Displaying items by tag: handsets

Ofcom moves to ban sale of carrier-locked phones in the UK

Written on Wednesday, 28 October 2020 05:45

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has banned phone carriers from selling locked phones starting December 2021 in an effort to give people greater autonomy when it comes to switching between providers.

While operators such as Sky, Virgin, Three and O2 already sell unlocked phones, some of the UK’s other operators like Vodafone, Tesco and EE, still sell phones that need to be unlocked manually before users can switch to a different carrier.

According to Ofcom, the banning of this practice comes as a set of new measures are about to be launched. The telecoms watchdog found that more than a third of people in the UK who were against switching operators said that one of the contributing factors to their decision was that they were put off by having to go through the process of unlocking their phone. In the UK, unlocking a phone costs £10 and it can often lead to delays, loss of service or other issues.

Ofcom’s connectivity director, Selina Chadha, said, “We know that lots of people can be put off from switching because their handset is locked. So we’re banning mobile companies from selling locked phones, which will save people time, money and effort – and help them unlock better deals.”

In reference to this, Vodafone said that it was “ready to implement these changes when they come into force”. BT also said that it was willing to “work with Ofcom to comply with the guidelines”.

In an official statement by Ofcom, the regulator disclosed that it plans to also simplify the switching process for broadband customers.

“We’re also making it easier to switch between broadband networks. At the moment, customers switching between providers such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk on Openreach’s copper network can simply contact their new provider, who will manage the switch from there,” the statement read.

While the UK has moved to ban the sale of carrier-locked mobile phones, the US is on the other end of the spectrum; it is still quite a common practice in the US.

Published in Reports

South Korean smartphone colossus Samsung has announced that its pre-orders for its Galaxy Note 8 have surpassed the highest-ever for the Note Series. Samsung believes its latest premium smartphone which exceeded the pre-orders enjoyed by the Note 7 – will protect the market dominance it currently assumes as it faces a stiff battle with Apple to remain on the top spot.

Apple has aggressively marketed its latest iPhone - as it focuses on the tenth anniversary of the inception of the inaugural iPhone, which was first launched in 2007. Apple’s newest iPhone will be formally unveiled to much media hype later this week.

Samsung have announced that sales of its Note 8 devices will hit markets in the US and South Korea on Friday – and management within the South Korean conglomerate buoyed by impressive pre-order numbers have expressed their confidence that the Note 8 will be a bug hit amongst consumers.

The smartphone incumbent claimed that it had 650,00 pre-order for the Note 8 handsets over a five day period, with orders coming from over 40 countries. President of Samsung Electronics mobile communications business DJ Koh said the initial response to the new smartphone was ‘very encouraging’.

Samsung suffered a mitigated and well-documented disaster with its Note 7. Reports of the devices catching fires and in some cases self-combusting due to faulty batteries forced the company to recall all of its Note 7 units from the market just a short few months into its life-cycle. Samsung lost billions of dollars due to the Note 7 fiasco, but it also more significantly tarnished its reputation amongst many of its customers.

However, the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer by market share took the decision to retain the Note brand after Samsung conducted a survey of 5,000 Galaxy Note users. 85% of respondents expressed brand loyalty, so executives decided to continue the Note brand. Samsung launched a lengthy investigation into the Note 7 scandal and discovered the root cause of the issues before embarking on the development of Note 8 handsets.

The Note 8 will retail at between $930-960 in the US, and that will include a number of attractive call and data packages incorporated in that deal. When US smartphone giant Apple introduce its new iPhone to the market it will squeeze the Note 8. However, many analysts have claimed that the excessive cost of the iPhone which will reportedly retail at around $1,000 has drained the enthusiasm amongst a lot of consumers worldwide.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese telecommunications colossus ZTE has attributed its first-half net profit success to its investment in 4G infrastructure and handsets. The world’s fourth-largest vendor of smartphones has hit its projected first-half net profit target forecast of 30%.

Analysts said that domestic telephone network providers continued to invest in 4G infrastructure provided by ZTE, and the firm also enjoyed a significant growth in the sales of its mobile devices. ZTE’s profit was $344M, whilst revenue rose by 13% which incidentally was also ZTE’s projected target.

In a statement released to the press, ZTE acknowledged that the organization has been presented with many new opportunities and expressed its vision to deploy 5G products and services. 5G standardization is expected to be established in 2018.

The statement read, “Looking to the second half of 2017, the company faces new opportunities," ZTE said in a statement in Chinese. "4G users and traffic will enter a peak period and pre-5G products will have more application, while 5G's standardization, technology and testing will experience a breakthrough."

ZTE reported more growth in relation to its telecom equipment sector, disclosing that revenue in that business grew by 13%. Its telecoms sector focus primarily on constructing infrastructure such as communications towers and accounts for 60% of overall revenue. ZTE’s remarkable financial results were cemented with the fact that its consumer business had also increased by a whopping 24%.

In March of this year, ZTE was left reeling after it was found guilty by the US Commerce Department for breaching US trade rules. It was fined almost $900M for breaking exports regulations. It’s the only smartphone vendor with a real presence in the US, and it has recovered well since that setback earlier this year, remaining the fourth-biggest vendor in the US after Apple, Samsung and LG.

ZTE executives have insisted they will continue to aggressively invest in wireless and 5G technology, whilst also revealing it aims to invest more in international marketing in the second-half of 2017. Revenue from ZTE’s smallest business area which is government and enterprise services has declined by 18%.

In addition to this, ZTE confirmed that it has agreed to sell 10.1% of its smartphone subsidiary Nubia for 727 million Yuan. That will reduce its equity in the company to 49.9%.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Canadian-based BlackBerry, one of the pioneers of the smartphone market, announced on Wednesday, September 28, it will cease producing handsets, instead outsourcing production to an Indonesian partner. Handsets bearing the BlackBerry brand will be produced under license by PT Tiphone Mobile Indonesia Tbk. The move will allow BlackBerry to concentrate on software and services.

BlackBerry has struggled in the smartphone market in recent years. About a decade ago, it was among the largest smartphone makers in the world, but its dominance slipped to less than one percent amid domination by Apple and Android devices. BlackBerry then refocused its business toward software, including security solutions.

“We are reaching an inflection point with our strategy,” said BlackBerry CEO John Chen. “Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”

The Ontario-based company has tried to find new customers in recent years by kitting out devices with premium security features. BlackBerry even launched its first Android-operating smartphone last year in the hopes that it would give the company’s handset business a boost. But sales of the PRIV smartphone did not meet expectations. BlackBerry posted a loss of US$372 million in its second quarter ending August 31.

Published in Devices