Monthly Archives: August 2014

Liberty Industry News – August 28, 2014

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EE 4G coverage reaches three-quarters of the UK
EE has claimed its 4G service now reaches three-quarters of the UK, after it added another 13 new towns to its network. The 75 per cent coverage of the UK covers 263 major towns and 2,500 villages, EE said. From Thursday, residents in several more areas, including David Cameron’s constituency of Witney will be able to access 4G as well.


Telefónica makes improved bid for Vivendi’s GVT as Telecom Italia joins the fray
Telefónica has improved its bid for Brazilian fixed-line operator GVT as Telecom Italia entered the fray for the Vivendi-owned company for the first time. The Spanish company said its new binding offer was worth €7.45 billion, up from the €6.7 billion deal it put on the table earlier this month.
European Communications


ZTE to deliver LTE in Slovakia
Slovak operator SWAN on Thursday signed up Chinese vendor ZTE to deliver a nationwide LTE project. The deal includes the exclusive construction of a core CS/PS (circuit-switched/packet-switched) network, and a GSM/LTE and VAS network, involving over 1,100 dual-mode base stations. A greenfield operator, SWAN was granted the fourth wireless operator license in Slovakia in January 2014 and plans to build out the more than 1,100 GSM and LTE base stations within three years.



enterprise technology


Google finally simplifies seeing who’s online in hangouts for gmail
The point of any chat system is to make it easier to communicate with others. This is something that Google Hangouts has singularly failed at, for one reason. Rather than making it obvious which of your contacts are online, it has – up until now – displayed a chronological list of the conversations you have held with people. This is about to change. Rolling out over the next few days, is an update which will see your online contact move to the top of your chat buddy list.


1,500 fake apps kicked off Windows Store
Microsoft has cleaned up the apps in its Windows and Windows Phone Stores, following criticism the platform had become “a cesspool of scams”. The problem of scam apps on the Windows Store was brought to light by How-To Geek earlier this month. The website pointed out there were fake apps for genuine services such as VLC or iTunes that would cost the user money but not deliver what was promised, and that Microsoft would get a cut of whatever was charged.


FBI, Secret Service studying ‘scope’ of reported bank cyber-attacks
A U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman said Wednesday the agency is working with the Secret Service to determine the “scope” of reported cyber-attacks against several financial institutions. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Russian hackers struck JPMorgan Chase and another bank earlier this month. A subsequent report in the New York Times said the attacks hit JPMorgan Chase and four other U.S. financial institutions.



media news


Twitter launches learning hub for agencies
Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), WPP and Omnicom have been the first to pilot the online resource, called Twitter Flight School. The hub will teach agencies how to develop high-impact marketing campaigns for their clients, help them maximise their content on Twitter, as well as promote messages at the right time to their target audience. Twitter has also tailored the content and created bite-size modules to address different agency roles and functions, including senior leadership, account planning and campaign management.
Brand Republic


Samsung UHD TVs get Amazon and Netflix on demand services
Samsung has announced its bringing Amazon and Netflix’s ultra-high definition (UHD) on demand services to Europe. The Korean company is expanding its UHD offering ahead of the IFA trade show, which kicks off in Berlin next week. Amazon’s UHD service will launch globally on Samsung’s 4K TVs in October. Netflix’s UHD platform, which has been available in the U.S. since March, is also being added. The move means 4K streaming is at last gaining traction.
Trusted Reviews


World Cup helps STV reach 35 per cent pre-tax profit growth to £8.4m
STV has recorded a 35 per cent growth in pre-tax profits at £8.4m following improved advertising and digital revenue during the first six months of 2014. The Scottish commercial broadcaster released its half year results, which revealed a 7 per cent year-on-year growth in revenue at £54.7m and an operating profit increase of 20 per cent at £9.8m.
The Drum

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EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages
EE has dismissed claims that its social media staff are attempting to hush fair criticism levelled at the mobile operator on sites such as Facebook. A company spokesman told The Register that it was wrong for subscribers to claim that they were being silenced by EE just for posting complaints about the network online.
The Register


T-Mobile pushes paid data plans, makes room for bigger families
T-Mobile would really like more people to pay for tablet data, and is sweetening the deal for those who do. While T-Mobile is still including 200MB of tablet data with any Simple Choice smartphone plan, for an extra $10 per month users can add a tablet data plan equal to what they get on their phones.
PC Advisor


Wireless Broadband Alliance welcomes 14 new members
The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the industry association focused on driving the next generation Wi-Fi experience, today announced that 14 new members have joined its efforts to unite the ecosystem and progress the development of Carrier Wi-Fi throughout the world.
Total Telecom

enterprise technology

Square is raising $200 million at a $6 billion valuation
Mobile payments app Square is reported to be raising new investment at a valuation of $6 billion. CNBC reports that the Jack Dorsey-led company is seeking to gain around $200 million in funding, with part of that amount coming from the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.
Business Insider


South Korean data breach results in 220m records stolen
Personal details, relating to half of South Korea’s population, have been stolen by hackers, including full names, account names, passwords and resident registration numbers.


DDoS attack downs Twitch on news of Amazon acquisition
Just hours after Amazon announced a $970m deal to acquire Twitch, the live video platform for gamers was taken offline temporarily by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Twitch is the latest in a string of online gaming platforms to be hit by DDoS attacks that have been linked to several groups, including Lizzard Squad, jihadist group Islamic State, and Anonymous.
Computer Weekly



media news

Philips TVs first to declare love for Spotify Connect, TP Vision first manufacturer to include it
TP Vision has announced ahead of the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin that its Philips TVs powered by Android will feature Spotify Connect support. It claims to be the first manufacturer to bring the service to Smart TVs, so users can stream music wirelessly to their sets from Spotify running on their tablets and smartphones.


Snapchat joins Uber & AirBnB with $10bn plus valuation
Self-destruct messaging service Snapchat has been valued at a whopping $10bn by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byer, following their $20m investment in the firm. According to the Wall Street Journal this sky high valuation elevates the fledgling service to the taxi hire service Uber and AirBnB, the rooms to let business, both of which have recently joined the $10bn plus club.
The Drum


European online video revs, subs set to soar to 2020
A report from Digital TV Research is predicting a boom for the online TV and video markets over the next five years. The European Online TV & Video report forecasts that overall online TV and video revenues over fixed broadband networks will reach $12.872 billion in 2020, up from the $4.804 billion expected by the end of 2014
Rapid TV News

Liberty Industry News – August 21, 2014

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EE UK make 4G mobile broadband roaming possible in 14 new countries
Customers of UK mobile operator EE (4GEE) will be pleased to learn that they’ll now be able to benefit from “superfast” 4G (LTE) based Mobile Broadband connectivity when roaming around across an additional 14 new global destinations. The operator first allowed 4G roaming outside of the UK in Spain and France during March 2014 and their plan is to make this service available to “all major destinations” by the end of 2014.


Virgin increases broadband charges – again
Virgin Media’s broadband-only customers must pay £1.50 per month more for their service starting from October. Virgin won’t say how many of its 4.5m customers are affected, as it doesn’t strip out those who take broadband alone. But the number is expected to be large as Virgin is unusual in offering broadband without requiring a phoneline. In fact this is something Virgin promotes as a unique advantage, claiming: “We’re the only major provider that let’s you do that”.
Daily Telegraph


LG targets 3G markets with two new affordable Android smartphones
Even though 4G is undoubtedly the better technology for data consumption, in most markets across the globe 3G is still prevalent. The lower cost as well as the broader device selection certainly helps the latter remain attractive to consumers, at least until 4G is as readily available. South Korean maker LG is keen to supply 3G-toting handsets going forward, as it announces the new Android-based L Bello and L Fino smartphones. The two, which are aimed at price-conscious consumers in “growing 3G markets”, are said to pack solid specs, so let us take a look at what they have to offer.



enterprise technology


GCHQ launches ‘Cyber Security Challenge’ to find hacking superheroes
Spy agency GCHQ has launched a “virtual game” to find and recruit talented hackers, calling on players to protect a UK aerospace company from a fictitious group of cyber criminals known as The Flag Day Associates. As part of the game, called Astute Explorer, potential recruits will be asked to search for vulnerabilities in the company’s network and suggest ways to close them before attackers can take advantage.
Huffington Post UK


Google gets one million DMCA piracy takedowns a day
Rights holders are sending Google more than a million copyright takedown notices in the battle against piracy each day.
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), web firms are given so-called “safe harbour” if they take down content that infringes copyright upon request. In Google’s case, rights holders are looking to have links removed from search results.


Big rise in PC sales behind surprise HP revenue increase
Systems giant Hewlett-Packard posted a surprise increase in revenues in its latest quarterly results, which it attributed to an equally surprising increase in PC sales. The company posted revenues of $27.6bn in its third quarter results to the end of July, up by one per cent compared to the same period a year earlier. The company’s operating margins, however, slipped quite substantially in the process.



media news


Channel 4 invests in Arrow Media, Lightbox, Popkorn and True North
Channel 4 has announced that it has taken a minority stake in a quartet of independent production companies through its £20m growth fund as part of efforts to nurture small and medium-sized creative businesses. Arrow Media, Lightbox, Popkorn and True North will each benefit from this largesse following a selection procedure overseen by the broadcaster to ensure there was clear opportunity for growth and adding value to the wider UK creative sector.
The Drum


McDonald’s plans to release global mobile ordering app and digital music program
McDonald’s is taking on a new strategy to get us to eat more of its artery cloggers — one that involves ramping up its digital efforts. Golden Arches has just hired its first ever U.S. vice president of digital (former Ticketmaster exec Julia Vander Ploeg) and, at the same time, posted a bunch of relevant job opportunities. By the looks of it, the company wants to form a team of professionals under Vander Ploeg to be able to reach its goals, including offering “a variety of digital music and entertainment experiences” (as stated in its posting for a product director for music and entertainment) to its patrons.


Sky takes aim at Netflix with recommendations and Smart Series Link
Sky has announced a new recommendation engine, not unlike Netflix uses, that aims to offer up showings based on a viewer’s likes and dislikes. The recommendation engine comes as part of Sky’s latest Electronic Programme Guide update that’s rolling out today and should be on all Sky+ boxes by the winter.

Ferguson unrest highlights broadcasting power of social media

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Over the past ten days images of civil unrest across the Atlantic in Ferguson, Missouri, have served as a reminder of the huge power social media as a source of broadcasting news.


Scenes on the streets of the St Louis neighbourhood – which were fuelled by a police officer killing unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown with six gunshots – were largely consumed not on television news channels or news websites, but via Twitter, Vine and Facebook.


These social channels helped people share news of the mayhem in Ferguson to a global audience, with Twitter co-founder and St Louis native Jack Dorsey joining thousands of protesters promoting the action on the front line of the troubles.


Brown’s shooting – which itself was captured and shared on Twitter by a Ferguson hip-hop singer who witnessed the shooting outside his flat – sparked multiple nights of rioting, looting and reports of police brutality, as they resorted to using tear gas, smoke bombs and rubber bullets on protesters. Within minutes Twitter and Vine were awash with photos and videos of the protest, and there have been more than 8 million Tweets relating to Ferguson in the past week.


Yesterday a video emerged on social media of Michael Brown laying dead in the street, with the police officer accused of shooting him pacing up and down past his body. The resident who recorded and shared the video was interviewed on CNN, again highlighting the power social media has to bring events to the global mainstream, while also making instant momentary celebrities of users.


The instantaneous nature of social media means it is becoming an increasingly vital tool in modern society. While many cynics still question the need for it – and to be honest I don’t particularly care what you had for breakfast and nor do I want to see your video of your cat riding on the vacuum cleaner – there can be no arguing it is doing good in bringing issues like Ferguson to the attention of the global public.


Indeed this week David Karpf, assistant professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, claimed: “Because of social media, the police don’t have control of this story. It’s opened everything up, changed how the media decides what’s worthy of coverage — and who to trust.”


It’s clear that the popularity of social media will continue to increase due to the power it has to broadcast issues and unite people all over the world. However, the immediacy and the manner in which these social platforms give anyone and everyone a voice will remain a cause for concern. The scenes in Ferguson bear heavy similarities to those we saw during the London riots three years ago – with politicians, journalists and the police suggesting that mobile phones and social media platforms played their role in fuelling public outcry in both of these events.

Liberty Industry News – August 13, 2014

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Vodafone market share hit by 4G prices
Vodafone faces calls to cut its tariffs over concerns it is pricing itself out of the increasingly competitive market for 4G mobile broadband, with BT preparing to pile on more pressure.
Daily Telegraph


Mobile operators ramp up their LTE network plans
Despite the early hype surrounding 5G, there’s plenty of life left in 4G. At the end of last month, there were commercial networks from 318 operators in 111 countries. The total number of commercial LTE networks is expected to be more than 350 by the end of this year.
Telecom TV


AT&T’s 1Gbps rollout rumbles on
AT&T made progress on its high-speed fibre strategy this week, increasing broadband speeds in Austin, Texas to 1 Gbps and sharing plans to upgrade its network in Miami. The U.S. telco commenced its Austin deployment in October 2013 but the peak connection speed of its broadband service – called U-verse with AT&T GigaPower – was limited to 300 Mbps.
Total Telecom



enterprise technology


National Crime Agency calls for public to update security software
The National Crime Agency (NCA) is launching a campaign to make people more aware of the dangers of being online without security software. According to the NHS, 40 per cent of adults don’t install security software on new computers and mobile devices, which increases the risk of cyber criminals accessing their private details.
Computer Weekly


Amazon undercuts Square and PayPal with mPOS launch
Amazon has made its widely anticipated move into the crowded mPOS market, launching its dongle and app-based contender with an aggressive pricing strategy that undercuts both Square and PayPal.


Microsoft to support fewer IE versions
Microsoft has started a 17-month campaign to upgrade customers to the newest version of Internet Explorer that their operating systems will support, which should make it simpler for the company to keep the browser secure because it will have fewer versions to deal with.


media news


Twitter extends ad offering with promoted video trial
Twitter has launched a beta trial of its Promoted Video ad service, which it claims offers brands an “easy” method to distribute video content and measure its effectiveness.


John Lewis to seek ‘romance’ in beacon technology before committing
John Lewis wants to see evidence that beacon technology can be used to prompt emotive, “romantic” responses for customers before it will commit to rolling it out to stores, as its high-street rival House of Fraser has done.
The Drum


UK mobile gamers spending double the global average
A report has found that UK mobile gamers are spending almost double the global average on online game microtransactions. The report focused on carrier billing, which is growing in popularity as more gamers choose the convenience of paying on their mobile phone bill over the traditional payment methods such as credit cards or PayPal.
Mobile Marketing

Liberty Industry News – August 6, 2014

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Sprint drops bid for T-Mobile
According to press reports this morning, Sprint has dropped its bid to buy T-Mobile after opposition from regulators who want to keep the number of major US wireless operators at four. It’s not been officially confirmed yet by either side, but the major news outlets appear pretty certain.
Telecom TV


Apple and Samsung call a legal truce outside the US
Lawyers around the world for Apple and Samsung are in mourning today, as the two tech companies announce that they have decided to lay down their litigation pens and work side by side in technological engineering harmony (or maybe not, given the history). The exception, of course, is the United States, where the two companies will continue to sue the pants off each other until the bitter end, whatever that may be.


TFL looking for businesses to sponsor free wifi on buses
Transport for London (TfL) are testing the popularity of free wifi on two London bus routes, in the hope that businesses will sponsor the technology and enable a London-wide rollout. Bus passengers have access to free wifi on London buses as part of a TfL trial that began this morning.
Computer World



enterprise technology


Poorly trained IT workers are ‘gateway for hackers’
UK universities are failing to teach enough computer security skills and are churning out IT graduates who present a “risk to their own organisation”, according to a senior NHS IT manager. Derrick Bates, senior information security officer at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Some of today’s graduates may have an abstract knowledge of info security, but how many of them could spot a dodgy attachment, run a penetration test or crack a code?”
Daily Telegraph


Osborne vows to make London world’s centre for finance tech
Britain will offer prizes for finance technology innovators in a new bid to become the world’s leading centre for the sector, chancellor George Osborne will say today. The new drive will see UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) market the capital harder around the globe to attract more firms. And the Treasury, Bank of England and law enforcement bodies will get to work on a new framework for digital currencies such as Bitcoin.
City AM


Osborne announces seven university technical colleges
Chancellor George Osborne has announced seven new university technical colleges (UTCs) and four new studio schools, backed by employers to equip young people with the skills needed to secure high-tech jobs in the IT and engineering sectors. The schools will provide 5,000 students aged 14-19 with technical or vocational-based education with curriculums developed by local businesses and universities.
Computer Weekly



media news


Snapchat and WhatsApp dominate photo sharing as Facebook plateaus
Snapchat and WhatsApp are now leading in the photo sharing department, ahead of Facebook and Instagram, according to new research. The study, from the KPCB 2014 Internet Trends report, looks at period of 2005 to 2014. Considering WhatsApp is just 2 years old, the speed of the shift from its new owner Facebook onto the mobile chat app is phenomenal.


Sainsbury’s simplifies digital presence as it shuts down non-food website
Sainsbury’s is shutting down its standalone non-food website and moving its general merchandise produce onto its grocery platform as it aims to simplify its digital presence and make shopping online more similar to the experience customers have in-store.
Marketing Week


Yahoo unveils Fantasy Football app ahead of new season
Yahoo have revealed a free new fantasy football app for Android and iOS, ahead of the 2014-15 season kick off later this month. The app, Yahoo Sport Fantasy Football, connects with Yahoo’s online game, which has been updated with real-time player updates, enhanced social interaction and a player pricing algorithm powered by big data. It has also introduced the Bundesliga and the Italian Series A leagues into its game.
Mobile Marketing


Capacity and Net Neutrality

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The technology deployed on any network has a set limit, something which anyone who gets slow video speeds when their siblings are playing Call of Duty will attest to.


net neutrality


This is referred to as the maximum capacity of the network and most people have encountered it at a specific point. Think back to trying to use your phone at a concert or to send a text on New Year’s Eve. There was a period when the internet was a niche thing and capacity was less of a problem (think after 56k modems but before iPhones) as less people demanded its resources. Then the minority of users were responsible for the majority of traffic and could be fairly free with its use.


However, with the rise of social everything, “internet of things” and an abundance of random cat videos, more and more people are demanding video and rich media content across their network connections.


To be fair to the networks they are also improving to match.  We have seen mobile connections move from GPRS to 2G, to 3G and 4G, in wired connections we have seen 10G turn into 40G and now 100G and work is already underway on 400G – it cannot be denied that the internet itself is getting faster.


Yet for cities like London, with population density on the rise and the level of service people demand ever increasing, experts are predicting an upcoming “capacity bottleneck” –  the amount of available capacity just won’t be enough for what people want to do with it.


This will of course eventually be solved by the next generation of technology but that is thought to not be soon enough to prevent the immediate problem of delays and under-resourcing.


This, as I understand it, is part of the argument being used by operators and ISPs to argue against the idea of Net Neutrality which is that equal access should be given to all content on the internet for any who wish to access it. This is a practice which network operators argue is impractical since there are already capacity issues when multiple people are streaming content on the same local area – like trying to use social media during the Olympics. Since there is a limited supply and consumers demand a high quality service, operators should be able to prioritise content more than they already do by charging a company for its services to be delivered at premium speeds over the network. This has been predicted to have broad implications for start-ups who cannot afford to pay for the same priority treatment as a large content provider.


Although this idea has been widely discussed in the media, it hasn’t gained the necessary traction in the public mind to affect the debate, however, if it was rebranded as the potential “Monetisation of Capacity” it might benefit from more widespread debate as it would tie the probable outcome to its effect on consumers.


It is true that, capacity bottlenecking will become more prevalent as content demand growth outpaces the development of the next technology standard (5G, 400G). The question is does this provide the justification for this approach?


Should operators be entitled to control content access for financial means and place restrictions on the wishes and decisions of their customers? There is a large question as to whether we can maintain the principle of free access which provides a lot of the strength of the internet as a content-sharing and idea generation platform.


This is what troubles me. Smaller indie platforms which can’t buy priority speeds will be relegated by market forces as consumers are fickle beings. If Netflix or Amazon is more reliable due to these agreements then that is what the consumers will use, which will essentially create a monopoly in certain spaces where existing content providers who already have the market share can dominate their smaller competitors. This causes me concern as it could have a negative effect on tech start-ups and innovation as well as the freedom of content which has made the internet the powerful tool in society that it is today.


Liberty Industry News – August 1, 2014

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Mobile operators win cut to sharp increase in UK licence fees
The UK’s telecoms regulator has reduced the proposed rise in the licence fees levied on mobile phone operators after heavy lobbying by the industry who had warned it would lead to higher bills for customers and hit their ability to invest. Ofcom said on Friday it was now planning to raise the annual licence fee fourfold from £64.5m to £246.8m, a cut of 20 per cent on its initial proposal.
Financial Times


Iliad shares fall after T-Mobile bid is deemed too low
Iliad SA shares slumped the most in almost eight years after the French carrier’s $15 billion bid for a stake in T-Mobile US increased the risk of a bidding battle with another suitor. Deutsche Telekom AG considers the $33-a-share cash offer for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile as not competitive and inferior to a separate bid planned by Sprint Corp, according to a person familiar with the matter. Masayoshi Son, the billionaire whose SoftBank Corp. owns Sprint, is said to be working on an offer of about $40 a share for T-Mobile.


Threat to sue Zambia’s networks over poor service
Mobile operators allegedly providing ‘poor network services’ are under the spotlight in Zambia again. The Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) has threatened to launch legal action against the country’s mobile operators for issues such as dropped calls and insufficient network coverage. Last year, ZICTA dragged the country’s three mobile operators — MTN, Airtel and Zamtel — to court over alleged poor services.



enterprise technology


Strong quarter proves the UK tech industry is “firing on all cylinders”
The UK technology industry has experienced a strong quarter from April to June 2014 as business activity rises at its fastest pace since 2007. This is according to professional services provider KPMG – its latest KPMG/Markit Tech Monitor UK survey claiming that the improving economy has led to a sustained period of strong growth for tech companies. In turn, this has boosted investment spending place across the sector, with 61 per cent reporting a solid upturn in year-ahead expectations for business activity.


Google says ‘forgetting’ isn’t easy, as requests mount
Google told European officials that forgetting isn’t easy, especially when details are few and guidelines are murky regarding when personal privacy trumps public interest. The world’s leading Internet search engine said that as of July 18 it had received more than 91,000 requests to delete a combined total of 328,000 links under Europe’s “right to be forgotten” ruling.
Daily Telegraph


Microsoft ordered to hand over European data
Microsoft has lost its latest attempt to protect customer data in its Dublin data centre from seizure by US authorities. Earlier this year, the company was issued with a warrant to hand over a customer’s emails, which were stored in the Irish data centre. Details of the case are sealed, so it’s not known which US crime or government agency issued the warrant, who the target is and even what kind of investigation is involved.
PC Pro



media news


Telefónica Vivo taps Ericsson for TV compression
Telefónica Vivo has chosen Ericsson’s AVP 4000 Encoder Family to provide compression for its TV service in Brazil. The company has also begun trials of a 4K/UltraHD service. With more content available for more video-enabled devices than ever before, maximising video delivery over available bandwidth and multiple networks is vital to the success of current and future consumer TV experiences. That’s prompted network upgrades for more and more video providers.


Ted Baker launches responsive eCommerce site
British clothing brand Ted Baker has relaunched its US website with a new focus on responsive design. The new site brings the company’s US web presence in line with the responsive site that was launched in the UK last October. The brand has reported a 48 per cent uplift in eCommerce business in the UK in the first half of 2014, which it attributes to the new site’s improved customer experience.
Mobile Marketing


UK retailers lagging behind in omnichannel
UK retailers are lagging behind their US counterparts when it comes to omnichannel retail, with their “narrow” focus on click and collect holding back ecommerce growth, according to a new report. The report by digital think tank L2 collected data on the sophistication of brands’ omnichannel capabilities, such as store locator services, promotion of in-store events, online pre-ordering and free shipping. They were scored on a scale of zero to 10 depending on the degree to which they encourage online and offline behaviours.
Marketing Week