Displaying items by tag: Customers

US Congress pass bill to protect customer data

Written on Monday, 17 December 2018 07:54

Fifteen Democratic senators have proposed a new bill for protecting online information.

The Data Care Act creates new rules around how companies handle the data of customers. Data collectors would be required to ‘reasonably secure’ information and to ‘not use individual identifying data in ways that harm users’. It requires data collectors to give adequate notice to consumers about breaches of sensitive information.

If data collectors share or sell data with a third party, it would give the FTC the authority to fine companies that act deceptively.

It is just one of many proposals that members of Congress have put forward to regulate the tech industry. Earlier this year, Sen. Ron Wyden proposed a bill that would send executives who mishandle data to prison.

Privacy activists have welcomed the bill, believing online personal data should be handled in the same regard as bank or medical records. EFF legislative analyst India McKinney said in a statement that the organization will “look forward to working with the Senator to improve his bill and to advance information fiduciary protections that will meet the needs of Internet users and adequately safeguard consumer data privacy as a part of comprehensive privacy legislation.”

The bill comes after Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before a committee earlier this week. He was questioned on data privacy during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday.

Published in Government

AT&T and Nokia are teaming up to provide virtually seamless Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity around the world. The companies are using Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) to offer AT&T’s enterprise customers the benefits of Nokia’s global IoT ecosystem. These include core network, dedicated IoT operations, billing, security, data analytics, and more.

AT&T and Nokia will develop, test and launch the next generation of IoT services. They’ll cover a wide range of industries including transportation, health, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, utilities, consumer electronics and smart cities.

Commercial deployment starts later this year. WING’s core network assets are expected to be available in more than 20 countries across Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and the Middle East by the first quarter of 2020. The collaboration will help set the stage for the evolution to global 5G.

Together the companies can help enterprise customers:

  • Bring more capabilities to more places with increased performance and flexibility, lower latency, and enhanced platform capabilities.
  • Address specific business requirements through capabilities like 5G network slicing that allows a single network to be partitioned into multiple networks.
  • Meet local regulatory requirements for IoT devices.

“Our work with Nokia WING will help clear away the complexity of large-scale IoT adoption so that our customers can unlock the potential of IoT worldwide,” said Chris Penrose, President, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “Boosted by Nokia’s globally deployed ‘one-stop shop’ network technology, we can be more nimble and responsive to our customers’ needs.”

“This collaboration proves our commitment to the global IoT market, providing seamless connectivity across geographical borders and technologies,” said Sanjay Goel, President of Global Services at Nokia. “With AT&T’s leading position in IoT and proven experience meeting real customer needs, we have a winning combination to bolster our global IoT capabilities.”

AT&T offers global IoT solutions through a combination of owned and third party-provided capabilities that enable superior network performance in more than 200 countries and territories. Connected devices are deployed and controlled easily and quickly in multiple countries using a single, global SIM.

AT&T’s cloud-based Multi-Network Connect platform will simplify connectivity and platform capabilities for AT&T’s use of Nokia WING. Multi-Network Connect lets businesses manage IoT devices across multiple cellular and satellite networks, operators and regions through a single portal.

Nokia WING offers a fully integrated, global managed service for IoT connectivity enablement for mobile network operators, providing innovative features, optimizing investments and reducing time to market. Working with WING, AT&T will speed the delivery of IoT services on a global scale and drive emerging IoT applications.

Published in Telecom Operators

Three of China’s state-run mobile operators have posted positive financial results for the first-half of 2017, after enduring a difficult 2016. China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile all made solid gains on their bottom line, largely due to the continued rapid demand for data and 4G uptake.

All three entities suffered a decline in earnings during 2016 - but in the first-half of this year they’ve made a combined profit of CYN 77.6 billion ($11.6 billion) compared with a combined profit of CYN127.6 billion for all of 2016.

Analysts have attributed the success of the state-owned mobile operators to significant 4G subscriber gains from January-June. The trio took its LTE user base to 885 million. In addition to this, it was further disclosed that both China Telecom and China Mobile are increasingly close to reaching the 70% 4G penetration mark, with China Unicom lagging behind by a reported 14%.

China Mobile remains the market incumbent with a 64% share of total subscribers, 67% of which are 4G users. The Chinese operators ended June with 3.47 million 4G base stations, the breakdown of which consisted of China Mobile (1.65M) China Telecom (1.05M) and China Unicom (770,000). It was also disclosed that China Mobile has announced its intentions to construct an additional 120,000 4G sites in the second-half of next year, whilst China Telecom has said it will deploy another 110,000 by the end of this year.

Mobile voice revenue continues to decline sharply due to the dominance of OTT’s, but all three operators still managed to grow mobile service revenue by 5%. It’s the universal demand for data which has contributed to the operator’s success so far this year. China Telecom has enjoyed a healthy increase of 24% in mobile data, accumulating CYN55.3 billion in the process. China Mobile reported a 34% increase in mobile data accumulating CYN185 billion, whilst China Unicom’s data growth increased by 21%, accumulating CYN43.5 billion.

The state-run operators have signed up 23.7 million 4G subscribers in July, which takes the country’s total to 908M. However, China Mobile has announced its plans to end 2017 by amassing 630M 4G subs, which analysts suggest is a target they should easily surpass. At this extraordinary pace, China will likely end the year with well over 1 billion 4G customers, which would also subsequently mean that China would have 40% of the 2.45 billion global LTE connections by the end of the year.

Published in Telecom Operators

Irish telecommunications incumbent Eir has announced that it will ‘retire’ its mobile phone brand Meteor in September. Meteor has been a huge success since its inception in 2001, and has been particularly popular with the young generation of mobile phone users.

However, the mobile phone network will now be rebranded as ‘Eir’, which will see it join an existing mobile phone service provided by the company under the Eir name. Meteor has over 750,000 customers but the new merger will see Eir now have around 1.1 million mobile customers.

A spokesman for the Dublin-based telecommunications firm said that customers would benefit significantly from the rebranding, and assured customers that the transition from Meteor to Eir will be ‘seamless’. Eir, CEO, Richard Moat declared that the new merger decision would enable customers to explore a ‘world of possibilities’.

In a statement, the CEO said, "Meteor customers will continue using their mobiles exactly as before - with the added benefit of a world of possibilities. By focusing on a single mobile brand and reducing the duplication of supporting two brands, we can offer better value and increased innovation."

In addition to this, Meteor customers have received assurances that there will be no change to their current contract and data plans during the transition and rebranding process, whilst the current customer care lines will also remain intact.

Eir formerly known as Eircom acquired Meteor in 2005. It adopted an aggressive approach to marketing and advertising and a significant investment into both areas was subsequently made. Meteor sponsored a number of commercial events, including the Meteor Choice Awards.

The company is reported to be spending around €3m and €4m on its 'Let's make it possible' campaign and believes that the mobile phone business would be better served by benefiting from the lift provided by this campaign than separate marketing investment in Meteor.

It has also been claimed that Eir will begin to communicate the change to customers from this week onwards. The group has 84 retail units nationwide which is comprised of Eir, Meteor and dual branded stores that will all become part of the Eir franchise in the forthcoming months ahead.

Spokesman for Eir, Paul Bradley, said the decision to merge services clearly highlights and indicates the organization’s confidence in Eir. He said, "We have adopted a single brand strategy. You can get your bundle from Eir, your broadband from Eir, your TV from Eir and mobile from Eir. What it reflects is our growing confidence in the Eir brand. We are almost two years in from when the company launched the brand and there has been work to evolve the Meteor brand over the last couple of years because initially it was a youth brand and a pre-pay focused brand. But now it is a much healthier mix of prepay and bill pay."

Published in Telecom Operators

The World’s largest mobile operator has announced its intentions to double its VoLTE user base by the end of 2017. Chairman of China Mobile, Shang Bing made the announcement during his keynote address at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. (MWCS 2017)

Bing declared that China Mobile would increase its VoLTE customer base from 86 million to 150 million by the end of December – and that its overall VoLTE penetration would reach 17%. In addition to this, it was disclosed that the telecommunications colossus has launched VoLTE in 313 cities across China.

China Mobile’s Chairman also claimed that the operator’s mobile 4G user base will reach 620 million by the end of 2017 – with overall 4G penetration hitting a staggering 72%. It has been reported that the China Mobile has invested an estimated CNY450 billion ($66 billion) in the last three years to construct the world’s largest 4G network. Its 4G customer base reached 583 million in May of this year – with penetration rates standing at 67.5%. In broad terms it means that basically one in four 4G users in the entire world is a China Mobile customer.

Bing said: “We’ve deployed 1.6 million 4G base stations which accounts for about 30% of the global total. Our 4G coverage will reach 99% of the population by the end of the year – and our LTE base station will rise to 1.77 million.”

He conceded that after an initiative pursued by the Chinese government overall mobile phone bills fell by around 60% in 2015, and that household monthly broadband fees declined from CYN51 to CYN32.7. Bing added: “Our cost-reduction initiatives have boosted information consumption and the information economy.”

He concluded by announcing that the operator aims for its broadband coverage to reach 70% of households by the end of 2017, with fiber making up about 90% of the market.

Published in Telecom Operators

Ericsson CEO, Borje Ekholm has admitted that momentum towards 5G is now building and that the Swedish telecommunications giant is poised to explore 'unchartered territory' in its attempts to rollout and implement 5G technologies for its customers.

Several vendors have suggested that 2020 will be the year it will introduce 5G technologies to market - and at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ericsson's CEO revealed that his organization was making significant headway.

During his address, Ekholm said that 5G has been a topic branded about for a number of years, but nothing has really happened as of yet. He was adamant, however, that there is now real momentum towards 5G implementation and that Ericsson is at the forefront of this evolution. He said: "Of course 5G has been a buzzword and nothing has really happened, right? But what you are seeing now is the momentum we are building."

Organizations ranging from networks companies to mobile phone makers to semiconductor businesses are united in their efforts to make 5G a reality - and as a result the future of mobile internet has been a key theme and prominent feature of discussions at MWC 2017.

Ericsson's CEO said companies were entering the unknown. He said: "We are entering into a whole new market, in a way (it's) uncharted territory. We are connecting new things, this will require us to enter into new partnerships and new collaborations and new business models basically."

Ericsson endured a difficult number of years with multiple job losses in both Sweden and more recently in Italy - as the organization attempts to reduce costs. In addition to this, Ericsson had to fight a string of bribery allegations which were alleged by former executives. This ultimately led to the appointment of Ekholm as its new CEO in an effort to turn the tide for the Swedish tech colossus.

Ekholm has declared that Ericsson's future will require grit and grace. He said, "At Ericsson we're focused on setting our future direction - but the process will take a lot of grit, grace and huge amount of team work."

Published in Telecom Vendors

The discovery of an Amazon patent has shown the company’s incredible plans for the future of drone technology after it successfully secured a patent to produce ‘flying warehouses’ that would deploy drones from high in the sky to deliver goods to homes below.

The patent was granted by the US patent office in April, but it was only recently uncovered by tech analyst Zoe Leavitt. The ‘airborne warehouses’ will fly over cities at 45,000 feet which would then subsequently release fleets of drones tasked to deliver products on demand to customers residences.  

It has also been disclosed that Amazon plans to save energy by performing this method of delivery -by dropping the drones using gravity before kicking in with their motors. Earlier this month Amazon announced it had made its first successful delivery by drone, when shipping a small parcel to a customer in Cambridge.

The patent describes a range of uses for the flying warehouses, including flying above a football game and loaded with sporting paraphernalia and food products that spectators at the game could order and get delivered instantly by drone. “Perishable items or even prepared meals can be delivered in a timely fashion to a user,” the patent says.

The abstract describes the system as having three components: the giant warehouses floating over the city; the fleet of delivery drones and smaller airships that are used to stock the warehouses and fly at a lower altitude to recover the drones.

Drone technology is becoming a key vertical for many tech businesses – and Amazon are continuing to invest a significant amount of time and money in their efforts to be a market leader in the sector. This was evidenced further following the announcement that another Amazon patent, revealed this week, describes a system for protecting delivery drones from hackers, lightning, and bows and arrows.

The existence of the patent does not mean the scheme will become a reality any time soon, but does indicate how Amazon is thinking of revolutionizing the delivery process.

Published in Gadget