»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Orange and Sunrise merger under swiss watchdog scanner
Dec 29th, 2009 by Mike Parker

Orange_LargeSunrise Mobiles Switzerland - logo

First it was the Orange/T-Mobile merger plans in the UK that came under the EU watchdog radar and now its time for the Swiss authorities to look at Orange’s merger with Sunrise in Switzerland.

Sunrise and Orange (along with Swisscom) are the top 3 players in the Swiss domestic market. The merger of two of them is bound raise a few eyebrows there. The Swiss don’t want a mega telecom gaint monopolising their telecoms sector.

Orange seems to be having a tough time pressing ahead with planned mergers with other major players.

Luckily for Orange its share prices have held steady inspite of the bad news.

Secret code preventing GSM eavesdropping cracked
Dec 29th, 2009 by Stuart Tottman

GSM Association

All mobile phone voice conversations that use GSM are encrypted to prevent eavesdropping. This encryption standard was first set up in the late 1980s. GSM is still the most popular standard in the world. UK mobile phone voice calls use GSM.

It has long been known that this encryption could be cracked using number crunching supercomputers. Most intelligence agencies have access to such systems. However these are very expensive and only the governments could afford them.

That now seems to have changed. Karsten Nohl, a German encyrption guru, claims to have been able to break the codes using just a ‘beefy high end gaming computer’ and a £2000 radio equipment. This if true, would mean snooping into mobile phone calls could soon be done by just about anybody. Legally though, attempting this would be illegal in the UK and trying to just use this technology could land up one with a long sentence and a criminal record.

The encryption works with a secret key. If this secret key can be compromised by a single computer then any conversation on GSM can be eavesdropped into.

Most service providers are slowly moving towards the A5/3 standard which is more secure compared to the existing A5/1.

This news should hopefully hasten the encryption systems upgrade process.

O2 finally apologises for bad network service levels
Dec 29th, 2009 by Mike Parker

O2 Logo

O2 has officially apologised to London users of its mobile phone network who have not been receiving a decent service. After the smart phone explosion, even making calls had become a problem in certain areas.

A nagging problem since the summer of 2009, a major uptake in smart phones (iPhone, Blackberry etc) had swamped the network bandwidth with data packets. The smartphones tend to constantly ping the main email and other data servers, thereby reducing the service levels for other users. Excessive data transfer means that even routine calls could be dropped due to insufficient bandwidth.

Throttling bandwidth at a user level would never have been popular, as most smart phone users pay a premium for their connections and expect data transfer to be seemlessly integrated with their phone.

O2 however did stop its users from using the Skype voice over ip software and also prevented users from using high bandwidth sites like YouTube. These steps were highly unpopular at that time and did not help resolve the issue. Emails are the main culprits.

O2 now says that a massive multi million pound investment is rapidly improving the service levels for its customers.

The Nokia-Siemens network that O2 uses is now being upgraded to better handle data and voice traffic.

This could potentially mean providing voice calls a priority over data packets.

LG KS360 Review
Dec 28th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

LG KS360 Blue
Review:

“Mobile Hub mobile phone of the month – December 2009″

LG KS360 lets you communicate with your friends in a quick and easy way. The Qwerty keyboard helps type out your messages a lot quicker than most mobile phones. The phone has been designed with messaging and email access in mind. The ability to access Facebook and Twitter at the touch of a button ensures that you never miss your laptop to meet your social networking needs.

LG phones are always very well designed and are guaranteed to look great. The phone inspite of its Qwerty keypad slips into your pocket or handbag very easily. The 2.4″ display is a great touch screen. You dont have to necessarily use the keypad to enter your number, the touch screen has it own on screen keypad. The auto rotate feature, a big pain with most big screened phones, works like a wonder on this phone.

The camera is a disappointing 2 mega pixel one. LG has let us down on this front, considering that they generally squeeze in high end cameras into most of their phones.

The FM radio is a handy feature providing music on the go.

The USB interface ensures you can transfer data (generally music) from your computer onto the phone. As far as connectivity is concerned the phone supports Bluetooth, EDGE, GPRS, GSM, USB and WAP.

The best bit about the phone is not its stunning looks, but the pricing. Priced at an affordable £60 pounds on pay as you go, one would not go wrong with this model.

Full Manufacturer Specification & Features:

Key Features

  • Smart Touch Screen dialing
  • 2.4-inch display-screen
  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • 2.0-Megapixel camera with Flash
  • MicroSD card slot
  • MMS

Camera Features

  • Autofocus
  • Flash
  • 2.0-megapixel camera

Music Features

  • MP3 Player
  • MP3 Ringtones
  • Polyphonic Ringtones

Standard Features

  • Built-in handsfree
  • Calculator
  • Clock
  • Games
  • Organiser
  • Vibrate
  • Voice memo

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth
  • EDGE
  • GPRS
  • GSM
  • USB
  • WAP

Display & User Interface

  • Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
  • Colour Screen
  • Full QWERTY Keyboard
  • Touch-screen
  • Wallpapers

Applications

  • Internet Browsing
  • Java™

Memory

  • Expandable
  • MicroSD Card
  • Internal Memory
  • 15MB

Messages

  • Email
  • Instant Messaging
  • MMS
  • Predictive Text
  • SMS

Technical

  • Dimensions
  • 101 x 51 x 17mm
  • Display Size
  • 240 x 320 pixel
  • Standby Time
  • Up to 430 hours
  • Talk Time
  • Up to 5 hours
  • Weight
  • 108g

Summary: Great phone. Low priced. Mobile Hub rates this as the phone of month – December 2009.


Click here for LG KS360 Blue deals from OBIL.co.uk

EU might throw in a spanner in T-Mobile and Orange merger
Dec 28th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

T-MobileOrange_Large

EU competition watchdog has been approached by consumer groups to look into the planned merger of T-Mobile and Orange.

The fear is based around the size of the two companies and also the fact that both of them have enormous operations outside of the UK. The merger would push the new entity right to the top of the UK pecking order. The merged company would hold nearly 40% of the UK market, which could stiffle competition.

We at Mobile Hub however think that the merger is a good thing for the market and the two companies concerned. T-Mobile and Orange are both players at the fringe of the market. Combining the strengths of both companies would push them into being a major player.

Nokia N900 on sale on Vodafone in January
Dec 28th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Vodafone is all set to launch the Nokia N900 in January. This follows the announcement by Vodafone to launch the iPhone in January. So that makes two interesting launches next month.

The Linux based N900’s launch had been delayed by a few months due to last minute issues with the operating system.

Interested vodafone customers can register their interest for N900 on their site – vodafone.co.uk

Mobile Hub will host a detailed review of the N900 in a few weeks. Watch this space.

iPhone on Vodafone in January – Pricing Analysis
Dec 28th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Finally Vodafone is set to offer the best selling smartphone, the Apple iPhone 3GS to its customers.

With O2’s monopoly (since 2007) on the iPhone broken a few months ago by Orange (and then by Tesco Mobile), Vodafone is the next to do the same. Though a pre christmas launch would have been widely appreciated by the existing customers of Vodafone, they preferred to wait on till the new year. This was most probably done as their Christmas sales strategy revolved around the Vodafone 360 and other products. There was no space for the iPhone.

Vodafone’s pricing will be slightly higher than that being offered by O2 and Orange. A free iPhone would cost around £45 a month on a two year contract. An 18 month contract will cost considerably higher per month. Most mobile phone analysts had expected Vodafone to be the one to crash the pricing on the iPhone. However this is not expected to happen now.

Orange is still the cheapest to offer the phone. However the difference in pricing is minimal.

Price Comparison: £35 a month (600 UK mins, 500 UK texts):

16GB               16GB                 32GB          32GB
Orange £87.00       £87.00         £175.00         £175.00
O2 £87.11       £87.11         £175.19         £175.19

£89.00 £89.00       £179.00         £179.00

Source: OBIL.co.uk & vodafone.co.uk

Our suggestion to anyone looking for the iPhone is to wait for a few more months. March/April 2010 would be a good time to get the phone and hopefully a price war would have kicked off by then.

Document sharing App launched by T-Mobile on Andriod
Dec 8th, 2009 by David Merrick
T-MobileAndroid_logo

T-Mobile

A free Document sharing App for Andriod phones has been launched by T-Mobile. This app, which works similar to google apps, lets people access documents, presentations and other file types via the mobile.

Called ShareAnywhere the app has been explicitly designed for the business oriented customers who are more likely to access documents on the go.

So if you forget that important presentation on the way to a meeting, all you need to do is call up someone in the office and get them to upload the document on the ShareAnywhere website. Helps save carrying around laptops everywhere as well.

T-Mobile has been lately providing certain interesting solutions to it business customers. However it would be interesting to see if T-Mobile sticks to its Android centric solutions and provides apps in other flavours as well.

Vodafone on graduate hiring spree
Dec 8th, 2009 by David Merrick

vodafone

The last week was bleak for Vodafone employees with the shutting down of the final salary pension scheme. The pension scheme was deemed too generous and hence the top management decided to get rid of it totally.

If the pension scheme shutdown was a bad news for employees, Vodafone now have good news for the graduates. Vodafone will hire loads of graduates in the coming year. This comes especially at a time when graduates out of college are struggling to get a foothold in the job market due to the recession. This is definitely a welcome reprieve for graduates, who are laded with massive student loans and are jobless.

Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X2 launch delayed again
Dec 8th, 2009 by Pai Solebille

Sony Ericsson Logo

The much awaited Xperia X2 launch has been delayed again in the UK. Vodafone which has exclusivity over this model announced that the model would not be available in the UK till early next year. This is the third time that Vodafone has had to postpone the launch.

Either ways, it is already too late for Vodafone to wring any Christmas sales out of it, even if it were to be launched in this week. The X2 would have definitely been a big hit if it had managed to sneek into the market in November or even early December.

This does indicate that Vodafone do have some serious issues with setting up of the phone. If it were a minor issue, they would have probably still gone ahead with it.

The Mobile-Hub team had been anxiously waiting for the launch of this phone and to have a thorough review of the X2 on the site before Christmas. However looks like its a job for the new year.

»  Copyright © 2007-2010 The Mobile Hub   »  One stop site for : Mobile Phone Reviews