Raids of corporate offices follow complaints about Internet capacities
The offices of three major carriers in Europe have been raided by European Union officials as part of an investigation into the practice of bandwidth throttling. The headquarters of Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Telefonica all received visits from the government officials, trying to find evidence that the three are restricting the bandwidth for companies specifically requiring such high levels.
Stylistic S01 includes simplified menus, call assists
Fujitsu and Orange have agreed to offer Fujitsu smartphones to customers in France, with initial handsets being targeted at senior users. The first offering will be the Stylistic S01, a mid-ranged 4-inch Android 4.0 smartphone based heavily on the Fujitsu Raku Raku, one that is focused on helping elderly users communicate.
Only second UK carrier to offer Visual Voicemail
UK carrier EE has turned on Visual Voicemail for iPhone 5 owners. Visual Voicemail allows people to treat voicemail like an email inbox, instead having to call a carrier's number and respond to prompts. With EE, though, the option is only available to iPhone 5 owners subscribed to a 4GEE plan. Data consumed by voicemail doesn't count against any caps.
Orange France claims half data traffic from Google properties
French telecommunications provider Orange has imposed a deal on Google, forcing the search giant to pay for traffic sent through its data networks. The agreement, terms of which remain undisclosed, sees Google compensate the carrier for its sites taking up roughly 50 percent of all traffic on Orange's networks.
Carrier turns on 4G coverage in 11 cities
Everything Everywhere has turned on its 4G network in the UK. The new network, jointly created by Orange and T-Mobile, has gone live in 11 cities across the country, in the first wave of the carrier's national rollout that will see 98 percent of the UK population covered by the end of the year 2014.
HD Voice service now possible between callers in Romania, Moldova
UK-based wireless provider Orange has began offering its HD Voice data calling service to callers located in different countries. Thus far, however, only callers located in Romania and Moldova on Orange's network (or a branded carrier that uses Orange's network) can enjoy the clearer conversations thanks to a speech transmission format known as Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate (WB-AMR). Still, Orange calls this feat an important technical breakthrough.
Offering 4G LTE, fiber optic service to 11 million people
The UK's first 4G service has officially been announced. Everything Everywhere, formed by the combination of carriers Orange and T-Mobile, has named the new network EE, turning the network on today. The service stands to offer not only 4G LTE services to customers, but also a fibre broadband service that will reach 11 million homes and businesses by the end of the year.
Lumia 610 arrives at UK retailers and carriers, priced at £15 per month
Nokia launched the Lumia 610 smartphone in the UK on Wednesday. As the company's entry-level Windows Phone-powered device, it has just 256MB of RAM and is relegated to Windows Phone 7.5. Major UK carriers and retailers including Vodafone, Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Three, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u will sell the phone starting at just £15 (about $23) per month on a contract, with no money down.
Intel hints first phone product closer
Intel CEO Paul Otellini during a call discussing his company's latest results revealed that the first phone with one of its company's processors would at last be shipping this week. The executive didn't name the specific phone, but it may be the Lenovo K800, which had originally been promised for May. Other candidates could include the Orange Santa Clara or its near-identical cousin, the Lava Xolo X900.
Intel Q1 2012 beats guidance but muted
Intel had relatively lackluster results that showed a dampened PC environment with most of its hope resting in the future. Its revenue was flat from year to year, at $12.9 billion. Intel hadn't divulged its exact PC Client group revenue in 2011 results, but it noted that the mostly desktop- and notebook-focused group's revenue was down seven percent from this past fall, to $8.5 billion.
RIM may be close to BBM Android and PlayBook 4G
RIM could be getting close to releasing a pair of major projects based on a pair of tentative rumors in mid-week. One possible sighting emerging from TechnoBuffalo had BlackBerry Messenger being run on an Android device for testing purposes. The lone shot had few extra details, but conspicuously showed an "iPhone test" contact entry, suggesting RIM was developing for both platforms.
RIM would have used BIS servers for basic data
RIM's former co-CEO Jim Balsillie had proposed using BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) servers to provide data for non-BlackBerry hardware shortly before he resigned his position, new leaks uncovered on Friday. The method outlined to Reuters would have let carriers offer Android and iPhone devices with cheaper data plans that limited Internet access to chat (possibly BlackBerry Messenger) and social networks, much like entry BlackBerry plans do today. RIM would presumably have made money from leasing access to carriers eager to get more smartphone customers and offload some of their bandwidth needs.
Nokia gives Orange first taste of Lumia 610 NFC
Nokia has unveiled a new version of its Lumia 610 Windows Phone for Orange that also packs NFC support. Until now, the feature has been reserved for handsets higher up in its Lumia range and is the first time it has appeared on its entry-level Lumia smartphone. Nokia says that it has built-in the necessary hardware and software enablers for the implementation of NFC payment and ticketing solutions, while it also compatible with both Mastercard and Visa's POS NFC devices.
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.
Orange makes ten mobile commitments for Europe
French wireless provider Orange revealed on Tuesday that it plans to launch 4G LTE networks in all 10 of the European Union member countries the carrier operates in by 2015. At the same time, three million NFC-capable handsets will be made for Europe in 2012, while 10 million are vowed for next year. Part of 10 promises, the carrier also said it will provide 80 percent of the population of Africa and the Middle East with a 3G network.
EU worried top carriers keeping prices high
Possible slips may have revealed the first stages of a possible European Commission investigation into the continent's top five carriers. The FT heard from sources that Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), France Telecom (Orange), Telecom Italia, Telefonica (O2), and Vodafone were under scrutiny for a series of "E5" meetings on the state of the industry. Concerns existed that they had used the discussion to possibly collude on prices and policies, hurting competition.
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.
Medfield phone places well in browser tests
Orange Santa Clara first ever phone to pack Intel
Intel and Orange confirmed late rumors in the evening and previewed the Santa Clara, the first officially launching Intel-based phone. Built behind the scenes by Taiwan's Gigabyte, the phone we first saw at CES will run Intel's new 1.6GHz Medfield-based chip as well as Intel's 21Mbps HSPA 3G chipset from its recent acquisition target Infineon. While not a high-end phone, it should potentially outperform many others at a similar price.
Commercial NGHs coming over next 12 months
Industry association Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) revealed on Thursday that some of the biggest carriers in the world have successfully tested Next Generation Hotspots (NGH). Wi-Fi access to these hubs is much simpler, and the second half of 2012 will see more tests that involve more advanced features. The first commercial NGHs will be built over the course of the next 10 months.
Orange London marketing material slips
The Intel-based Android phone shown off at CES may have secretly been the prototype for a production phone. A survey taker showed a sample description to Coolsmartphone that implied the phone was the London, a phone that would be branded by European carrier Orange. Along with its look, the specifications lined up closely, including the 1.6GHz Atom chip and the rapid-fire, 10-photo burst shooting.
Social network to be available on all handsets
Wireless carrier Orange has announced that it will bring Facebook functionality to its subscribers in Africa. The company suggests the social networking feature will be available on all of its mobile phones throughout its coverage area across the continent.
T-Mobile UK may be price of ATT merger dying
T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom may be looking to offload T-Mobile UK after AT&T dropped its bid for T-Mobile USA, insiders asserted Wednesday. Tips to Bloomberg had it in the early phases of considering a British "exit" now that AT&T's $39 billion proposal had been deemed anti-competitive. The choices could include anything from letting Orange UK take over the other half of the Everything Everywhere partnership to an outside company.
3G iPad 2 models run low at fringes
Fresh checks have shown the earliest signs that iPad 2 supply might be ramping down ahead of the iPad 3 launch rumored for the next few weeks. The 9to5 investigation pointed to sales channel sources who said supply of 3G models was "constrained" across the board. Supporting this, searches at Carphone Warehouse and Orange in the UK both had some or most of their supply as "out of stock."
Free claims competitors hitting below the belt
ARCEP, the French telecom regulator, has said it is going to inspect low-cost wireless provider Iliad's backbone network to make sure it is compliant with its bandwidth licensing requirements. The action takes place after Iliad's competitors raised complaints about Iliad's network performance and customer service. Iliad, which operates its wireless service under the Free name brand, denied the claims, discounting them as false rumors.
Orange gives 10m users free access to Wikipedia
Wireless provider Orange will give free access to Wikipedia from mobile devices in the Middle East and Africa. This will give millions of users access to the digital, user-generated encyclopedia without incurring data charges. Orange said this deal is the first of its kind.
T-Mobile UK to offer LG Prada 3.0 in February
The LG Prada phone 3.0 will soon arrive at T-Mobile UK, the carrier revealed. The date is sometime in February, though no other details were given. Third-party vendor already offers the handset with contracts through Vodafone and Orange starting at £31 (about $48) per month without a fee for the handset, so T-Mobile UK's price should be similar.
Free may have cheapest iPhone usage plans yet
Free's new mobile division has become the fourth major carrier in France to offer the iPhone. The Iliad-owned group plans to carry the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on January 27 with one of the least expensive plans yet. At 20 euros ($25) a month for a 16GB iPhone 4S with unlimited voice and texts as well as 3GB of unfettered data before a cap, Apple's smartphones would cost roughly half as much or less to own as a phone with an equivalent plan.
ZTE FTV in a Fashion TV tie-up shows up
Chinese handset maker ZTE has teamed up with Fashion TV on its first fashion-oriented smartphone, the FTV. It has the same technical specs as the original San Francisco available at Orange, GSMArena found. Unique to the phone are the FTV paint and logos along with exclusive FTV apps, wallpapers, widgets and other content.
Our test of Nokia's Lumia 800 Windows Phone
The Lumia 800 represents more than just a radical break from the past for Nokia; in many ways, it's the company's entire future. As its first Windows Phone device, it's not just a switch to a much more modern platform but a clue as to whether or not Nokia can still stand out in an era when iPhones and Android smartphones are taking over. Our review of the Lumia 800 will answer that -- and whether or not it might just be the best Windows Phone on the market.
EU, regulators urged to look into net neutrality
European Union ministers has asked the European Commission and pan-European regulator BEREC to look into whether some ISPs are throttling some services in favor of others. According to a Tuesday Reuters report, the concern is that net neutrality may be hampered, with Internet calling services such as Skype possibly affected. BEREC will publish a joint report from regulators in the 27 EU member states in February that will summarize its findings.
Investment spread across three years
Everything Everywhere has announced that its T-Mobile and Orange brands in the UK will soon benefit from approximately £1.5 billion (~$2.3 billion USD) in network investments. The funds are said to be primarily allocated for building an extensive 4G LTE network that will be available for subscribers from both carriers.
Smartphones, in contrast, compliment viewing
A recent research study from carrier Orange has that, in Europe, tablet usage cannibalizes TV viewing. In contrast, smartphones tend to complement TV consumption. The research also found that tablet users are more likely to make purchases using the device than their handset counterparts.
Acer Liquid Express revives budget Android focus
Acer started off the week by launching a new budget Android phone. The Liquid Express revives the 3.5-inch formula seen in the Liquid Metal and even shares its 800MHz Snapdragon and five-megapixel camera, but adds NFC for short-range payments and tag sharing. The company has teamed up with Cityzi to take advantage of tags both for virtual cash as well as for travel info and reviews.
Nokia sees early positive Windows Phone interest
A survey of European carrier stores has shown potentially promising demand for Nokia's Lumia 800. Its first Windows Phone is ranked at Vodafone UK and at KPN in the Netherlands as second for popularity only to the 16GB iPhone 4S, beating out every Android phone. At Phone House in France, the Lumia 800 is the top-selling phone of any kind where the iPhone is fifth, although feature phones like the Nokia C2-02 dilute its ranks.
Orange UK ships San Francisco II later this month
UK wireless provider Orange has revealed plans to launch the San Francisco II, a successor to its previous budget Android smartphone. It replaces last year's San Francisco and will be available on pay-as-you-go or monthly plans. It moves to an 800MHz processor along with 512MB of RAM, a five-megapixel camera, and Android 2.3.
Lumia 800 most popular for pre-orders at Orange
UK wireless provider Orange revealed on Wednesday that the just-released Nokia Lumia 800 now holds the record for the number of pre-orders for Nokia smartphones. Half of the pre-orders are from existing customers who also happen to be eligible for Nokia's free Xbox 360 promotion. The record-breaking customer interest comes ahead of Orange's marketing campaign.
Windows Phone 7.5 nearly rolled out in full
Microsoft's Eric Hautala said that his company's stepped up Windows Phone 7.5 updates were now virtually done. The company had good enough results that it was "opening the spigot" and that almost all of the user base would have the update. The only ones left were those with specific issues, such as some Orange subscribers.
iPhone 4S preorders open worldwide
On cue, the online Apple Store and numerous carriers including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon have begun taking online preorders for the iPhone 4S. The picks include carrier-locked models as well as the full-price but unlocked GSM versions for those who want to switch carriers or avoid early cancellation fees.
Google starter packs with SIM card, Nexus S show
Spanish site Xataka Android has come across a Google-branded SIM card bundled with the Nexus S. The bundle is apparently being distributed to Google engineers. Little is known about the purpose of these, though the screen shows that Google_Es is the carrier once the handset is powered up.
Supported in US by AT&T, Verizon & Cellular South
Twitter has upgraded the direct messaging capabilities for its texting service. Now, in addition to tweets, users whose service providers support MMS can attach and share videos. To send, all a user need do is enter the text of a tweet as normal, attach a photo to the message, and send it to the relevant Twitter code.
Timing likely imprecise
The iPhone 5 will launch on October 15th, claims Stéphane Richard, the CEO of French carrier Orange. The executive reportedly made the comment during an interview on a TV business program. Hardmac notes that Richard has let slip similarly secret Apple information in the past, namely about the first-generation iPad; he wrongly stated, though, that the tablet would have a camera. Investigation of the hardware would eventually show space for a camera, suggesting that Apple removed it late into development.
First major carrier to sell Pre3 in UK
Orange may be the first major carrier taking on the HP Pre3 in the UK. The smartphone, although not yet appearing on any of the carrier's sales-related pages, has cropped up on Orange's support page. The phone, had been showing up for pre-sale at several UK retailer's sites, with an expected ship date of July 8 but has now had one of its first official appearances.
Apple steps up video efforts
Apple and Orange UK have launched a new iTunes movie rental program, Film to Go. Every Thursday, Orange customers will be able to get a code for a free iTunes rental, although only one pre-determined selection is being offered each week. The first movie is My Blueberry Nights; some other planned titles are The Wrestler, The Ghost and Che: Part One.
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.
ATT also working on Apple mini SIMs
AT&T's wireless head Ralph de la Vega in an interview late this week said his company was also joining in Apple's plan to develop an even smaller SIM card. He hesitated to directly make the link with Apple, like France Telecom's CEO did, but confirmed AT&T was "working with the industry" to shrink beyond existing sizes. It would "probably" happen, he explained to AllThingsD, and was something that was a logical conclusion.
Carrier reacts to surge in web traffic
France Telecom appears to be attempting to team with Google to find new ways to increase profits amid a surge in wireless data traffic. The cellular carrier's chief executive, Stephane Richard, has hinted that the talks are focusing on segmented access to the networks, in what is viewed as a possible reference to tiered pricing structures.
Orange CEO gives clue on smaller 2011 iPhone, SIMs
The head of Orange's parent company France Telecom, Stéphane Richard, gave clues in an interview Monday as to the design of the next iPhone. He confirmed once more that Orange was working with Apple on smaller SIM cards and asserted to AllThingsD that it was for the "next iPhone," hinting that the results could show up later this year. The smaller card would help Apple get its design down in thickness and overall size.
UK’s first contactless mobile payment service
UK cell provider Orange and Barclaycard have teamed up to launch Quick Tap, a contactless NFC mobile payment service. Using a phone with a specially enabled SIM card, a customer can pay for a purchase simply by touching it to a retailer's contactless reader. Currently there is a limit of £15 ($25 US) for each transaction.
Apple proposes very small SIM card standard
French carrier Orange on Tuesday revealed that Apple had put forward a new standard for SIM cards that would even smaller than the micro SIMs in the iPhone 4 and all iPads. Mobile services lead Anne Bouverot said Apple had suggested it to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) with the endorsement of Orange and other, carriers unnamed in a speech at a Reuters summit. The first phones and tablets based on the format could arrive sometime in 2012.