Archive for the ‘oddity’ Category
The UK government in cooperation with major operators announced their initiative to introduce £100 cap in order to safeguard consumers from horrendous bills.
EE, O2, Three, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone are the first major mobile providers that decided to sign a new Code of Practice prepared by Mobile Broadband Group (MBG) and endorsed by the British government. Among many new protection policies in the Code, the most exciting is the introduction of so-called “liability cap” which protects pay monthly customers from being faced with shock bills. The operators established that the cap will be set at £100 so that their customers will not pay more than that if their phone was lost or stolen. The requirement is that customers have to report the incident to the police and their operator within 24 hours.
If you have a PAYG SIM card, you won’t lose much money due to your phone being misused by criminals. In the worst case scenario, you will lose money equal to the value of your phone plus your credit, which probably is never more than 30 quids. Pay monthly customers have much more to lose. National Mobile Phone Crime Unit reports that there are roughly 300,000 mobile phones reported as stolen each year. Some consumers supposedly received bills as high as £23,000 for unauthorised calls made by criminals. Citizen Advice Bureau estimates that in a period of 11 months (from April 2014 to February 2015) thieves were responsible for £140,000 of loss just for the bills on stolen mobile phones. The new liability cap will give contract customers some peace of mind as they won’t have to worry about the mobile charges that thieves can run up.
Among the members of MBG, only Three UK has introduced such a cap so far. Other operators promised to do so this year. EE said that their cap will be rolled out in the upcoming weeks, Virgin announced it to happen on July 1, Vodafone will follow others this summer, while O2 gave itself a deadline of September 2015. However, outside the MBG there is one operator that has already thought about the issue. It is Tesco Mobile which have even lower cap of just £50.
Nevertheless, the official statistics show how big problem stolen mobile phones is. Remember that normally the operator will probably hold you responsible for any charges incurred before informing them and it’s up to them whether they will reduce the bill as a gesture of good will. Even though being robbed of your phone shouldn’t be a likely situation we can see how PAYG SIM cards are superior to PAYM ones in such a case, but thankfully the “liability cap” will protect customers against receiving a shocking bill.
Few days ago Google announced that it will start its own MVNO in the USA in a partnership with T-Mobile and Sprint
Google to launch MVNO
During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google’s SVP of Products, Sundar Pichai confirmed rumours that the Internet giant is going to launch its own MVNO in the US. While Mr. Pichai wasn’t precise about the start date and said that it will happen „in the next few months”, rumour has it that Google may kick off this project even this month. Little is known about the project, but Google’s MVNO will probably piggy-back on both T-Mobile and Sprint. We don’t know yet whether it will be a nationwide network, if it focuses on PAYG SIM cards or contracts, and what kind of tariffs and rates it will offer. However, it is clear that their unique selling point is the mobile coverage and call quality.
The cornerstone of Google’s MVNO will be to provide mobile coverage through it partnering operators but also with the use of Wi-Fi networks. Services using voice-over-Wi-Fi are not an innovation, but Google wants to provide consumers a possibility to be able to dynamically and seamless change between Wi-Fi and mobile network, depending on the signal quality. Apart from solving the issue of dropped calls, using wireless will extend mobile coverage greatly. If this plan turns out to be a working idea than it might revolutionise the market and bring in more importance of voice-over-Wi-Fi.
Google claims that its MVNO will initially be a small-scale project that will not threaten American operators. Its goal is to showcase the new solution on the telecoms market and serve as a model that might be adopted by other providers in the near future.
Some phones may cause your emojis to be send as MMSs as one customer found after getting a £1200 bill from EE.
Paula Cochrane of Airdrie in Scotland was shocked to learn that sending smiley faces may lead to exorbitant mobile phone bill. She signed a two-year deal with EE in September last year and got a new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. Her contract was £30.99 a month but her first bill amounted to little over £100.
She was worried but thought it’s due to her using the new smartphone more often. Nevertheless, she tried to sort it out in December and was horrified to learn that her next bill will cost her £449. EE customer service informed her that it was due to a vast amount of picture messages that she was supposedly sending. Paula didn’t feel guilty and felt that she is being scammed. It turned out that her Samsung Galaxy sent all emojis in her texts messages like they were additional MMSs. Currently, Mrs Cochrane owes EE around £1200 for the period between September and February this year. She sees that the whole situation is “daylight robbery” and doesn’t want to foot the bill.
The lesson learned here is that if you are an owner of some older smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S, S2, S3, S4 as well as Galaxy Note or Ace then watch out as they may treat emojis as picture messages. Other phone producer didn’t report this kind of issues with their phones. All Samsung users should either refrain from sending icons, emoticons or symbols or change the settings of the messaging app. In order to avoid being in situation like Mrs Cochrane you should go to Input Mode which is a feature of text messages section of phone settings and select “UniCode” instead of “automatic”. Alternatively you may choose to use one of the texting apps available for smartphones like for example, WhatsApp or simple Facebook Chat. As a result you will not be charged for picture messages but instead use your data allowance.
Recent survey showed that pay as you go customers are more satisfied with their deals than contract customers.
Recently Top Cashback has revealed the results of research that investigated how happy with their tariffs mobile phone customers are. The figures are staggering as 90% of PAYG SIM card users said than they are happy with their payment plans. On the other hand, contract customers were not so content with their tariff as only a bit over 60% said that they are pleased with it. Additionally, over 50% of contract customers switched operators to find a cheaper deal. At the same time 75% of people with PAYG SIM cards believed that their operators offer them the lowest rates on the market, even though less than 60% admits that they were actually comparing tariffs and looking for the best deal.
Such findings may lead to a conclusion that people are not too happy about being tied to a mobile operator for a year or two. They also quite rightly reckon that PAYG SIM cards have the best tariffs available on the market. Unfortunately, it turns out that the majority of Brits don’t thoroughly look into what all operators can offer. We always encourage people to go through current offers and tariffs that both main operators and MVNO provide. You could browse through the information on PAYG SIM card tariffs that is available here at SIM.fm and click on the SIM card links to get to websites of respective operator in order to have an in-depth analysis of their rates and deals. That will take you just couple of minutes but it may save loads of money in the long run.
Remember also that while tariffs and deals are very important you should also check the mobile coverage in your area. It is something that you should not forget if you are living in a rural area or you want to enjoy 4G speeds. For your convenience we have our own mobile coverage webpage where you can easily see which infrastructure MVNOs use and directly go to interactive mobile coverage maps of all British operators.
Consumers will be soon able to make in-flight calls in Europe without any safety issues.
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) allowed all electronic devices to be left on and connected throughout the whole flight. As a result, passengers should be able to make calls while on board using their own phones. This means that EASA finally deemed mobile phones, or any other personal electronic devices, not to be dangerous for aircraft systems and now passengers should be able to use their phones without restrictions in Europe. There will be no need to switch the phones to “Airplane Mode” or to stow them away for the duration of the flight.
Unfortunately, it does not mean that from Monday people will be able to use their phones and chat while on board. EASA decided that their safety ruling is just a guideline so it all depends on the goodwill of the airlines. It is up to them to decide which personal electronic devices are allowed and during which part of the flight. Supposedly, air carriers should now run some tests to establish whether mobile phones or other electronic devices endanger the safety of their passengers. EASA predicts that within 8 months or so we will see first airlines implementing new safety regualtions concerning electronic devices.
Now consumers having nothing else to do but wait for the infrastructure to be installed. In the future, we should see on-board WiFi as well as mobile coverage. It creates a vast array of opportunities for operators to introduce services for passengers. Maybe we will see even some kind of 10,000 feet MVNO with special PAYG SIM cards for passengers travelling with European airlines.
Today, consumers were informed that Phones 4U will not return them any money put for the newest iPhone.
Last week one of the biggest mobile phones retailers, Phones4U informed about its bankruptcy. This led to worries about the future of their employees and Phones4U customers. The staff was shocked and devastated by the news. As a result 1,700 jobs were axed and over 350 stores are to be closed. It could have been worse by some telecoms companies stepped in and acquired came in to help and purchased some of the shops and saved some jobs. EE, Vodafone and Dixons Carphone took control of over 400 stores and retained a bit over 2,000 staff.
Even though the company is under administration, their representatives assured customers that any money put up for the newest Apple phone will be returned. This position has just dramatically changed as the administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, informed past customers that they should not wait for their deposits to be refunded. Basically, it means there is no money left to be redistributed to creditors. PwC suggested customers who paid the deposits via credit card to try to get back the money through the card issuer; however, all claims will be ranked as an unsecured claim, which in reality means customers have little or no chance of seeing their money. The same goes for customers who were looking forward to cashback or free gifts – all these agreements are cancelled.
It is yet unknown what kind of money Phones4U collected from their customers as a deposit for iPhone 6.
EE customers don’t have to worry about breaking or losing their handsets with two new mobile insurance covers.
Mobile insurance plans are a new type of offer provided by operators due to customers’ needs to feel safe when using upmarket smartphones. EE has widened its offer in this manner by providing two new insurance plans: Full Cover and Damage Cover. The first one is for £10 while the other costs £6.5 a month.
Full Cover for just 10 quids a month is a comprehensive insurance that protects customers against loss, theft or damage. Additionally, all will be processed within the same or next day that the claim was submitted. Customers on Full Cover will also benefit from up to 50% discount on mid-contract upgrade and get a free subscription to a security app.
On the other hand, Damage Cover that costs 6.5 quid a month only focuses on accidental damage. This insurance plans will replace your broken handset if there is such need and it will be done on the same or next day.
Kate Horler from EE said: “We’ve evolved our insurance packages to help minimise the disruption this causes and provide even greater piece of mind and exclusive benefits to our customers.”
Lycamobile is giving back to the society by offering £1 from each top-up to selected charity.
The global MVNO, Lycamobile, informed its customers that they can now help a charity of their choosing each time they top-up their pay as you go SIM cards via the Lycagiving programme. The deal that the virtual operator offers is that every time a customer top-ups for 10 pounds or more 1 pound is transferred to a charity organization. The cost of this is on Lycamobile’s side so customers will still receive the amount they topped their PAYG SIM cards for. Right now, Lycamobile customers may choose one of the following organizations: Action Aid, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan, NSPCC, Oxfam, RSPCA, Save the Children, UNICEF and Water Aid. To select one, they need to log in to their Lycamobile account on the operator’s website.
This is not the first time that Lycamobile Group is helping the society, as it has a long list of initiatives it supported around the world (mostly in the home countries of their customers). Group Chairman Subaskaran Allirajah said: ‘The larger your business becomes the greater responsibility you have to give back. This is an ethos which has been prevalent throughout the business for many years: a desire to make a difference. Lycagiving is a fantastic mechanism to show our support for some of the leading charities in the UK that deliver ground-breaking change, both in the UK and across the globe.’
Vodafone withdrew from the USA by selling its Verizon shares, but the shareholders voted for paying out the money and a whopping £18bn will be received by share owners in the UK.
The decision to sell Verizon and spread the windfall came after a voting that took place in the Hilton Metropole Hotel in London. Shareholders, one third of who are based in Britain, will receive a huge dividend coming from the sale. The £18bn-large payout is deemed to be the biggest return of value in corporate history. The beneficiaries will include almost 500,000 retail shareholders from the UK plus around 250 senior managers and directors. Apart from the money, shareholders will also get shares of the new Verizon network, which they will mostly likely cash in to buy more Vodafone’s share or invest in something else.
This news is great for Britain, because most people will spend this extra cash and thus boost the economy. However, stockbrokers anticipate a decrease in Vodafone’s share price that will reflect the amount of money paid out, but nevertheless in the end the shareholders will have both a percentage of the payout and their money-making Vodafone shares.
British Airways allowed passengers to use electronic devices (including mobiles) during take-off and landing but they have to put their device into flight mode.
This new idea to abolish the ban on electronic devices on planes comes after the European Aviation Safety Agency issued new guidelines in which they deem it safe to use electronic devices during landing and take-off. Previously, the recommendation was to have all devices switched off as they might disrupt proper functioning of the aircraft’s systems.
British Airways was the first airline to amend their rules due to new guidelines from European Aviation Safety Agency. From December 20, all passengers are allowed to use their electronic devices during the whole flight. Definitely, a lot of people will be happy to hear the news as the previous rules were troublesome and irritating. However, not everybody is happy with this turn of events. There are those that fear that next step will be to allow calling while on plane.
In reality, American Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ventured this idea and voted 3-to-2 on the proposal to lift that ban. There need to be another voting before Americans will be allowed to call while flying. However, two major airlines Delta and JetBlue have already announced that they will never allow passengers to call while on the plane, because this will cause too much chaos and lower their service quality. Delta Air Lines said that if the government would force them to allow mobile connection on aircraft, they would allow texting, e-mailing and accessing the Internet as long as it is done silently.
Interestingly, British Airways passengers can already send texts and access Wi-Fi when travelling from London to New York City.