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Mobile Broadband For Trains & Tube By 2012

Government plans for the UK’s trains and London Underground (tube) to have mobile broadband capabilities by 2012 is set to get the go ahead.

In the long awaited Digital Britain report published on Tuesday 16th June, Lord Carter stated that visitors to the UK for the 2012 Olympics will have high digital expectations. Ensuring that trains and the tube are well equipped with mobile broadband access will enable passengers to work on their laptop or browse the web on their phones with no interruptions.

To this effect, all new train franchises will be required to have mobile broadband services installed. Currently, passengers are finding that even in major stations, mobile broadband coverage on trains is unreliable.

The Digital Britain report also states that there is “a near total mobile coverage blackout over the central London section of the London Underground, including the capitals major stations.”

With the 2012 Olympics set to be the most ‘digital’ Olympics to date, the report encourages mobile network operators to work with the Major of London to provide and find solutions to improve mobile broadband access for Tube travellers.

Furthermore, sources indicate that if at any time regulations or related constraints block this particular goal then the government will step in.

Providing mobile broadband access on trains throughout the UK’s rail network and on the tube is just one of the recommendations pointed out by the Digital Britain report.

By 2012 it is hoped that through a variety of broadband connection improvements, wider usage areas and new internet piracy measures, the UK will be a lot more digitally advanced than it is today.

Whether it will be a ‘world broadband leader’ though, as suggested by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, remains to be seen.

Tesco Add Mobile Broadband & Free Laptop Deals

Tesco has launched a range of mobile broadband and free laptop deals in 50 of its in store mobile phone outlets.

The UK supermarket giant has so far linked up with mobile operators 3 and Orange to offer customers a choice of mobile broadband packages bundled in with over 30 free laptops or netbooks.
Lance Batchelor, Chief Executive of Tesco Mobile and Tesco Telecoms said, “We believe that mobile broadband is going to really take off in 2009 and we want to help our customers get the very best deals, making it easier than ever for them to stay connected wherever they are.”

Currently, Tesco’s cheapest mobile broadband and free laptop deal is for the 3 Broadband 15GB package and the Lenovo S9 netbook. This costs £24.47 a month on a 24 month contract and offers up to 3.6Mbps mobile broadband speeds and a sizeable 15GB data usage allowance.

The free Lenovo S9 netbook weighs just 1.1Kg’s and has an 8.9″ screen, 1.6Ghz Intel Atom processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB SSD hardrive.

Other deals include a free Dell Studio XPS 16 laptop with 3 Mobile Broadband for £29.36 a month and a free Compaq CQ60-214EM laptop with either 3 or Orange for £34.26 per month.

Samsung To Offer Film & TV Broadband Downloads

Samsung is set to launch a new film & TV broadband download service that’s available on either a PC or Samsung mobile phone.
The launch of the new service will take place first in the UK, with an impressive 10,000 films and TV shows available to download using a broadband connection.

They can either be bought permanently or rented out for a period of 24 hours – with the selection of films including top Hollywood action.

The prices aren’t bad either. If consumers want to own a film then it costs from £6.99 to £16.99, depending on the movie. Rentals cost are from £2.49 to £3.99 for a 24-hour period with both a PC version and a mobile phone version available for each film.

The service will originally be available on the Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition handset and will be included on other models in the future.

The Head of Content for Samsung, Nick-Turner Samuels said, “It’s not necessarily a giant profit making machine, but it will be looked at as a revenue making machine”.

Overall there are questions as to whether the new service will be reliable or not. There are also doubts over mobile broadband download speeds and how they will affect the download service.
Samsung will be launching the new service as a test with a view to full launch if the service is well received and download problems minimised.

Mobile Broadband & G1 Android Saves T-Mobile Profits

T-Mobile UK must be breathing a huge sigh of relief after results presented on Friday showed a boost in profits thanks largely to sales of mobile broadband connections and the G1 Android handset.

There had been a 5.2% drop in their pre-pay customer base during 2008. However, their contract customer base increased by 4.5%, driven by a 250% increase in mobile broadband device sales like USB dongle sticks and the G1 Android handset.

The Chief Executive of T-Mobile, Jim Hyde, said, “The successful launch of the Android-based G1 in October and the ongoing demand for mobile broadband services had a positive impact on the latter half of 2008.”

Mr Hyde’s statement shows that whilst many industry sectors are seeing a decrease in sales due to the recession, mobile broadband isn’t one of them.

Exclusive to T-Mobile, the G1 Android handset also has the added advantage of being the only mobile phone in the UK to currently use the Google Android software stack – though there will be a second Android phone known as Magic, released on the Vodafone network sometime in the Spring.
Mobile broadband sales are expected to get a further boost with the government eager to use mobile broadband to help reach its target of getting broadband access into every UK home by 2012.

Currently there isn’t enough broadband coverage provided by fixed line services, especially in rural areas. Using mobile broadband is just one way in which Lord Carter’s Digital Britain target can be reached.

One thing is for sure – mobile broadband is definitely here to stay and their sales are proving to be a lifeline for UK telecommunication companies.

Mobile Broadband Growth Defies Recession

With the worldwide recession impacting fixed line broadband growth, there is still one area that is seemingly unaffected by the current slowdown. Mobile Broadband is apparently more popular now than ever before with growth rates set to continue.

The EITO and GSMA Reports

Both EITO and the GSMA have produced new reports which predict that mobile broadband usage is set to increase during 2009. The rise in popularity is said to be down to new mobile internet applications and also visually appealing handsets being introduced.

EITO predicts the growth rate of mobile data services provided by mobile broadband networks in 2009 will be 16%. Further to this, it is estimated that the wireless communication market in general will also increase by 6.6%.

Free laptop deals (netbooks) are reported to be one of the main contributors towards the growth in mobile broadband services with all of the UK operators now offering mobile broadband free laptop deals.

The GSMA also carried out a recent mobile broadband survey which showed that over one hundred million mobile connections were now for mobile broadband – with the opportunity for mobile broadband to reach and be used by more of the population being quite vast.

With companies being urged to spend money on advertising and marketing to combat the recession, it’s interesting to hear that mobile broadband providers are instead using their budgets to improve their current services.

With more reliable and faster mobile broadband connections expected as a result, the success of mobile broadband is set to continue.

Ofcom Proposes Boost for Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband (wireless broadband internet) is designed to be convenient, fast and reliable. However, in reality that is not always what you are presented with. In fact, many people who use a mobile broadband package notice that the connection often cuts out, is typically slower than expected and it is not overly reliable.

To help overcome this, Ofcom, the UK’s communication watchdog & regulator is consulting on a new proposal to boost mobile broadband, making it as reliable and convenient as it should be. So just what are these new proposed changes?

Freeing Up The Wireless Spectrum

The new proposal, prompted by Lord Carter’s pledge to provide broadband access of up to 2Mbps to all by 2012, focuses upon freeing up a large portion of the 900MHz wireless spectrum band.

Currently there are two 900MHz licensees involved (Vodafone & O2) and the proposal asks that they let go of up to 5MHz each that would be sold at auction.

This would mainly benefit 2G services, however there is also the potential that it will provide a far wider range of 3G services too.

Whilst both O2 and Vodafone agree that changes need to be made, they are hoping for a different solution provided by Kip Meek (the appointed independent government spectrum broker), and the other UK operators.

Discussions are underway between the operators for a possible alternative spectrum plan, with the end of April being the deadline for an alternative proposal.

Overall no matter what is decided, the main objective is to improve & extend the current range of mobile broadband services. If all goes well, by 2012 we should all be able to benefit from high speed, reliable and competitive mobile broadband packages.

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