A fair crowd gathered yesterday in London to hear Ofcom’s tentative views on improving consumer information in the mobile phone arena.
Representing the UK’s Communications Management Association I found the meeting experience, much like many a mobile call, variable.
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If anyone knows the everyday reality of mobile network performance it is surely the user.
The mobile phone itself must be the most obvious source of data – even (or especially) when signals fail, calls drop out and texts are delayed.
Ofcom’s ‘Call for Input’ on this ‘Quality of Experience’ debate – what should or could be measured – raises the prospect of a prevarication-free zone where the development of an App to monitor the realities of coverage, throughput and call quality could gain regulatory blessing without being delayed by any Operators’ reluctance to be so exposed.
The debate may even be a sign that Ofcom is keen to champion the interests of the users rather more than bend to the interests of operators.
The consultation is open until 1st April.
Ofcom asks- is the Quality of Mobile not Strained?
Progress towards elimination of excessive Mobile Roaming charges in Europe may be moving at a glacial pace but at least they are moving faster than the efforts to introduce national roaming within the UK.
As they square up to bidding at the UK’s auction for 4G spectrum all mobile operators are acutely aware of the costs of infrastructure investment. At the same time ordinary users are equally aware that when their signal fades they guy in the next seat may well have a good signal from another operator. The regulator has always claimed that national roaming (like its EU-wide counterpart) is technically too complex. Maybe the cost of duplicate base stations will, at last, force the operators to collaborate – ‘tho it seems unlikely that they can get their heads around sensible nationwide wholesale mobile connectivity.
Meanwhile across the EU, INTUG, the representative body for business users, is working hard to define the market requirements for the July 2014 change that requires all operators to offer roaming as a separate service – thus calling time on the era of unexpectedly high bills.
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The imminent launch by mobile operator Everything Everywhere of the UK’s 4G services (with others to follow in 2013 when spectrum is auctioned) comes just 2 weeks after announcement of government research funding for 5G.
The £11.6m from the UK’s Research Partnership investment fund will be more than matched by a further £24m from a consortium of mobile infrastructure providers and operators. The funds enable a 5G innovation centre to get underway at Surrey University.
Since the heady days of 2G (GSM) Europe has lost pole position in mobile technologies although we should not forget that Cambridge-based ARM has a dominant presence in billions of mobile devices.
The shape of mobile things to come is highly speculative and, with pressure for ever-greater spectrum efficiency and higher-capacity links to support bigger and faster applications, there is a huge interdependency on the adequacy of the fixed digital network to handle the traffic from thousands of smaller localised mobile base stations.
The expected explosion of demand for M2M devices and ‘The Internet of Things’ may already be stretching the limits of 4G and no-one imagines that the global standards-making process for 5G is going to be an easy collaborative ride.
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A recent report from AD Little highlights the decline of core revenues and the difficult choices facing European incumbents.
Whilst fixed line operators may look to diversify or develop OTT services, these options are viewed differently by Mobile operators.
The Groupe Intellex editorial considers the choice between yet more austerity measures and massive infrastructure investment – and this strategic choice is not just one for corporate leaders.
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