Google wants 2015 to be the year of surveillance reform

Surveillance needs a reform, few will argue against that. Even companies which make their bucks from watching users such as Facebook are calling for new measures to protect citizens from mass surveillance programs – such as those leaked by Edward Snowden earlier in the year.

Google is among the most vocal in pushing for government surveillance reform, and has updated their "Take Action" hub to feature a petition which individuals can sign to "help...

By Ryan Daws, 19 December 2014, 2 comments. Categories: Government, Privacy, Surveillance.

National roaming? We'll provide coverage instead, says UK carriers

UK operators were given an ultimatum, either agree to a national roaming plan, or increase basic coverage to cover at least 90% of geographic areas by 2017. EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone all agreed to the latter and will invest a guaranteed £5 billion in infrastructure to achieve this demand as part of the plan announced today.

Along with 90% of "basic" coverage, which includes voice and text, the networks will have to provide at least 85% of the UK with "full" coverage - up from the estimated 69%...

By Ryan Daws, 18 December 2014, 1 comment. Categories: Government, Infrastructure, Operators, Regulation, Roaming, Rural.

Surveillance is not a human rights violation, UK tribunal rules

Just days after we reported the NSA has access to 70% of the world's cellphone networks through monitoring high-value communications and exploiting network weaknesses; the UK has announced the results of a tribunal investigation into whether mass surveillance on citizens is an infringement on human rights.

Rights groups including 'Privacy International' and 'Bytes for All' took their case to...

By Ryan Daws, 08 December 2014, 2 comments. Categories: Government, Privacy, Regulation, Security, Surveillance.

Draft bill to bring OTT apps under government control

OTT apps are a threat to telecoms providers worldwide as most will offer equivalent or better services for free from which telcos have traditionally generated revenue. This turns the operators into "dumb pipes" as they are often referred – leaving them to deal with increasing amounts of data being passed through their networks by these services. 

In Vietnam, the telecommunication ministry is drafting a bill which would bring foreign messaging apps under government control...

By Ryan Daws, 05 December 2014, 1 comment. Categories: Apps, Disruption, Government, Net Neutrality, OTT Services, Regulation.

NSA: AURORAGOLD accessed 70% of cellphone networks

In documents released by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, it has been revealed the NSA has access to 70% of mobile networks worldwide. The initiative called 'Project AURORAGOLD' aims to ensure the agency can exploit weaknesses in cellphone technology for surveillance whenever required for government operations.

Influential UK-based trade group, the GSM Association, was one of the NSA's...

By Ryan Daws, 04 December 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Networks, Operators, Privacy, Security.

EU Commission: Europe needs a Digital Single Market

Newly-appointed Vice President of the EU Commission for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, is continuing his predecessor's push for a single telecoms market. In his first plenary session since his appointment, Ansip opened with: "The Digital Single Market requires our immediate attention; we need the telecoms single market as a solid basis for our future."

Based on the Commission's calculations, a Digital Single Market would save approximately €260 billion a year.

A single...

By Ryan Daws, 01 December 2014, 2 comments. Categories: Disruption, Europe, Government, Industry, Infrastructure, Mobile.

Analysing the state of UK mobile networks

BT might be in talks to swallow-up half of the UK mobile networks, but until then, we can take a look at how all the operators are performing as we continue the transition from 3G to 4G. We’ll be looking at two interesting pieces of research for this analysis – one from P3 Benchmark who uses specially-equipped vans for their tests, and another from GWS research who used the old “I’m just popping out to test mobile...

By Ryan Daws, 27 November 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Infrastructure, Networks, Operators, Research.

Freeview gets shafted in 4G expansion

Ofcom has announced plans to allocate spectrum in the 700MHz frequency band in-use by Freeview television services for the ongoing expansion of 4G. Couch potatoes shouldn’t be affected too much, as most viewers will just have to re-tune their equipment to pick-up broadcasts in the adjacent 600MHz band.

“Enabling the 700MHz band to be used for mobile data will allow mobile networks to provide better performance at a lower cost, which will bring...

By Ryan Daws, 20 November 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Industry, LTE, Research.

EE and O2 offer fastest 4G speeds, Three trails behind

UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has published a report which details the performance of 4G networks by the country’s biggest operators. 210,000 indoor and outdoor tests were conducted between March and June this year in order to analyse real-world results of what customers can expect beyond the vague theoretical max speed numbers often advertised.

Due to 4G still being unavailable in a vast proportion of the UK, the tests were conducted in five of the biggest cities where capabilities have been available...

By Ryan Daws, 13 November 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Connectivity, Government, Industry, LTE, Operators, Research.

Spectrum Wars Episode II: Attack of the Ofcom

In 2012, a controversial decision was made by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom to allow the UK's biggest operator, Everything Everywhere, to launch 4G services a year ahead of competitors. EE was able to achieve this through utilising their existing 1,800 MHz spectrum.

Rival mobile networks claimed the move was anti-competitive, and allowed EE to hold a monopoly of the 4G market for a significant period. It also allowed the network to use their unique position to make a financial gain and obtain further spectrum...

By Ryan Daws, 07 November 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Industry, Operators.