Hutchison and Telefónica force Ofcom to postpone spectrum auction

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Two of the UK's biggest mobile operators, Three and O2, announced their plan to merge earlier this year which is pending regulatory approval. Until the request is accepted or rejected, the companies have no idea how much spectrum they should bid for in an upcoming auction Ofcom had planned for around February/March. 

The owner of Three UK, Hutchison Whampoa, and the...

By Ryan Daws, 04 December 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Connectivity, Industry, Networks, Operators, Regulation.

China orders telecoms providers to cut-off access to VPN users

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Most people have some awareness of China's oppressive firewall, but at least in the past it was simple to circumvent using a VPN. However, a number of residents in Xinjiang – a province in the northwest of China – faced having their internet access cut-off for using a VPN service to bypass the Great Firewall.

Xinjiang is no stranger to internet crackdowns, and was targeted during...

By Ryan Daws, 25 November 2015, 2 comments. Categories: China, Connectivity, Consumers, Government, Regulation.

Fierce battle for 4G spectrum kicks-off in Thailand

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Thailand’s operators are looking to bolster their 4G services as soon as possible, and have battled it out for over 24 hours in a spectrum auction for frequency bands which could provide them with a boost over competitors. In fact, the battle for spectrum has been going so fierce that authorities have been forced to extend the auction to a second day. 

40.1 million...

By Ryan Daws, 12 November 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Connectivity, Government, Industry, Operators, Regulation, Spectrum.

Broadband forum seeks to counter Microsoft's low-cost internet

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A collective of India's top mobile carriers, the Broadband India Forum (BIF), are seeking to counter Microsoft's plan to make use of unused "white space" TV spectrum to deliver low-cost rural broadband connectivity to around 5,000 villages in the country.

The forum has raised their issue with India's telecoms secretary, Rakesh Garg, and urged him to ensure the frequencies are brought...

By Ryan Daws, 10 November 2015, 1 comment. Categories: Connectivity, Developing Countries, India, Innovation, Licensing, Regulation, Rural.

Opinion: BT and Openreach are part of a wider debate about Universal Service Obligations

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What to do about Openreach? It’s a question that’s been dominating the telecoms sector for months now, and yet we still don’t seem to be any closer to finding an answer that will quell unrest among service providers. But is the question in fact a bigger one, which goes beyond the current squabbles about BT and Openreach? Is there a need for Ofcom to review its Universal...

By Alastair Masson, 09 November 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Broadband, Connectivity, Industry, Infrastructure, Networks, Regulation.

European Commission begins Three/O2 merger probe

Less than a week after UK telecoms regulator Ofcom cleared BT's controversial acquisition of EE, the European Commission has announced the start of an "in-depth" probe into the proposed merger of Hutchison-owned Three and O2 UK. 

The merger would combine the UK's fourth and second largest mobile operators and leapfrog the competition to become the biggest mobile network in the country. Hutchison would argue it...

By Ryan Daws, 02 November 2015, 1 comment. Categories: Consumers, Industry, Operators, Regulation.

UK watchdog clears BT and EE for controversial merger

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BT announced its £12 billion plan to acquire the country's biggest mobile network operator back in February. The planned merger between EE and BT has been the subject of much discussion as to whether it would lessen market competition, but the deal overcame its biggest hurdle today after gaining watchdog approval. 

In a 15-page...

By Ryan Daws, 28 October 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Industry, Mobile, MVNO, Regulation.

'Project Loon' is almost ready for lift-off

Google's ambitious plan to connect the world via balloons, Project Loon, is preparing for lift-off as the web giant reports it has "almost perfected" the technology and will announce its first operator partners in Africa soon. 

Speaking at the GSMA Mobile 360 conference in South Africa, the good news comes from Google's regional business lead, Wael Fakharany. He believes that it's now "time to scale" the technology in Africa, and connect people to the rest of the world via high-speed broadband. 

Of...

Telecoms services take the brunt of Boko Haram

Boko Haram, a terrorist group in allegiance with ISIL, has been giving Nigerian security agencies trouble since it was founded back in 2002. The group's attacks have become increasingly sophisticated, and it's thought Boko Haram is responsible for the deaths of 17,000 people since 2009 alone. 

The recently-appointed president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has ordered security agencies operating in the region to eradicate insurgency within three months. As part of this move, telecommunication companies...

By Ryan Daws, 08 September 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Africa, Consumers, Government, Mobile, Operators, Regulation, Surveillance.

BT merger with EE appears to gain Ofcom support

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Back in February, BT announced its plan to acquire EE in a move which has caused fierce debate between industry watchers and various regulatory bodies. Opponents to the merger primarily highlight the monopolising share of spectrum the combined giants will have. 

As you can see from the graph below, EE benefits from more spectrum allocated to its...

FCC proposes to revamp equipment authorization rules

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Among the FCC’s many functions is one known to a small community of technical experts – the equipment authorization program. These procedures seek to ensure that devices capable of emitting radio-frequency energy comply with the FCC’s requirements as to frequency, power, and other technical properties.

The program is essential to harmony in the radio spectrum. Take...

By Francisco Montero, 03 August 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Industry, Regulation, Spectrum.

LG field-tests 4K "Futurecast" using ATSC 3.0

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4K adoption is starting to grow as supported hardware drops in price and content becomes available in glorious fidelity with over four times the amount of pixels as current "Full HD" hardware allows to be displayed. Although IPTV services like Netflix are delivering some of their library via internet streaming; a large amount of viewers still rely on broadcast...

By Ryan Daws, 13 July 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Broadcast, Consumers, Content, Industry, Innovation, Regulation.

Drones begin their shift in the telecoms industry

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BT's Head of Customer Innovation, Matthew Key, has revealed the company's plans to use drones for vital repair work in rural areas where it would be slower to get an engineer out to fix an issue. In a blog post, he wrote: "With a little creativity, drones could change the world.” 

The change which Key speaks of has already...

By Ryan Daws, 07 July 2015, 2 comments. Categories: Connectivity, Consumers, Disruption, Industry, Innovation, Networks, Regulation.

European roaming fees to be scrapped in 2017

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We finally have a date for when roaming fees will be scrapped in Europe - June 15th, 2017. The EU Commission wanted the rules to be implemented earlier, but the date was pushed-back in order to win support from the European Parliament and Council. 

The rules will prevent mobile operators from charging huge...

By Ryan Daws, 30 June 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Consumers, Disruption, Europe, Operators, Regulation, Roaming.

Authorities think Skype should be classified as a telecoms operator

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OTT services are often discussed in the context of whether they represent a threat to telecom operators, but the authorities believe services which offer voice call functionality - such as Skype - should be treated as telcos themselves and are therefore subject to the same laws. 

Skype came under fire in France last year for refusing to hand over call record with authorities, and has now run into the same issue in Belgium for declining to open up its data system...

By Ryan Daws, 27 May 2015, 1 comment. Categories: Government, Industry, Operators, OTT Services, Regulation, VoiP.

Ofcom plans to light-up BT's Dark Fibre network

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Back in 2012, Ofcom performed a review of business connectivity and decided against allowing rival ISPs to use its Dark Fibre network. The regulator has now performed a U-turn on its decision, and has proposed that other ISPs should be allowed to use the un-lit fibre optic infrastructure. 

Dark Fibre infrastructure provides spare capacity for future demand,...

By Ryan Daws, 15 May 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Broadband, Capacity, Connectivity, Fiber Optic, Infrastructure, Networks, Regulation.

FCC raises the curtain on the Citizens Broadband Radio Service

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In a move described by FCC commissioners as a “significant step forward” (Chairman Wheeler), history-making (Commissioner Rosenworcel), and “exciting” (Commissioner O’Rielly), the FCC has opened up the 3.5 GHz (3550-3700 MHz) band for a wide variety of new uses.

The band will now be home to the new Citizens...

By Francisco Montero, 07 May 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Broadcast, Government, Industry, Regulation, Spectrum.