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20 June 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Ofcom reject O2 sabotage of 4G auction

The Government has warned the country’s mobile networks not to use legal action to try and delay the auction of 4G spectrum. The UK’s Culture Department said it was important the mobile radio spectrum was released “as soon as possible”.

This came in response to O2‘s claim that the 4G auction was “anti-competitive” under EU law, as it would allow rival operators to grab spectrum under the 1 GHz waveband at a cheaper price. It also claimed that this could cost taxpayers £1 billion.

Both O2 and Vodafone already hold some bandwidth under the 1 GHz range, and Orange and T-Mobile are eager to buy 4G space in the sub-1 GHz range too.

Ofcom published its bidding rules earlier this year, and O2 claimed they would allow competitors to grab the spectrum for £1bn cheaper in total, as those rules are designed to make it easier for all major operators to acquire sub-1 GHz bandwidth for 4G services.

In response, Ofcom said the main objective of its auction was to promote competition rather than maximise revenue for the government. It also claimed that it was in the best interests of companies, customers and taxpayers for the 4G auction to go ahead with no further delays. The Government reiterated this stance.

4G will offer mobile’s speeds close to current home broadband and is currently due to the rolled out in the UK in 2013.

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13 June 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Shameless Vodafone Egypt advert sparks outrage

After admitting to assisting the corrupt totalitarian government of Hussain Mubarak in Egypt as he violently attempted to crush the popular uprising, Vodafone have sunk to a new low.

Shamelessly, they have now attempted to claim responsibility for helping inspire the revolution in an advert. The three-minute commercial features images from protest rallies in Cairo’s Tahrir Square before claiming: “We didn’t send people to the streets, we didn’t start the revolution … We only reminded Egyptians how powerful they are”.

Vodafone is one of several firms in Egypt that agreed to shut off its mobile and internet networks in the early stages of the revolt as the government attempted to isolate anti-Mubarak protesters. It also allowed the Mubarak regime to send out bulk anti-revolutionary text messages to subscribers. It said it had no choice and has since apologised.

The firm is facing a series of legal challenges over what some critics have called its “complicity in dictatorship“. It is accused of passing on information about opposition activists to the Mubarak regime’s security services – a claim seemingly confirmed by Vodafone’s global head of content standards, Annie Mullins, in February 2009 but later denied by Vodafone Egypt.

Pro-change activists have condemned the advert as a “sickening” attempt to push up sales by “riding the revolutionary bandwagon”, and an insult to the hundreds who died in the struggle to bring down Mubarak. Meanwhile, a new website named I Hate Vodafone Egypt has rapidly become an online sensation.

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09 June 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Orange charges through the roof

Another disappointing piece of news: Orange have decided to follow ASDA Mobile in putting up their charges in June. The price hike isn’t on such a great scale but then Orange were far from being a budget network to begin with and the changes make them easily one of the most expensive options on PAYG now.

  • Voice call charges have increased by a mighty 25% from 20p/minute to 25p/minute. This applies for all outgoing calls to UK mobiles and UK landlines. The minimum call charge has also risen from 20p to 25p. This means you’ll be charged 25p for all calls you make which are shorter than one minute.
  • The voicemail charge has risen from 20p/minute to 25p/minute.
  • Texts have gone up to 12p per message so the cost for every UK SMS is 20% greater.

To see how this affects the prices compared to other networks, feel free to check out our comprehensive comparison chart. After this price change, Orange are now tied with T-Mobile and O2 for the most expensive texts in the UK and only 3, Tru and Virgin Mobile charge more for calls.

In a vain attempt to make up for the price rises, Orange have allowed customers on the Dolphin and Monkey plans to use 400 free text messages instead of 300 free text messages when they top up by £10. Still, despite this, existing Orange customers will probably be very tempted to switch to a budget network like Giffgaff, ASDA Mobile or Tesco Mobile. You can read our guides to getting your PAC and porting your number if you want to quit Orange after this price rise.

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