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January 25, 2013

British 4G mobile spectrum auction underway

British 4G mobile spectrum auction underway

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Friday, January 25, 2013

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The 4G mobile spectrum will allow for high speed mobile internet access.
Image: McZusatz.

The auction for the mobile spectrum capable of carrying 4G mobile broadband services in the United Kingdom got underway on Thursday. The auction process is expected to take several weeks and will take place online. Mobile network operators are expected to roll out services by July.

4G mobile network technology will bring faster downstream speeds than the current 3G connections allowing for data-intensive surfing on the move such as video streaming. Some mobile users have criticised the industry regulator Ofcom for having taken a long time to start rolling out the 4G technology, with the United Kingdom falling behind many other European countries.

EE (Everything Everywhere) launched the UK’s first 4G network in a number of cities last year, however many people complained due to them being the only service provider. The bidders include the current main UK mobile network operators — Vodafone UK, Telefónica UK (O2), Everything Everywhere and Hutchinson 3G (3) — as well as British Telecommunications.

Ed Richards, the Chief Executive of Ofcom, said of the auction: “It will release the essential raw material for the next wave of mobile digital services. This will change the way we consume digital media in both our personal and working lives and deliver significant benefits to millions of consumers and businesses across the country.”

Each bidder is competing with one another to win combinations of the 28 spectrum ‘lots’ available from the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands.



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March 28, 2011

Thousands gather in London to protest against government cuts

Thousands gather in London to protest against government cuts

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Monday, March 28, 2011

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Protesters in Oxford Street threw paint and smoke bombs at the branch of Topshop.
Image: Mark Ramsay.

The violence came to a head last night in Trafalgar Square.
Image: Magnus D.

File:2011 UK protests.jpg

Protesters in Sheffield earlier this month.
Image: Sheffield Indymedia.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Hundreds of thousands of people joined marches in London on Saturday against public sector cuts by the British government. One union estimated up to half a million people travelled from across the country to demonstrate as the ConservativeLiberal Democrat coalition implements wide-ranging spending cuts.

According to reports, a small group of protesters dressed in black threw paint and smoke bombs at the Oxford Street branch of Topshop, and demonstrators in Piccadilly threw smoke bombs at the Ritz Hotel. The protests have targeted the government and a number of retail outlets, following on from the UK Uncut campaign which has demonstrated outside retailers including Vodafone and Topshop to raise awareness of alleged tax system abuses by the businesses.

The violence came to a head on Sunday as police stormed Trafalgar Square and the protesters ran, throwing bricks and bottles at riot officers. “I have never seen such a fast escalation of violence in my life,” one witness to the violence in the square said. “Everything just kicked off, glass everywhere, police hitting people, people being dragged across the floor. I just can’t believe it.” Clashes in the square finally ended in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Cquote1.svg The protesters grabbed metal barriers and hurled them over police lines, using them as battering rams. Cquote2.svg

Wikinews reports from Trafalgar Square

Senior members of the TUC, the federation of 88 of the country’s unions, were quick to dissociate the disruptive actions of the “few hundred” with those of the earlier peaceful protest, claiming that the violence of a minority should not detract from the message behind the main march.

The Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, addressed hundreds of thousands of peaceful marchers assembled in Hyde Park, and attacked the planned spending cuts. “Our struggle is to fight to preserve, protect and defend the best of the services we cherish because they represent the best of the country we love,” he said.

The Metropolitan Police said approximately 4,500 officers were policing the event, and 214 demonstrators were detained. On Twitter, the force reported two significant incidents of violence and that four police officers have been injured; one is being treated in hospital. They also said protesters had thrown light bulbs filled with ammonia at officers on Oxford Street.

Small protests have been ongoing in the U.K. since early this month, mainly in the northern city of Sheffield. In the biggest of these, 5,000 people attended a protest march on March 12 in Sheffield, with demonstrators marching from Devonshire Green, an open space in the city centre, to the venue of the Liberal Democrat spring conference. Barricades were set up after “violent incidents”, though only one arrest was made.



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  • “UK students protest for second time this month” — Wikinews, November 24, 2010

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January 28, 2011

Egypt anti-government protests continue, Internet shut down

Egypt anti-government protests continue, Internet shut down

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Friday, January 28, 2011

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Anti-government protestors in Egypt rallying against the rule of president Hosni Mubarak took to the streets for a fourth straight day, demanding the long-time leader step down and complaining of poverty, corruption, and oppression. The demonstrations were supposedly inspired by a popular uprising that saw Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali ousted from office. A national curfew is in effect, but is being ignored by many.

Protestors in Cairo, Tuesday – the initial day of protests.
Image: Muhammad Ghafari.

Tens of thousands of people spilled out into streets after Friday prayers today, chanting slogans like “Down, down with Mubarak” and “The people want the regime to fall”. At least eighteen people died in the violence between riot police and protestors, with hundreds more wounded. Up to a thousand people have been arrested.

Police responded to protestors by deploying rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons. In addition, Mubarak ordered the army out onto the streets to help quell the conflict. He was earlier supposed to make a statement, but hasn’t yet done so.

In Cairo, demonstrators targeted the heavily-guarded state broadcasting building, as well as the building of the ruling National Democratic Party, which was set on fire, according to a BBC reporter. In Sinai, armed men took several policemen hostage after seizing a road leading into a nearby town.

Former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition figure, was taken into custody by authorities and now under house arrest, The Telegraph reports.

Internet shutdown

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Meanwhile, according to media reports and statistics, Egypt has shut down practically all Internet traffic both out of and into the nation, as well as disrupting cellphone usage. A graph by Arbor Networks available on the New York Times website shows an almost vertical drop in overall Egypt internet traffic, starting shortly before four o’clock in the afternoon with over 2.5 million megabits per second down to almost zero in the space of an hour.

“Almost nobody in Egypt has Internet connectivity, and there are no workarounds. I’ve never seen it happen at this scale,” said the chief technology officer for Renesys, a company that tracks Internet traffic. “In a fundamental sense, it’s as if you rewrote the map and they are no longer a country. I never thought it would happen to a country the size and scale of Egypt.”

Andrew Noyes, spokesman for Facebook, noted that the social website had seen almost all of its Egypt traffic disappear and there is only a “minimal” amount left. In a statement, Noyes said: “Although the turmoil in Egypt is a matter for the Egyptian people and their government to resolve, limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community.”

Vodafone announced on its website that “all mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it.”



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  • “Massive anti-government protests in Egypt continue into second day, several killed” — Wikinews, January 27, 2011

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September 1, 2010

Telstra becomes the first in the world to switch to HSPA+ wireless Internet technology

Telstra becomes the first in the world to switch to HSPA+ wireless Internet technology

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Telstra logo.

On Monday, Australian telecommunications company Telstra has introduced dual carrier HSPA+ standard for broadband Internet business customers in the Next G network. This is the first time this technology is being introduced on national scale. The bandwidths the users can deploy increased into two to three times, with Telstra becoming the world’s fastest national mobile broadband service. The switch started with enabling the service for premium users. After some feedback, Telstra may expand the plan.

Introduction

The higher speeds for wireless are intended to simplify and ease multitasking of users.

John Paitaridis, Telstra’s executive director, network products and services in Enterprise & Government, said “One of the reasons we decided to launch first to Enterprise And Government and Business customers is that clients are saying that their ability to access applications quicker makes a difference to their business and when they start to equate time savings and doing calculations around productivity it does become a return on investment.”

Telstra Business Group Managing Director Deena Shiff also stated that the efforts aren’t as sudden as it might seem, having feedback of many users as the base.

Australians are telling us they can’t afford to be tied to the desk all day and these new speeds mean they can now access mobile broadband at speeds typically reserved for the office. We have been deploying the high-speed capability in the network since December 2009 and now, with the launch of the new Ultimate USB Modem, these new speeds are available to customers across all capital city CBDs and associated airports, selected metropolitan areas and in more than 100 regional locations. These high-speed zones cover approximately 50 per cent of the Australian population and match the areas of highest customer demand and will make the frustration of waiting around for files to download a thing of the past. In other metropolitan and regional areas, the Telstra Ultimate USB Modem offers typical download speeds ranging from 550kbps up to 8Mbps… Our customers have told us that they want higher speed mobile broadband so they can work more flexibly outside of the office and we are delighted to be the first in the world to offer these new blistering speeds on a national network. The new Telstra Ultimate USB Modem provides customers with the speeds needed to handle large files, multi-task and update cloud-hosted applications effortlessly on the go when they are in a coverage area.

– Deena Shiff

Technology

Telstra GSM and NextG mobile phone tower

Previous modems were able to reach peak speed 21Mbps, with real life speeds ranging from 0.5Mbps to 8 Mbps. The theoretically expected maximum of the new technology is 42Mbps with user speeds varying between 1.1 and 20 Mbps. The new speed is twice as fast. This is caused by that the dual-carrier “Evolved High-Speed Packet Access” technology allows networks to send and receive wireless data using two channels simultaneously. This technology can be deployed on Next G networks. Telstra switched to them in February, thus making the switch to HSPA possible now.

Election campaign

Tony Abbott in 2010.

Telstra delayed the implementation of the new technology until elections end. This decision was intended to avoid wrong interpretation of them by Coalition. Coalition’s claims include that wireless networks can be an alternative to the Labor partyfibre-to-the-home” proposal to introduce more expensive wired Internet. The announcement of the new technology, initially planned on August 25, was delayed, with Telstra spokesman Craig Middleton explaining, “We just didn’t want to feel like we were influencing the [telecommunications] debate.”

The political parties have different plans on development and funds on the Internet. The Labor party aims to spend AUD 43 billion to bring 1 Gbps wired Internet nationwide, and the Coalition plans to spend AUD 6 billion to introduce a variety of improvements including upgrade of existing copper Internet as well as expansion of wireless Internet to support 12Mbps. Opposition leader Tony Abbott has said in the past that Australians shouldn’t assume wireless technologies won’t ever be comparable to fixed-line technology. Telstra’s upgrade shows that wireless broadband is reaching the 100 Mbps minimum speeds promised by Labor’s national broadband network.

Distribution

A NextG Telstra wireless USB modem

Telstra has only 2000 devices which support the new technology. This is why the opportunity to try it out is being given only to the Business plan customers, and they receive it for the same price as they were paying for the previous NextG plan. Since October 5, the device will be available for sale, with the Business customers able to buy it with 75% discount and a prepaid data allowance. The upgrade is expected to cover roughly 50% of the population. This is happening at the same time as one of Telstra’s competitors Vodafone is doubling data download quotas on mobile cap plans.

As some testing showed, real life download speeds reached only about the half of the maximum. Telstra executive director of wireless Mike Wright explained that the predicted figures were the estimates, with real life speeds lower due to interfering environmental conditions: “It’s possible to achieve better than the typical user speed claims, but those claims occur in the ideal network environment with good signal quality. When you’re out on the streets you get a lot of variation where the network is subject to signal quality, your location and the network load.”



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October 31, 2009

Man jailed for manslaughter of wife in Hampshire, England

Man jailed for manslaughter of wife in Hampshire, England

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Crime and law
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A man has been given a prison sentence of nine years for the manslaughter of his wife in Hampshire, England. 40-year-old Sally Sinclair was head of business analysis for mobile phone provider Vodafone and had been killed in August 2008 in her home in the village of Amport, after admitting to her husband that she had had an affair. When her body was found in the kitchen of the house, it was discovered that she had suffered a partially severed head and at least 40 stab wounds. Winchester Crown Court had heard during the trial that the attack was partly witnessed by children.

Cquote1.svg You exploded in a frenzy of brutality in reaction to certain information you forced out of her Cquote2.svg

—Judge Guy Boney QC

Alisdair Sinclair, who is 48 years old and caused the attack, was cleared of charges of murder, but was sentenced to nine years in prison for charges of manslaughter. Judge Guy Boney QC has been quoted as saying: “Your wife did everything she could to support and help you and indulge your eccentricities, including spending £100,000 (US$164,470) on three cars of the same model you hardly ever used.

“She wanted to make the marriage work and save it from collapse. These efforts cost her her life. Sally Sinclair appears to have coped with, and tolerated, your behaviour over a long period. When she could not take any more of your behaviour you exploded in a frenzy of brutality in reaction to certain information you forced out of her.”

Speaking about the case, Detective Sergeant Sarah Simpson from Hampshire Constabulary said outside of the courtroom: “A successful career woman had her life tragically and prematurely cut short and her family now have to lead their lives without her. Nothing can ever compensate for that.”



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September 29, 2009

Apple and Orange pair up in UK iPhone deal

Apple and Orange pair up in UK iPhone deal

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Mobile operator Orange has announced it will soon be selling Apple’s iPhone in the United Kingdom. The deal marks an end to rival network O2‘s position as sole UK supplier of the smartphone.

Apple’s iPhone (2007)
Image: Blake Burris.

Orange has not yet given details of pricing or dates, but said the iPhone will be available to buy “later this year”. It could be a sweet deal for Orange; in February O2 revealed it had sold over a million iPhones since the British launch two years ago. The newest iPhone 3GS has also been selling well, with some stores having trouble keeping up with demand.

Orange’s entry could prove fruitful for consumers as well, with some expecting it to lead to a price war. The operator will not have to share its revenues with Apple as O2 did under its exclusive deal, possibly allowing it to cut prices. However it is thought that O2 may be renegotiating its own terms with Apple, or even have done so already.

O2 certainly didn’t seem to have sour grapes, acknowledging that its exclusive position was only “for a limited period of time”. Although AT&T still have sole rights to sell the iPhone in the United States, most other markets already have multiple providers.

Vodafone, who already sell the iPhone in several other countries, have also expressed an interest in selling it in Britain. Another major network in the UK, T-Mobile, recently announced plans to merge with Orange UK.



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July 12, 2008

Chaotic first day for iPhone 3G

Chaotic first day for iPhone 3G – Wikinews, the free news source

Chaotic first day for iPhone 3G

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

The iPhone 3G is available in the 21 nations shown in blue and light blue; nations in light green are slated to have iPhone sales later.

Apple’s new 3G iPhone was introduced to consumers in 21 nations on Friday, but its first sales day was marred by minimal supplies and sluggish phone activations.

Systems which enable the iPhones for service had difficulty due to network failures and insufficient capacity to meet the demand for first-day sales, particularly in the United States at Apple and AT&T stores, and in Canada. Long lineups of customers were waiting at Australian stores for the first day of iPhone sales there, where the phone is supported by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Crowds also lined up in Japan where the iPhone was unavailable for sale until now. New Zealand also joined the list of iPhone nations.

An Apple iPhone
Image: Blake Burris.

The iPhone was sold to Canadians for the first time through Rogers Wireless stores. Rogers has exclusive rights to the iPhone in Canada since it is the only national wireless carrier that supports the iPhone’s transmission standards. Earlier complaints about high iPhone rates did not deter hundreds of would-be Canadian iPhone buyers who lined up hours before store opening times. They soon learned, however, that the new phones were in short supply, and like other countries experienced delays in activating the phones.

A CBC News survey found that the most expensive basic iPhone service was in Italy for Vodafone customers at an equivalent US$2554 for a two-year contract. Canada’s Rogers was the second most expensive at US$2176 for a three-year term. Swisscom customers in Switzerland will enjoy the lowest monthly service fees (US$34).



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  • “Apple launches 3G iPhone” — Wikinews, June 9, 2008

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May 9, 2006

Australian \”3 CDMA\” customers have 90 days to move to 3G

Australian “3 CDMA” customers have 90 days to move to 3G

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006

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Hutchison, the company which operates the “3” mobile network in Australia has announced that it’s 2G CDMA customers will have 90 days to migrate to their UMTS based 3G mobile telephone network or be without service. Hutchison said that customers who were under contract and wished to leave would be able to do so without penalty.

In February, Hutchison rebranded their CDMA service from Orange to 3 CDMA to coincide with its 3G network’s company name. Hutchison has been offering their CDMA customers special deals to tempt them into moving to their 3G network and has so far migrated around 200,000 users voluntarily.

It is believed that the migration will cost AU$145 million but will save the company around AU$70 million per year by not having to operate two separate networks.

Kevin Russell, CEO of Hutchison said that customers are looking to get more from their mobile telephone and that customer demand for 3G services is strong. “Customer demand to move to 3G has been very strong,” he said.

“It is clear that customers want more from their mobile service,”

“With a critical mass of our 2G customers now using our 3G service, the time is right to commence plans to close our 2G network” said Mr Russell.

Paul Budde, an independent telecommunications analyst said that some customers might not wish to migrate because of the inferiority of 3G handsets to those used on the CDMA network.

Another hurdle may be that UMTS 3G networks have similar coverage to GSM network cells (base stations), which have around 35 km range of coverage. CDMA by comparison has a 90 km range.

Hutchison was the first telecommunications company to launch a 3G network in Australia, however it only operates in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, The Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. If users go outside these areas they roam onto Telstra’s 2G GSM network.

Telstra has announced plans to build a AU$1 billion 3G network nationwide and will decommission its CDMA service around 2008. At present Telstra has entered into a sharing deal with Hutchison to use the “3” network while its network is rolled out.

Optus and Vodafone have also announced plans to build a 3G network in co-operation with each other nationwide.

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February 10, 2006

Greek government\’s phones tapped for a year

Greek government’s phones tapped for a year

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

The phones of more than 100 people including the Prime Minister of Greece Costas Karamanlis and key ministers were tapped for a period of almost a year starting before the 2004 Olympics. The illegal wiretapping was carried out by spy software installed in phone provider Vodafone’s central system and discovered when the company started receiving complaints from customers about their phone service last March. The case, as well as the government investigation that followed, became public last Thursday in the Greek press.

While the government refutes main opposition party’s PASOK accusations of mishandling the investigation by keeping it secret, the identity of the culprits remains unknown, although both American and MI6 agents are widely blamed. The Greek government has said four antennae near the US embassy in Athens were used to transmit the conversations recorded. The embassy is located at approximately the center of the surveillance triangle. On Thursday approximately 800 protesters in Athens marched peacefully to the US embassy and shouted anti-CIA slogans while about 400 protesters in Thessaloniki clashed with the police, after trying to smash traffic cameras.

The death of Vodafone employee Kostas Tsalikidis contributes to the espionage-mystery nature of the case. Tsalikidis, who was Vodafone Greece’s head of network design at the time, was found hanged in his Athens apartment on March 9, 2005, two days after the illegal taps had been discovered. While his death was at first ruled as suicide, his family has filed a lawsuit claiming he was murdered. The lawsuit calls for his body to be exhumed, an autopsy to be performed and his apartment investigated. A check of emails on Vodafone’s server was also requested in order to locate evidence of their deletion, and the company to give details on why they were deleted. His brother Panagiotis Tsalikidis has already given testimony quoting his brother’s fiancée claiming that a few weeks before his death Tsalikidis told her that “Vodafone is in danger of closing down,” and “leaving Vodafone is a life and death matter.”

While the case continues to unfold, a poll shows a great majority of the Greek public believe the government has not revealed all the evidence pertaining to this case. Most also believe that foreign secret services, governments, and embassies are most likely responsible for the wiretaps.

The government has not released all the names of the people that were victims of the illegal wiretapping. Government figures that were targeted include the ministers of foreign affairs, defense, public order and justice.

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January 18, 2006

UK Mobile Data Network Collapses

Filed under: Archived,Original reporting,Vodafone — admin @ 5:00 am

UK Mobile Data Network Collapses – Wikinews, the free news source

UK Mobile Data Network Collapses

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

London, UK — The Vodafone GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) Mobile Data Network within the UK was off the air for several hours, but Vodafone staff were unable to supply any details as to how or why this had happened. The incident seems to have originated within Southern England, but spread “nationwide” within a short period.

Customers were therefore unable to access data services for a protracted period, including WAP browsing from mobile phones, email from personal devices like Blackberries and Windows Mobile Messengers, and full access over data cards from laptops.

Some criticism has been levelled at the company for failing to provide an easy source of information on the problem, with the only realistic option being to queue for a response from a call centre, as no information could be found on their public-facing website. This practice, whilst far from unique to Vodafone within the telecommunications industry, contrasts poorly with the common practice for most ISPs (Internet Service Providers), who conventionally provide a “system status” page on their website.

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