Displaying items by tag: Calls

European mobile operators have blasted the decision by the EU to place a price cap on intra-EU phone calls. The decision has been hailed by MEPs as a victory for Brussels, but critics of the decision have labelled it a populist stunt and a political smokescreen.

European operators said the decision was being used to deflect attention away from the failure by politicians in Brussels to agree on far more critical measures that are required to be implemented in order to facilitate the much-needed investment for 5G and other high-tech innovations.

Telecoms lobbying group ETNO said the European Commission had missed a ‘once in a decade’ opportunity. In a statement released to the press, ETNO said, “The main aim of the original proposal by the European Commission was to significantly improve the investment climate for rolling out new networks and to empower users of all communication service. This ‘once in a decade’ opportunity has been missed.”

This latest decision by the EC comes just twelve months after the ‘free roaming’ revolution which allowed Europeans to be charged the same amount to call, text, or use the internet when travelling in other EU nations as they would be at home.

In the latest measure, it has been disclosed that mobile or fixed-line phone calls from an EU home country to another bloc member will now be capped at 19 euro cents ($0.22) per minute and six cents per text message.

MEP, Pilar Del Castillo, who negotiated on behalf of the European Parliament, expressed his delight that the decision to put a price cap on calls was rubberstamped - and said companies should not be allowed to charge excessive fees to users when making calls to other EU member states.

He said, “We agree that companies cannot charge excessive fees to users when they call or send an SMS from their home country via mobiles or landlines to another EU Member State.  The cap came after 12 hours of talks between the EU Bulgarian Presidency, the European Commission and the European Parliament and will now need signing off by the bloc's 28 member states.

But the limit, which was part of a wide-ranging telecoms package, comes as an increasing share of inter-EU communication takes place via mobile apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage or Skype.

Published in Telecom Operators

Telecommunication operators Three and Vodafone are closing the gap on UK incumbent EE according to analysis conducted by Root-Metrics. The company carried out 646,230 tests across all of the United Kingdom. It assessed the operators in six categories, which ranged from reliability, speed, data, calls, texts and overall performance.

Whilst EE still came out on top as the strongest performer, it was highlighted that both Vodafone and Three had closed the gap considerably. EE was given four awards by Root-Score, while both Three and Vodafone received two awards each.

EE won the best overall category, and also emerged as frontrunners in speed and data. In addition to this, it shared joint-first with Vodafone for text messaging. Three won outright across the UK for its reliability, and shared joint-first with Vodafone for call performance. O2 came last in all categories apart from text quality, where it finished third.

However, this represents a significant and telling change across the telecommunications landscape, last year EE won all the awards on offer by Root-Score. The latest findings declared that whilst EE is the best-performing telco overall in the UK, Vodafone was No.1 in Northern Ireland, whilst Three dominated in Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland was the only region were 02 performed well.

General Manager of Europe for Root-Metrics, Scott Stonham, suggests that “the report only serves to reiterate just how competitive the UK telecommunications sector is,” he said.

“These latest results have really shaken things up and show the increasing competitiveness in the UK, particularly over the last six months. EE continues to lead the way, but Three and Vodafone are close behind. What is clear is that each operator showed strong performance in at least one particular country, while nobody was able to sweep the board at the four nation’s level. UK consumers have strong mobile options depending on how and where they use their devices most.”

A Senior Research Director on telecoms at HIS Markit said it was imperative that operators needed to invest in radio spectrum in order to succeed. “To succeed, mobile operators must secure sufficient radio spectrum and invest in the necessary equipment, sites and operational teams to ensure consumers enjoy fast reliable mobile broadband. With new UK spectrum allocations soon to be auctioned in the run up to 5G, these performance results provide a snapshot on the competitive balance between the UK mobile operators now, and highlight which operators most need to acquire new spectrum capacity if they are to be a future mobile performance winner.”

Fogg also stressed that the results which come ahead of a spectrum auction in September, could radically alter the balance of spectrum holdings, which would allow operators with smaller holdings such as Three and O2 to compete in a more efficient manner. 02 CEO Mark Evans, has already declared that he wants to see the auction commence soon and that it was compete ‘fiercely’ for spectrum allocation.

Published in Telecom Operators

Canadian multinational firm BlackBerry has officially announced it has sold its messaging tools which can be used for encrypting phone calls and text messages to the US federal government – following an endorsement from the National Security Agency (NSA). BlackBerry confirmed that it received notification from the NSA’s National Information Assurance Partnership which reviews commercial technology products to see if they meet enhanced security standards for governments use.

There fear that eavesdroppers are listening in to government communications continues to rise, and has done so over the last number of years. In 2014, one of the first high-profile cases of calls being intercepted was an encrypted mobile phone conversation between a senior US State Department officer and the US ambassador to the Ukraine - the call was intercepted and subsequently leaked online.

BlackBerry is providing the NSA with messaging tools based on technology from Secusmart which is the start-up business the Canadian company acquired in 2014. The start-up had garnered international attention after it won the contract to secure German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone in the wake of allegations by a former US intelligence contractor that her phone had been hacked by the NSA.

However, the case into the alleged phone bugging was dropped in 2015, when German prosecutors declared it had not found enough substantial evidence to continue the investigation. BlackBerry has confirmed that its encrypted voice and text messaging products are by other government agencies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, although Germany remains its biggest customer.

US politics is currently rife with allegations of hacking with two separate investigations underway to determine if Russia played a role in the US presidential election, or if any of Trump’s team conspired with Russian authorities in relation to the election. The FBI and CIA both said it believed Russia was responsible for the e-mail hacking of Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.

Published in Government