Several UK politicians have supported a call to lower the cost of phone calls made from stolen handsets for which the handset owner is liable. The Early Day Motion – a motion tabled by MPs for debate but holds no legal weight – was put forward on the back of research from consumer magazine Which? That revealed nearly six million people were victims of mobile telephone theft in the past five years.
Since mid-2008, when Apple first opened the doors of its genre-defining App Store, the concept has swept the mobile industry and become the primary means for consumers to discover content. While there are some who believe the devices space has become a two horse race in terms of platforms, with Apple and Google’s Android as the only runners, the software side of the mobile experience is in a state of flux, and 2012 may still be too early to place confident bets.
It is now generally agreed among most OSS/BSS vendors and an increasing number of operators that the market focus for policy control and its related technologies has shifted from basic traffic management to enabling the implementation of real-time discounting, upselling, cross-selling and a range of mobile broadband services as yet unimagined. Fundamental to the realization of this bright new and hopefully profitable future is the requirement for close integration between OLC (On-Line Charging) and the PCRF.
The convergence of many different markets to deliver near-field communication (NFC) payments, and the complexity of these new commercial relationships, has created a barrier to widespread deployment, according to the Mobey Forum. The global, not-for-profit, financial industry-driven group claims that as NFC technology continues to gain momentum, businesses need to explore different implementation models, define the business case and roles that will meet their requirements and establish a clear go-to-market strategy with partners.
Vodafone UK is trialling a scheme for new and upgrading customers, allowing them to “test drive” an all-you-can-eat data plan for three months, to inspire confidence in smartphones and in the contracts that they opt for.
EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes has announced a public consultation looking for ways to make copper-based telecommunications networks less attractive to operators in a bid to spur investment in fiber.
Verizon has begun implementing “network optimisation practices” to manage traffic and data speeds for the five per cent of users that consume the most data with their 3G devices on the company’s unlimited data plans.
Google’s mobile wallet venture has become a commercial reality, although it remains very much in its infancy. A trial was announced in May and, at present, the service is supported only by the Samsung Nexus S 4G (WiMAX) handset on the Sprint network in the US, although the retail side is supported by the MasterCard PayPass network
eBay is launching a host of in-store payment processing services for retailers, via PayPal, over the coming months. The services do not rely on the use of near-field communications (NFC) or credit or debit cards.
Australian telecommunications providers have been given until February 2012 to improve their customer service and complaint-handling, or they will face tougher regulation.
Right now it seems like operators are falling over themselves to establish direct carrier billing functionality. Telefónica, which already signed up Boku earlier this week, seems to be spreading its bets through a secondary deal with PaymentOne.
Telefónica’s global API program, BlueVia, has this week released a new billing API designed to cater to carrier billing functionality for app developers.
Vodafone has begun rolling out direct operator billing for apps sold through the Android Market, allowing users to charge purchases direct to their phone bill.
Google’s entry in the mobile phone hardware market with the acquisition of Motorola Mobility seems to be the outcome of the company’s desire to acquire the 17,000+ patents that Motorola holds and compete more effectively with Apple and other smartphone/OS vendors. The acquisition will however, not only have an impact on the handset market but possibly will also have a big impact on the mobile services market. In particular, this may help Google to accelerate the growth of the m-commerce market.
While mCommerce implementations are relatively new, successes such as Safaricom in Kenya, paybox in Austria, Compass Bank in the United States, mpass in Germany and others provide a solid set of lessons learned for mobile operators, enterprises and financial institutions.
Mobile games developer PopCap, recently acquired by Electronic Arts, has struck a global agreement with handset vendor Sony Ericsson to pre-load its games on Xperia devices.
PayPal owner eBay has added to its arsenal in the mobile payments space with the $240m acquisition of Zong, a transaction firm with strong ties to Facebook and expertise in carrier billing.
Wednesday’s European Commission announcement on proposed changes to mobile roaming tariffs will effectively end the EU mobile roaming market as it stands today. According to Informa senior analyst Paul Lambert, the Commission’s proposed requirement that operators open their networks to other providers has “consigned to history the bi-lateral approach to striking roaming wholesale agreements which has been in place since the advent of GSM.”
Less than a week after the European Commission enforced regulations requiring mobile operators to further cut roaming tariffs within the EU, Commissioner Neelie Kroes has said Brussels will now move to end what she termed “roaming rip-offs.” Speaking at a press conference at the Commission headquarters on Wednesday, Kroes announced a “fundamental new approach” that would increase competition in the market and lower prices for consumers.
Chinese e-Commerce behemoth Alibaba is reported to be building its own mobile operating system for launch in the third quarter of this year. The OS is likely to be cloud-based – the group has had a dedicated “Alibaba Cloud Computing” unit since 2009, which is now reported to be working on the project.