TalkTalk 300x225 TalkTalks SIM the cheapest in the UK, apparentlyTalkTalk say that their new unlimited SIM is the cheapest in the UK. Of course, they’ve made claims to be the cheapest before, and they got told off for that.

This is a different product though, so we should stop being so cynical, obviously.

So, if you’re a TalkTalk customers, you can get a contract with unlimited minutes, texts and data, and unlimited everything for £12 a month on a 30 day rolling contract. How wonderful is that? Well, bad news folks – this deal isn’t for a 4G contract, so that means you’ll be on 3G speeds. And tethering is not supported.

Not all peaches and cream, clearly.

On top of that, you have to be a TalkTalk broadband or TV customer. You can’t just wander in from the street and start asking for these things. Don’t be silly.

That all said, TalkTalk promises that anyone signing up for this will get 99% UK network coverage, which is good if you’re not bothered about 4G speeds. One to look at if you’re already a customer… but not so alluring if you’re not.

Carphone Warehouse to launch own mobile network

April 23rd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

really nice mobile phone action 300x231 Carphone Warehouse to launch own mobile networkCarphone Warehouse have announced that they’re going to launch their own mobile network, which they say is going to offer everyone increased flexibility with their contracts and a better access to free data roaming and “the best value 4G available on the UK market”.

This network is going to be called iD and will launch next month, in May.

The retailer will piggyback on Three’s network, in what is known as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Through it will be a range of capped and controlled plans, so customers won’t get any nasty surprised when they get their bill. There’ll be 12 month contracts on offer too – fancy that!

The first deal on iD will allow you to get a Samsung A3 on a 12-month 4G plan with 300 mins, 5,000 texts and 1 GB data for £19.50.

“People want greater flexibility from their plans and are fed up with the ‘one size fits all’ approach,” said Graham Stapleton, UK CEO at Carphone Warehouse. “We are also a generation obsessed with the mobile internet and accessing data and services on the move – things people are either paying too much for or just aren’t getting. Addressing these challenges forms the basis of the first wave of plans from iD.”

With all this undercutting going on, there could be some really favourable deals going on in the mobile world in the coming months, which naturally, we’re all for. Once we’ve worked out what the various catches are, naturally.

With Google launching their own network – Project Fi – things are hotting up in the normally infuriating world of mobile phone contracts.

080 charges to change

April 23rd, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

woman on the phone 243x300 080 charges to changeThere’s going to be some changes to the way 08, 09 and 118 are charged. The whole thing is going to get simpler for all concerned, hopefully.

So what’s the craic? From 1 July 2015, Ofcom is changing the way we’re charged and they’ll be telling everyone about it through a campaign called UK Calling.

From July, the cost of calling these numbers will be split into two parts.

There’ll be an access charge and a service charge. Basically, the cost of connecting your call to the network will be charged in pence per minute, which will be added to the service charge, which is how much the rest of the call will cost you.

One charge is decided by your network, while the other is decided by the organisation you call. Splitting them up helps you to decipher exactly who is trying to rinse you of pennies and pounds when you call them.

Companies have to communicate all this very clearly from July, which means that, if the service charge was 20p a minute, the organisation you are calling might say: “Calls cost 20p a minute, plus your phone company’s access charge”.

Confused? Watch this video, which has the mandatory ‘friendly acoustic guitar music’ which is designed to make you feel at ease.

UK Calling – Clear Call Rates for Everyone from Ofcom on Vimeo.

powerbar EEs powerbar promotion on hold as too many people want a freebieLast week, EE launched its new power bar perk, one of the two things (the other being £1 Wuaki film rentals) the mobile provider thought might be a very poor salve to all those EE/Orange customers mourning the loss of Orange Wednesdays. Unfortunately, the free power bar idea has been so popular, if you haven’t already requested your code, you’re going to have to wait until the end of June while EE catch up.

You would think that EE would have some idea of how many power bars they needed, given they (presumably) know how many customers they have, but it seems a far greater percentage of said customers than EE anticipated are willing to go into a store if it gets them something for nothing. Owing to ‘unprecedented demand’- with one million requests from customers in just over four days- if you didn’t send a text requesting a code before 3pm on Monday 20 April, then you’ll have to wait until after 8am on 24 June, when EE is resuming the promotion. Note they are not cancelling it, just pausing it while they replenish stock levels.

If you have already got a code but haven’t yet collected your power bar, you’ll can still get one, but you might wish you’d got off your sofa on Thursday, as some stores have, unsurprisingly, run out of stock. EE have said there are enough power bars for all the codes sent out, but some are currently being moved around to busier locations and you may need to check with your local store to see how far you’ll have to go to get one.

If you are still interested in getting one, on or after 24 June, EE, Orange and T-Mobile customers with a 30-day, 12-month, 18-month or 24-month mobile, tablet or broadband plan can get a power bar for free, as well as Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) mobile customers who have been with EE for at least three months,by doing the following:

Mobile customer: Text POWER to 365 (texts cost 35p).

Broadband customer: Text JOIN plus your EE landline number to 60005 (texts cost 35p).

Tablet customer: EE said that tablet customers must call customer services on 07953 966 250 (call costs will vary) to get a code.

Note that technically this is a hire agreement, so if you get a free power bar but later cancel your EE mobile, broadband or tablet contract, you are obliged to return the power bar to any EE store within 60 days or get slapped with a £5 fee on your final bill. Apple product customers will also have to carry a spare lightning/older iPhone lead with them if they want to actually get emergency charge.

The ability to go and swap an empty power bar for a full one in any EE store for those lucky enough to have already nabbed power bar still stands. Although again, you might have to find a store with some replacements available…

google Are we ready for Googles mobilegeddon then?There’s a lot of chat about ‘mobilegeddon’ at the moment, thanks to Google’s new mobile focused algorithm. Sod your desktop browsing.

So what’s the score? Well, Google’s newest update to the way they ranks the search results will now look at how mobile-friendly a site is. If you haven’t got a good mobile website, you’ll slip down the rankings.

While Google have labelled sites with good mobile offerings, now, it’ll make a much bigger impact on placement than before. Takaki Makino, Chaesang Jung and Doantam Phan, Google’s web wolves said in a blog: “We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

One site that could suffer is the Mail Online, who don’t have a mobile-friendly front page. However, they’re not daft and have been raking money in, so they’ll be sorting that out in the coming weeks. And yes, we know about ours.

With more and more people accessing the internet primarily through their phones, Google reckon that eventually, around 50% of searches will be through mobile devices.

Google haven’t given out any figures on the percentage of web searches that will be affected.

It’s so funny, how we don’t talk anymore…

April 17th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

girls texting 300x200 Its so funny, how we dont talk anymore...This year, the UK will see the time spent on mobile devices overtake that spent on desktops and laptops, according to latest estimates. We’re talking about non-voice activity here, which means we’re finally ridding ourselves of the awful experience of having to actually talk to other humans in phone calls.

We’re still glued to our phones though, tweeting and liking things on social media and constantly referring to IMDB to see who that woman is from that thing.

According to eMarketer, in 2015 UK adults will spend an average of two hours and 26 minutes a day on mobile, compared with two hours and 13 minutes on desktops and laptops. They’re cumbersome things that don’t fit in your pocket, while phones are on-hand so you can slag off Katie Hopkins’ latest TV appearance to the thrill of your internet friends.

Since 2011, the time spent on laptops and the like, has only increased by a few minutes per year – however, time spent on mobile devices has shot up by around 20-30 minutes each year. This is mostly accounted for by smartphones (62% of time spent on them) and tablets taking up the slack.

“UK adults aren’t moving their media consumption habits to digital platforms at the expense of traditional ones,” said Bill Fisher, analyst at eMarketer. “Rather, they are adding it to their overall media day.”

“This also holds true for platforms like social media, with time spent via mobile adding to time spent via laptops and desktops.”

mobile phone 300x225 Mobile customers paying £92 extra for handsets youve already paid for?Mobile-havers in the UK are losing £92 each per year (that’s around £355million if you add everyone up) on handsets they’ve already bought, but carry on paying for through their bill.

A lot of contacts combine the tariff and the cost of the device over a period of time, however, the cost isn’t always split, which means many don’t know when they’ve paid off the cost of their phone. Those who are with EE, Vodafone, and Three will be charged under one bundled price, while O2, Virgin Media and Tesco Mobile have separate handset and other tariff costs.

This is all according to Which!!! who gave a couple of examples, which show how overcharging occurs. For example, a contract with O2 Refresh for an iPhone 6 costing £49 a month for 5GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts points out that the handset part of the bill is £25 and the deal price will drop to £24 once the device has been paid for. However, if you do a similar thing with Vodafone, costing £48.50 a month, the price doesn’t change once the contract period is up and the handset has already been paid in full.

According to the Which!!! survey, 60% of those polled think that there should be a clear separation of tariff and handset costs in their bills. Around 97% think that price is a crucial factor when deciding whether or not to switch and 74% reckon that it is paramount that providers inform customers when their contract is coming to an end.

Which!!! big cheese Richard Lloyd said: “Consumers are being misled and as a result are collectively paying millions of pounds each year for a phone they have paid off. All mobile phone operators should separate out the cost of the handset so people don’t continue to pay after the contract comes to an end.”

“Mobile providers need to play fair and ensure their customers are not paying over the odds.”

 

android lollipop Could EU action bring an end to Android bloatware?With Google facing antitrust fines from EU competition regulators, the company have told staff that things could be getting heavy in the coming weeks.

Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, wrote in the memo to his charges, saying that a “statement of objections” to Google’s business practices in Europe would be released on Wednesday by the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

Basically, the European Commission is looking at whether or not Google have been pushing their own products unfairly, at the behest of others.

“Expect some of the criticism to be tough,” Walker continued.

With everyone focusing on search results, Google Maps and various shopping tools online, one thing that could really be shook-up is on Android. Anyone with an Android phone will know that their mobile is filled with a host of apps that you can’t get rid of – and they’re mostly Google branded applications too.

Unless you’re techie and can get under the hood, many users have found at some point, that they’ve tried to delete Google apps, only to find that they’re reinstalled when your  phone does an update, or if your mobile’s settings automatically update your apps. Most users just accept the updates so they can stop the constant reminders and push notifications.

If the EU issues a “statement of objections” against Google is successful, and the company are found guilty of abusing their market dominance, not only will there be some huge fines being thrown around, but it could mean that you’ll be able to uninstall Google apps for good, if you’re not using them and they’re taking up precious memory on your device.

Google have used their platform to push their own products ahead of others on Android handsets, so you can bet that Google will be hoping they can settle out of court. Will it change the way we get to manage what is on our phones?

We’ll have to wait and see.

Google’s ‘Project Fi’ app leak

April 14th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

There’s been mutterings of Google’s plans to go toe-to-toe with the mobile carriers, and rumours suggest that there’s going to be some kind of announcement in 2015.

Well, there’s been a leak which has unveiled some details about the service.

It looks like it’ll initially be a US-only thing, but Google have got form for rolling these things worldwide if the Americans take them up. One thing that Project Fi looks like it’ll be doing is only charging users based on data they actually consume and credit unused data at the end of the month.

project fi 800x420 500x262 Googles Project Fi app leak

These details came from a Tycho app that was included in an unofficial build for the Nexus 6.

You don’t need to worry about the Tycho app itself, as it isn’t that great compared to anything else. However, the app does seem to let users do more, including being able to request a new number, activate the service, start a transfer request and close/resume your account from within the app. Not earth-shattering, but useful.

Anyway, the news is the leak of Project Fi, and it looks like Google are going after heavy data users. It seems you’ll be able to switch from one device to another to carry over your Project Fi connection and number.

Google will presumably make money from adverts and using your data for whatever nefarious things they’re into. Mobile carriers might be getting squeaky bums at the prospect of all this.

mobile phone 300x200 Which!!! are the top five ways to keep your mobile spam free?It’s the second four-day week in two weeks, so we’re expecting you all to be a great mood. However, one of the things most likely to ruin a glorious mood is constant and persistent hounding by spam peddlers who, it seems, never take a day off. And it’s not just nuisance calls that get our collective goat- Which!!! research suggests that almost half of people with a mobile phone receive at least one spam text a week, mostly wittering on about whiplash compensation or claiming for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). Yes, still. And they’re constantly finding new ways to annoy you- with reports that the latest en vogue topic of spam textiness being the plugging of dodgy pension liberation schemes.

So, our good friends at Which!!! asked their friends, and 60% of them said they would report nuisance calls and texts, if only they knew how. So here we have the top five tips for getting rid of spam texts and leaving your inbox free for messages from pizza delivery companies and your mobile provider…

1. Use 7726

A massive 90% of the people Which!!! asked didn’t know that you can use 7726 to report spam texts directly to your mobile phone provider. 7726 is a universal number used by all providers (except Vodafone who use 87726) and, if you’re into that kind of thing, spell SPAM on your phone’s alpha-numeric keypad.

All you need to do is either forward it or copy and paste the message (if you are over 35 you might need to get a young person’s help to do this) and send it to 7726. You should get an automated response thanking you and giving you further instructions.

2. Never EVER reply to the text message…

If you reply, the scurrilous spammers will know that your number is live, rather than just being a randomly generated number on a list, so they will take this as an invitation to send you more and more unwanted text messages. Just delete the text, and if it comes from an identifiable number, block the sender to prevent further fishing contact.

3. … unless you know who the text is from

While many spammers use ‘unknown’ numbers, you can sometimes get marketing texts from companies who might legitimately have your mobile number, such as pizza delivery companies or taxi firms.  While you are supposed to have explicitly opted in to text marketing, these text from proper companies will have instructions on how to remove yourself from the list, often by replying STOP. Do this and they should not contact you again.

4. Tell them to go away

It sounds too simple, but under the Data Protection Act you have a right to ask companies to stop unwanted direct marketing – whether it is by phone, post or email. Of course, this again assumes this is an identifiable company contacting you who is registered as a Data Holder.

You can contact the company directly and make a formal request to have your details removed from their system and no longer user those details for direct marketing purposes. If they refuse, or you discover that they subsequently have not removed your details you can…

5. …report them to the ICO

If you continue to receive spam texts or calls from a company after asking to be removed from its database, you can report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for breaches of the Data Protection Act.

EE knocks out Apple Continuity

April 9th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Remember us telling you about EE’s WiFi calling thing? Well, Apple won the race to introduce it to their service with the iOS 8.3 update (the one that gave you all those lovely new emoji to play with).

Well, between the two of these things, there’s a slight problem.

You see, if you enable EE’s new WiFi caller app, it’ll knock out iOS 8′s Continuity feature, which means you won’t be able to answer calls on other non-cellular Apple devices.

wi fi calling main 460x259 EE knocks out Apple Continuity

Gizmodo alerted EE to this, to see if they’d made a boob, but alas, they haven’t. They were told that this is no error, but rather, all thanks to the way Apple have configured the service. Basically, by turning on WiFi calls, it disables Continuity and you’ll have to lump it.

There you have it. Clear as mud.

Emojis diverse 300x168 The new skin tones for emoji are here (and more Apple updates)Apple have revamped their emoji after some noticed that they weren’t very diverse. With the new software update iOS 8.3, users will now get over 300 new emoji and a redesigned keyboard. Now, the emoji come in a variety of skin tones.

People will non-Apple phones won’t see any difference on their timeline, which is making for some strange tweets and in some cases, the emoji doesn’t even show up at all, making a mess of some timelines, but there you go.

Apple created the new emoji with the Unicode Consortium, and the yellow one is the standard icons, with a variety of more realistic skin tones based on the Fitzpatrick scale, which is the standard used by dermatologists.

Some people, after the update, can’t see any difference. Here’s how to access them: Select the emoji you want to use and then press and hold. That will bring up different icons to use, just like when you want to choose a special character in text, or whatever.

Apple’s update also addresses some other things, such as better performance for app launch and responsiveness. They’ve improved some issues with WiFi and Bluetooth. There’s other stuff going on as well and if you want to know about all the improvements, click here.

There’s more support regarding languages for Siri – there’s now support for Siri in English (India, New Zealand), Danish (Denmark), Dutch (Netherlands), Portuguese (Brazil), Russian (Russia), Swedish (Sweden), Thai (Thailand) and Turkish (Turkey).

There’s also another 32 new country flags to play with as well.

Are Samsung finished?

April 9th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

samsung logo Are Samsung finished?For a while now, Samsung hasn’t had a bit of good news. Since the success of their Galaxy S3 phone, and the increased scrutiny that comes with it, they’ve looked like the kind of people who wouldn’t know how to organise a burp in a pop factory.

And now, they’ve predicted a 30% drop in profits for the first quarter of 2015. What on earth are they playing at?

Of course, they’re still making a load of money as a company (billions in fact), but it is remarkable that they’re managing to mess this all up? They had a really popular phone which was making them cash money, so with each subsequent release, don’t mess with the format too hard, and they’d be fine?

One of the problems for them is that Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which has proved to be very popular indeed. Samsung will be hoping that everyone falls like gannets on the newly released Galaxy S6 phone. If you can delete the bloatware off it, then they’re in with a shot.

The average Samsung phone has a cavalcade of apps from the company themselves (not to mention all those Google ones you can’t get rid of) which clogs up handsets and eats up memory space which consumers would invariably prefer to have filled with photos and music and the like.

Since Samsung’s Galaxy phones led the market, back in 2012 and 2013, since then, they’ve been disappointing. If they carry on at this rate, they could Do A HTC.

EE launches WiFi calls service

April 7th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

zzzw EE launches WiFi calls serviceEven though there’s loads of apps out there that enable you to make calls and communicate with people over the internet, EE have decided to launch their own thing where you can phone people up over WiFi.

Handy if you’ve no mobile signal and haven’t heard of Skype or whatever. This new service will be available on the Microsoft Lumia 640 and the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Other handsets are set to follow suit. iPhone users will be able to do all this by summer.

EE think they’ve spotted a problem and have said that 1-in-10 people have rooms in their house where they can’t get a signal (especially in rural places) so they’ll be able to make calls by piggybacking on the WiFi.

This service makes the most of the IP multimedia subsystem framework, which EE showed off in the Churchill War Rooms underneath Whitehall (which is underground and has a shield of five feet of concrete around it) and they made calls over the WiFi there. Presumably, Churchill didn’t have a WiFi connection down there, or he would’ve lost the war by playing hashtag games on Twitter.

Of course, if you don’t have a WiFi connection, you might as well try and make a phonecall on an abacus.

That all said, EE reckon that their WiFi calling service is easier to use than Skype, WhatsApp and the like, because it uses the phone’s standard dialler and contacts and you won’t need a special app (although, a lot of phones enable you to use the standard dialler now).

They’re all at it though. Vodafone are bringing something similar out and O2 has the Tu Go app, like Three’s InTouch thing. It all sounds like bloatware to us.

Can you bend the new Samsung phones?

April 7th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Can you bend the new Samsung phones? The short answer is, ‘of course you can’t – that’d be stupid’. How do we know this? Well, Samsung have made a video addressing the claims that you can bend the latest Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones.

The video features a 3-point bend test for the phones, with the handsets being put through 80 pounds of force, which is enough to break a whopping FIVE pencils. That said, we probably couldn’t snap five pencils without the aid of machinery. Either way, the test is considered to be in advance of the most extreme use that a phone will go through.

And, as the video beow shows, Samsung dismissing claims about their bendy phones.

Amusingly, the video begins with a disclaimer that says the test has not been produced to satisfy the ‘sadistic desires’ that people have by wanting to break up phones.

If you want to see a new Samsung smashed to smithereens, then you’ll have to buy one and a claw hammer and get to work.