but young kids can still access porn on their BlackBerry's.
Ofcom wants speed, traffic filtering guarantees
UK telecom regulator Ofcom has put out a statement calling for Internet providers to step up their honesty as to traffic management. It noted that even those who had agreed to a voluntary guideline weren't providing enough detail and that it wanted basic guarantees. Providers were asked both to provide real-world average speeds as well as whatever throttling or blocking they were undertaking.
1,000 users to try 4G networking over next 9 mos.
UK wireless carrier O2 has said that it will soon begin trials for 4G LTE network services in the greater London area. O2 plans to deploy the service in a 40 square mile area and give users as much as 100Mbps downstream. The trials will begin later this month and last for the next nine months.
Delay should not impact 2013 deployment schedule
Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries has delayed its planned auctions of 4G mobile bandwidth until the end of 2012. The authority did so in response to a number of issues raised by potential bidders since the auctions were announced in March. Ofcom believes that the delay won't impact the actual deployment for 4G services.
Ofcom: tech complications may push back 4G sale
The largest wireless spectrum auction in the UK may be pushed back to the spring of 2012, according to a Tuesday report. The country's regulator, Ofcom, blamed the delay on many technical and legal issues. The potential delay is at least three months later than originally planned, though Ofcom added it has always said the original timescale was ambitious.
Use would recylcle underutilized TV spectrum
Ofcom, the regulatory and competition authority for the UK communications industry, has approved the use of "white space," the unused segments that exist in the spectrum currently solely used by analog TV broadcasts, for wireless Internet access. The low frequency of this spectrum enables signals to travel long distances and penetrate walls at speeds up to 22Mbps, making it attractive for a wide range of new consumer applications including rural broadband, and behavior like Wi-Fi with up to twice the range of today’s technology.
Ofcom proposals may shake up paid mobile content
UK regulator Ofcom proposed on Friday that paid smartphone content bought through a carrier's site should be regulated by carriers and not PhonepayPlus, as it is currently. The content on an industry-owned Payforit gateway should be overseen by PhonepayPlus, it continued. Wireless providers asked Ofcom to look into the matter, but they didn't want Payforit content to be regulated.
Ofcom broadband price cuts could lead to savings
UK telecommunications industry regulator Ofcom has revised the rates that Openreach, manager of BT's network, is able to charge other providers for using its services. This wholesale price could be reduced by over 10 percent per year. Companies that use Openreach, like TalkTalk and Sky, will benefit, but it won't help those such as Virgin Media that use their own cable network.
Group working to ensure competition among carriers
The UK is reportedly preparing its largest-ever spectrum auction, which will include bands spreading across 250MHz of spectrum no longer utilized by television broadcasters. The wireless regulation authority Ofcom is said to be working to finalize a strategy that will ensure the spectrum is distributed among at least four competing networks.
UK bill to force ISPs to monitor, punish pirates
A bill has been passed by the British House of Lords that, if it becomes law, would require Internet Service Providers to report suspected file sharers and copyright violators to copyright holders as well as the UK's Office of Communications (OFCOM). The Digital Economy Bill would be at odds with the way the European Commission handles enforce copyright infringements. OFCOM would need to decide on what ISPs are obligated to do with customers they suspect of infringing copyrights.
New Ofcom 3G rules to come into effect in August
UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom has proposed using 3G technologies at 2G frequencies in the UK, with an amended document that should be approved this August. In it, rules are updated to Ultra Wide Band usage, while 3G network technology will be deployed at the 900MHz and 1,800MHz bands which are currently restricted to the 2G GSM network.
Vodafone May Buy T-Mo UK
An apparent leak late Sunday suggests that Vodafone may be interested in buying T-Mobile's British division. Reported sources for FT have the former either buying the smaller UK carrier or else establishing a joint venture. The deal would be possible thanks to T-Mobile's widely rumored dire financial state, which may have left the company with little choice but to look for a partner.
UK Pushing for 900MHz 3G
British cellular carriers O2 and Vodafone are being asked by the government to share their 3G spectrum as part of an effort to supply rural broadband. Although the two providers are currently the exclusive holders of the 900MHz band for faster wireless data, officials at the independent regulator Ofcom are asking the two to allow at least one other carrier to share the space and build out coverage in those areas that aren't already served.
Ofcom UK Internet Rules
British telecom regulator Ofcom today put into effect a new set of guidelines meant to improve the state of Internet access in the UK. The voluntary system requires Internet providers who agree to the terms to give users a better idea of the real-world maximum speeds of the Internet connections and also guarantees that customers can step down their service plans without suffering a penalty fee.
UK ISPs join piracy fight
The British music and film industries finally received the cooperation they have been seeking from Internet Service Providers in helping them fight illegal file downloading. A report on Thursday has six of the country's largest Internet providers sending warning letters to subscribers suspected of illegal file downloading and sharing. The decision to do so is commonly believed to be spurred by the British government, which announced earlier this year that it would impose its own laws forcing them to police how their services are used had they failed to cooperate voluntarily.
UK ISPs get ad standard
Ofcom, the UK communication industry's independent regulator, is planning to make a voluntary standard for Internet providers to follow when advertising their maximum connection speeds. More than 90 percent of the country's ISPs agreed to complying with the new code, which would give customers a more accurate comparison of performance between companies when shopping for a new provider.
O2 Finishes 3G Rollout
British telecoms regulator Ofcom today confirmed that national carrier O2 has met its minimum targets for a rollout of 3G Internet service in the country. The cellular provider is said to have supplied at least 80 percent of the UK's population with the faster wireless Internet service. O2's buildout helps the company avoid the equivalent of a $79.6 million fine if it failed to expand its coverage area by the end of June, six months after the official goal of December 31st, 2007. Of the five carriers authorized for 3G, only O2 has taken as much time to reach its necessary target, Ofcom says.
UK 4G Wireless Auction
Britain's telecoms regulator Ofcom on Friday confirmed that it would hold a new auction for wireless space in the country. Partly echoing the just-completed FCC auction in the US, the UK agency will allow portions of spectrum in the 2GHz and 2.6GHz spaces to be used for different wireless services. This is likely to involve fourth-generation data services such as "evolutions of 3G technology" or WiMAX, Ofcom says.
Cheaper data roaming in EU
People are still paying too much for roaming data use in other countries, says Ofcom, the official regulator of media and telecommunications in the UK. The group is pressuring cellular carriers to reduce their charges within the European Union, which can sometimes be prohibitively expensive; Ofcom chief Ed Richards notes that last summer, the average roaming price for 1MB of data was £4.11. "It could cost tens of pounds to download a single PowerPoint presentation," Richards has told the Financial Times.