What a great big fuss!

11 June, 2010

I watched with interest as the news broke yesterday afternoon that O2 was to stop offering unlimited data to smartphone users, like AT&T has done in the US.

“This can’t be fair”, “I know people who only stick with O2 because the data is unlimited!” and so it went on.

No any more - it's for your own good!

The fact of the matter is that the mobile networks all struggle to keep up with the ludicrous volumes of data downloaded through mobile connections in the UK (mostly tethered to a laptop at home I have no doubt).  The BBC report I read said that 3% of O2’s customers are using 36% of the network’s data capacity! Capacity which you’ll probably know is borrowed from the voice traffic on the same network.  If you’ve ever wondered why mobile calls are harder to place and receive look no further than the nearest iPhone.

I use an iPhone for voice and data when I’m away from the office and warmly welcome actions which make the service better for the vast majority of users.

On the flip side the appetite for unlimited fully-mobile data at screaming-data-rates is a good sign for the industry. It will be satisfied when the networks are enhanced with the best that the next generation technology developers can provide, and it will probably give us a living for years to come.


But can it make a cup of tea?

11 September, 2008

Apparently, the iPhone app store has just passed the 100 million downloads mark, not bad given that they’ve only been selling since 11th July. It’s an impressive, and if you believe the hype in the press release the apps could change your life beyond your wildest dreams!

Well, I’m not sure about that, but as it’s not yet possible to download programs from iPlayer has anyone downloaded anything fun/interesting/useful yet? Are there any apps you’d like to have on your mobile (not just iPhones) that aren’t available at the minute?

Upwardly mobile?

5 August, 2008

Whilst I was off sunning my self on the top of a mountain in France last week, Ofcom released a draft proposed regulation to allow mobile phones to be used on planes.


I don’t want to be sat next to the Dom Jolly character with their unreasonably loud “Hello? yeah. I’m on a plane. It’s rubbish, the wings aren’t attached properly” conversation which will immediately throw the flight into chaos.

Really. Do we need to use mobiles on planes? When did everything in our lives become so urgent that it can’t wait for a couple of hours? Surely, catching up with our voicemail is what kills time while we’re standing around waiting for our baggage to be kicked into the terminal?

I have a horrible image of a plane full of 2-300 people sitting on the plane as it crosses international boundaries. That’s 2-300 phones that will all start beeping, buzzing and pinging at once as they receive the “welcome” messages from their new host network operator. For that reason alone mobiles should remain banned from being used in flight. Personally, I’m happy to stick to the ferry and driving to my destination with my phone safely out of charge and stashed in the glove box!

Head them off at the pass boys…

24 June, 2008

Today’s news that Nokia is buying out the mobile handset OS company Symbian must surely rank as one of this year’s most significant events in the telco space.

In the same release several of the mobile industry’s biggest players announced their intention to form the ‘Symbian Foundation’ to collectively develop a unified open-source operating system.

Having spent years competing in the Mobile OS space, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, DOCOMO and Motorola have all announced that they will donate their software (Symbian, S60, UIQ, MOAP) to the cause. Let’s just repeat that; four of the biggest companies in the mobile space, who invested years and millions of dollars into their software, are now ostensibly giving away their intellectual property to all-and-sundry.

So what motive is driving this unprecedented level of co-operation between the mobile giants? No-one’s going to sacrifice that much intellectual capital unless they stand to lose even more actual capital somewhere else. Something’s got their goose.

The big-players are surely trying to head-off some common threat. I think the BBC is incorrect to assume that this threat would be Android’s open-source Mobile OS ‘Android’ I think it’s more likely to be Apple.

Though the Symbian foundation is open to all, it seems unlikely Apple would join. Apple has always differentiated itself by providing in-house, innovative and fiercely-guarded software. Moreover, Apple is rapidly stealing the wind from the big player’s sails with the iPhone’s funky, sexy interface.

This should be an interesting fight.

Please, please – don’t leave a message after the beep.

17 June, 2008

The FT has reported that proposed changes in the way mobile phone companies charge for their services could result in users paying to receive calls. The suggestion was made following an interview with Viviane Reding, EU telecoms commissioner, who is exploring ways to reduce costs for Europeans who send texts or use the mobile internet services whilst abroad.

The network operators are, unsurprisingly, alarmed at the proposed changes, which also include plans to cut the profitability in the wholesale charges networks charge for connecting each other to their networks.

It seems to me that there is not as much money to be made in mobile phone industry as we consumers might think – how many free minutes, messages and downloads do you get from your supplier and how much do you pay over your agreed contract minimum price? Personally, I try to avoid going over the minimum charge if at all possible.

Also, I don’t tend to send messages overseas unless it’s for work, and I don’t even use internet on my mobile at home, never mind abroad, because it’s hopeless (the networks need every penny they can get from us to plough into making mobile broadband quick and, ironically, affordable).

But, rest assured that if I do choose to make a call or send a message or download a music track to play at high, tinny volume to annoy people on the bus, I will be aware that there is a cost associated with it, and that will be my choice. Forcing operators to consider a model where they have to charge me to RECEIVE calls will merely result in me turning off my phone, ending my contract and going back to the dark ages in protest.

Thinking creatively?

5 June, 2008

This week’s EMLer interview is brought to you from a quarantine room as our ‘subject’, Senior Account Exec, Katie Robertson, has suspected German Measles. Bio-suits are all the rage in the Boathouse at the moment! From the far end of the meeting room table, I asked Katie how she turns her clients’ products into creative feature articles for the trade press:

“It was a whole new world of technology for me when I first started at EML back in 2006 and although my History degree didn’t seem like it would have obvious uses in tech B2B PR, I’ve been able to use a lot of the skills I learnt in Uni since I’ve been here. History teaches you to be diligent in your research and I’ve been able to apply that to get to the heart of the story for the clients I work with.

I think that once you know what the editor and readers are looking for you should always try to look for the aspect of the product that is most interesting to you. That way it should be possible for your writing to be driven by your enthusiasm, and that will come across to the reader.

Part of the challenge of writing for PR is that our clients can sometimes be so involved in their technology and products that they see everything they do as very ordinary -yet when you delve into some of the stories there are some extraordinary projects going on that have a genuine impact on our day to day lives; things that you don’t give a second thought to as a consumer, like HOW mobile phones keep getting smaller or HOW my tiny MP3 player holds so many tunes. It’s a real eye opener.

What I love about writing for my clients is the freedom to shape and create a story around their products that brings them to life and can genuinely answer some of the questions or design problems the readers have. It is often a long process from pitching, writing and getting approval up to the day the article in the magazine lands on your desk, but it’s always really rewarding when you see an article you’ve written in print (even if it has someone else’s name on it!).”

Next week IT’S THE BIG ONE! We’re talking to co-founder and MD, Richard Parker, about running the good ship EML, but until then, if you’re itching to get creative (hehe), drop us a line about the kind of stories you’d like to see covered in the news or how you might re-address some of the least interesting news stories.