Network-locked phone sales banned

From December 2021 UK mobile networks will be forbidden from selling network locked mobile handsets.

Communications industry regulator Ofcom believe locked-handsets is anticompetitive, and prevents customers switching mobile providers easily.

Network providers have claimed locked handsets are a deterrent to phone theft, although Three mobile, O2, Sky mobile and Virgin mobile have already ended the practice.

Mobile providers also argue locked handsets help justify better promotional rates (blocking customers exploiting the cheapest handsets deals and then swapping networks) although consumers often claim it is an attempt to hold onto customers who would otherwise have switched provider anyway, such as after the end of their contract.

Unlocking a phone typically costs around £10, but customers must normally find a third-party provider to assist, and face a delay or technical problem during switching – which Ofcom believes is unfairly difficult.

The change to consumer law brings the UK into line with the rest of the EU, although the UK changes have been under consideration since before recent EU rulings on the mobile market.

In addition a number of other changes are planned or June 2022, including more accessibility provisions for disabled customers and greater exit-rights where contract terms change unexpectedly.

 

For Business mobile advice and expertise, please contact our team today.


Mid-market iPhone SE relaunched by Apple

Apple have launched a new mid-market iPhone, the iPhone SE, to popular aclaim.

Similar to the iPhone 7 in appearance, this more baseline model of iPhone is designed to broaden the user-base of Apple’s popular iPhone range into the territory of more budget Android smartphone alternatives.

Not that Apple have scrimped on the technology – even the more basic SE includes an A13 Chip, 4.7-inch Retina HD display, and the ‘best single camera’ system on an iPhone ever (as opposed to the multi-lens affairs on more premium iPhones.)

In a nod to the World’s current Coronavirus difficulties, the SE also contains the original TouchID fingerprint sensor, so that users can still unlock the screen without removing facemasks.

Like it’s experimental predecessor, the 2nd-generation SE will also be available at more affordable prices: including £10.99 a month, or £279 upfront via Apple trade-in, suggesting there will soon be some very cost-effective deals reaching customers on the high street. To thin Apple’s extensive iPhone range, the iPhone 8 will also be discontinued.

Apple’s physical high-street stores remain closed due to Covid-19 lockdown – however online preorder begins from Friday 17th April, starting at £419.

For technical expertise and business mobile, please contact Lineal today.


Crowdfunding Launched to Pay Eagles’ Roaming Bill

An online crowdfunding campaign has been launched to pay the mobile roaming bill of migrating eagles being tracked the Russian Wild Animal Rehabilitation Team at the Siberian Environmental Centre.

The thirteen tagged Steppe Eagles, being tracked via bi-hourly SMS messages containing GPS coordinates, ran up a hefty data roaming bill after migrating across countries as far afield as Egypt, Georgia and India.

One eagle, named ‘Min’ by researchers, unexpectedly flew from Kazakhstan via Iran, initially losing signal but then sending a backlog of messages at high rates, before crossing into Saudi Arabia and reaching as far South as the Yemen.

At a cost of 7,000 roubles (£85 per day), Min quickly used up the programme’s entire budget for tracking all 13 Eagles, forcing the Russian team of environmentalists to turn to social media for financial support.

Considered endangered by the IUCN, the Steppe Eagle once commonly reached as far afield the Ukraine, but researchers were unprepared for expensive data charges across the Middle East, which can be three-times higher than those in the Russian Federation.

The centre’s crowdfunding campaign has raised more than 250,000 roubles (roughly £3,000), although Russian telecoms provider MegaFon has since agreed to write-off the wayward Eagles’ data roaming bill debt as a gesture of goodwill.

Modern business mobile packages offer in-built policies to support data roaming limits across multiple countries worldwide, and to allow data ‘pooling’ across an entire organisation to offer some protection against any one individual breaking their data limit. Even if you migrate South for the Winter.

 

For Business Mobile expertise, please contact our team today.


South West Among Worst Regions for 3G / 4G Mobile Signal

4g mobile signal

New data has suggested the South West is among the worst regions in the UK for poor quality 3G / 4G mobile signal.

Research by OpenSignal, in a pioneering coverage study using data crowdsourced from phones across the UK, reported the South West as among the worst three scoring regions for both 3G and 4G mobile signal availability (alongside Wales & Scotland). All three regions reported 3G availability below 80%.

Average 3G speeds of 11.48Mbps also placed the South West as one of the slowest in the UK, although 4G speeds were significantly better, possibly reflecting less intensive usage by comparison to urban areas.

Indeed, high availability of 4G signal in London appears to have resulted in the worst average speeds in the UK at under 19Mbps. OpenSignal attribute this shortfall to ’higher levels of congestion’ from data hungry users accustomed to reliable 4G signals.

Unreliable mobile signal availability and slow speeds presents serious challenges to those needing to work remotely or overly-reliant on cloud-based services for business continuity, although the study notes that some networks have significant plans to boost capacity.

For now, businesses in the South West seeking more reliable signals for mobile working should consider the installation of enterprise-grade signal boosters (available for both buildings and vehicles) or the much anticipated release of cost-effective ‘Multi-net’ on the new Gamma Mobile platform: permitting business phone users to automatically jump networks to help obtain signal, at no extra cost.

 

For unified communications expertise and support, contact Lineal today: 01271 375999


Don’t fall for it: how 1970 will destroy your iPhone

 

An unfortunate hoax is catching out iPhone users this week, Lineal have learned, after many users discovered resetting the date will completely destroy their iPhone.

Despite what a website may promise you – DO NOT reset the clock on any iOS device to January 1st 1970 under any circumstances. This will permanently break (or ‘brick’) your device.

A device broken in this way will simply display the Apple iOS loading screen forever, permanently stuck. The bug, which prevents the phone counting Unix time (a count of seconds since 00:00 01.01.1970) if the clock is set ‘before’ this using local time (UTC-1), is impossible to fix without hardware support from Apple to remove the battery.

You have been warned!

 

For expert apple support from Lineal, contact us today: 01271 375999 or click here.


Is mobile phone coverage in North Devon set to improve?

 

Mobile phone coverage across the UK may be about to improve, with mobile operator O2 seeking a controversial merger with rival Three. 

The £10.25bn deal looks set to merge coverage patterns, potentially providing shared coverage to customers of either network in more rural areas, and comes just two weeks after BT took similar ownership of EE, the UK’s single biggest mobile operator.

Of course, whilst consumers may be set to enjoy improved signal from shared infrastructure, this may come at greater expense. Both the European Commission and Ofcom have raised numerous monopoly fears about the merger, arguing that fewer than four mobile providers in the UK risks less competitive pricing for customers.

Three’s parent company, CK Hutchinson, has attempted to counter by promising in a public letter to the Financial Times that prices will not increase for at least five years.

Unlike in many other EU countries, the UK does not enjoy a universal service obligation for mobile phone coverage data strength – lose signal in North Devon and no rival provider’s phone mast has any obligation to offer phone coverage for anything other than 999 emergency calls. Travel abroad and your phone will ‘roam’ to a friendly foreign network to ensure you always have the option of staying connected.

The solution to some coverage blindspots may be right around the corner in the form of fewer, bigger networks for everyone – but don’t rule out paying more for it.

 

For a wide range of IT services right here in North Devon, contact Lineal today: www.lineal.co.uk or 01271 375999