Posts Tagged ‘mobile phone’

Mobile phones to be less hassle abroad

June 30th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

mobile phone 300x225 Mobile phones to be less hassle abroadOne in six people who own a mobile phone, have admitted that they get shocked when they forget how much it costs to use it.

Many mobile phoners have used their phone on holiday, but have tend to forget the extra that can be run up when a-roaming.

However, that hopefully looks like it is all over as from midnight tonight, the EU’s Roaming Regulation will lower the price caps for data downloads when you are travelling within the European Union.

Although there’s a lack of knowledge about these caps and what they mean.

Which!!! executive director Richard Lloyd said: ”Capping EU mobile roaming charges is welcome news for millions of travellers, especially those who have faced expensive charges for data roaming when their mobile hasn’t even left their suitcase. Consumers travelling within the EU should now be much clearer on the charges they have to pay.”

Which we can all agree is quite a good thing.

The maximum charge for outgoing calls, excluding VAT, will now be 10p per minute, around 3p for outgoing text messages, and 16p for a MB download of data. These caps will only apply to the nations within the EU.

Four in ten people reckon they didn’t know they had a right to challenge their mobile phone provider if they received an excessive bill after using their phone abroad. And a further 48% of people didn’t know that if they have capped their mobile phone usage with their provider, they can refuse to pay the bill for their phone usage above the cap level.

So that’s good to know then, next time you’ve clocked up several grand by accident, you can turn around and shout at your provider.

EE announces price rise

April 8th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

zzzw EE announces price riseAs seems to be the case with mobile providers, EE has joined in by increasing the monthly cost of phone bills by 2.7%. That’s what happens when everyone says you’re the best mobile network around.

Subscribers on EE, Orange and T-Mobile will be affected by the price hike, which comes into effect from May 28th.

Additional charges for usage beyond customers’ monthly allowance will also increase. GOOD TIMES.

And as the price rise is linked with inflation, customers will not be able to cancel their contract early, unless they joined or upgraded after January 23rd.

The network has warned that those who signed up or upgraded within the last 30 days may still receive a letter about the move, but will not be affected by the changes.

What are EE saying on their website? “We know price rises are never great news, but we work hard to keep costs down while offering our customers great value on the UK’s biggest and fastest network. As a result of rising business costs, we are increasing the price of EE, Orange and T-Mobile monthly plans.”

Looks like the mobile companies are pre-emptively trying to make some money back now that roaming charges are to get the chop.

It’s over for OVIVO

March 20th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

zzzgs 300x164 Its over for OVIVOOVIVO Mobile is no more.

The mobile operator, which was the only UK Pay As You Go mobile network to offer SIM Card only deals, posted a statement on their website earlier today.

As is the modern way, we’ve cut and pasted it here:

“We are very sad to announce that for reasons beyond our control, OVIVO Mobile is closing down on the evening of Wednesday 19th March 2014. We’d like to thank each and every one of you for your support and friendship over the last two years.”

There’s also a PAC code request form on the site, as so you can keep your number.

The last few days had seen customers unable to call out or log in to wifi, with the company posting messages about sorting out the difficulties experienced, but were still accepting new customers.

Sainsburys+Store 200 1 Sainsburys shopper shocked by checkout drone mobile quit requestIt’s the burning question of the day here at Bitterwallet HQ – should you have end a mobile phone call in order to be served at a supermarket checkout?

Because that was what one Sainsbury’s customer was ordered to do yesterday. Jo Clarke was having a natter with a friend when she reached the front of the queue in the Crayford store in South London, only to be ordered to hang up by the checkout assistant.

According to some other source or something, the assistant told her: “I will not check your shopping out until you get off your mobile phone,’ refusing to serve Jo until she hung up.

Sainsbury’s have subsequently apologised to Jo and offered her some compensatory vouchers, adding that they don’t have a policy of refusing to serve mobile-using customers. All of that has come too late for Jo though, who says she’s a Waitrose customer from now on.

So then Bitterwalleteers – do YOU hang up from a mobile call while you’re at a checkout? Do you consider it bad manners to do such a thing? Or does your mum do all the shopping for you while you stay in your box room, playing at being a tough guy on the internet?

Bitterwallet T Mobile logo featured T Mobile seem to be in no hurry to sort out customers £500 overcharge...There’s nothing quite like social media and ‘the blogosphere’ when it comes to escalating a grievance against a large corporation. Natalie Guest has whipped up a storm against T-Mobile over the past few hours, thanks to her tale of woe about the enormous mobile provider.

It’s all to do with the small matter of her being charged £522.66 instead of the usual monthly £20 for her T-Mobile contract phone. As Natalie said in her email to T-Mobile on August 6th…

“After some investigation via my online billing account, it looks like there has been some form of technical/network error. I went to Germany for 3 days last month (being careful to turn off all data roaming and mobile internet services), and whilst I was there sent a text to my friend Christian, as he used to live in Munich.

For some reason this same text got replicated and sent to him thousands of times. I had no notification of this on my phone – they didn’t appear in my ‘sent’ box – but he did receive the same text multiple times. Thinking it was an issue at his end, he contacted his provider – O2 – who thought it was probably a problem with his handset.”

When Natalie brought the textual oddness to the attention of T-Mobile, they said that they would investigate it but couldn’t guarantee a refund and would text her within five working days. As she told T-Mobile…

“…obviously, this was a technical glitch – whether that was one to do with your network or the German network. It wouldn’t be physically possible for me to send the same text 6 times a minute for 3 days without sleeping, even if I had any discernible reason to want to do this. I’ve attached a screenshot (below) so you can see the sort of thing I’m talking about.”

tmobile2 500x416 T Mobile seem to be in no hurry to sort out customers £500 overcharge...

Ten days have gone by and Natalie still hasn’t heard anything back from T-Mobile. In fact she has cancelled her direct debit so that the huge, disputed sum isn’t paid out of her bank account. But, there is SOME communication from them – instead of a resolution of her situation, she says that she is being plagued by…

“•  Daily automated texts from T-Mobile asking me to pay my outstanding bill, in order to avoid an interruption in services.

•  Daily calls from TMobile asking me to pay my bill, from people with no knowledge of the issue. Upon asking them to read through my notes, they say the issue is being “investigated”. I ask them to please stop phoning until some progress has been made, or to put a note on my file asking people not to phone me. They claim that this is impossible as “calls are automated”. I ask whether I’m going to be cut off. They say “not until the 31st, and it should be dealt with by then”. I have absolutely zero confidence that the issue will be dealt with by then.

•  Frequent missed calls (I’ve been in theatres a lot over the past week, so haven’t always been able to pick up) which, once I ring back (which I do, in case the issue has actually been resolved), put me straight back into the TMobile automated service and ask me to press 1 or 2 or whatever. Once I get through to someone, they have no idea what the previous call was about.

•  Frequent (although not quite daily) calls from TMobile telling me I’m a “loyal customer” and so am eligible for some sort of deal.

•  Frequent (although not quite daily) texts from TMobile asking me to rate how I felt my customer service was today. FYI, my ratings are very low at the moment, which I presume is what is triggering the “loyal customer” phone calls.”

But nothing regarding the huge bill that Natalie says has been run up in her name in error. Natalie’s blog has been all over Twitter and Facebook today, and it’ll be interesting to see if the blanket of negative publicity for T-Mobile will make them pull their finger out and sort this thing out. We’ll be watching and will keep you informed…

EDIT: As Natalie says in the comments below… “Just had a phonecall from a very lovely and helpful lady called Jacqueline, to tell me that they’ve removed all of the charges for the month & reinstated my account.” HOORAY!

mark hole Have you been signed up for premium rate services you didnt order? Better check your phone bill…

Mr Hole's unwanted text message (c) Mark Hole

Most of us are far too wordly wise to ever sign up to a spam texting service. No matter what the dating knowledge, psychic insight or genitalia-enlargement offered, the cost of the service is almost certainly going to outweigh the benefit. Even if that service were free. However, a UK mobile phone user has just discovered that he could sign up anyone he liked to one of these services, after finding fraudulent charges on his bill.

Consultant Mark Hole found charges for a fortune-telling service on the mobile phone bill of his business mobile. Certain he had not bandied around his mobile number in places spamsters could get hold of it, he complained to his service provider, Orange, who shrugged and said he must have signed up and to naff off (or words to that effect). Mr Hole also complained to Buongiorno, the “content maker” behind the iFortune service he was getting without asking.

However, Mr Hole was not your average mug, and decided to investigate how his number had been signed up for the service. Using a Firefox add-on that pretended his computer was an iPhone, Mr Hole found that he could sign up absolutely anyone for premium rate services from content maker Buongiorno with just their mobile phone number and knowing if they were on the Orange network. He went on to demonstrate this by signing up a BBC reporter for the fortune telling service.

Buongiorno described Mr Hole’s investigations as a “bug” and  assured the BBC that once they “found out” about it, they  “very quickly moved to pin it down, find out what happened and stop it from happening again.”

Gareth Maclachlan, head of mobile security firm Adaptive Mobile, told the BBC that Buongiorno was not doing a good enough job of checking which net addresses were making sign-up requests. “There’s a potentially criminal opportunity here,” he said, describing how hi-tech thieves could set up a fake premium rate service, sign people up and then sit back and wait for cash to roll in.

Information about Mr Hole’s findings have been circulated to the GSMA security working group to ensure other operators are aware of the loophole. Buongiorno are convinced the impact of this “loophole” was minimal, but given that Mr Hole’s situation suggests the window was open for at least 14 days, it remains to be seen if other mobile phone users have fallen foul to the same or a similar scheme. So get checking your bills now- and if you find anything, please let us know.

the brick talking mobile phone holder 184x300 Passengers say no to Virgin Atlantics in flight mobile call plansVirgin Atlantic might have thought they were being all smart and clever last week when they announced that they’ll soon be allowing passengers to use their mobile phones during flights, but those that take them up on the offer will find themselves shunned by their fellow travellers.

A poll, carried out by flight comparison website Skyscanner, suggests that 86% of us would object to passengers making voice calls during flights on the premise that “it’s annoying to listen to other people’s conversations”. And let’s face it, the majority of in-flight calls are going to begin with ‘Hey, you’ll never guess where I am. I’m ON A PLANE!’. Urgh.

Almost half of those polled said that they would use the in-flight mobile service, but only to send texts (that would presumably read ‘Hey, you’ll never guess where I am. I’m ON A PLANE! LOL’ Urgh). Only six per cent said that they would make or receive voice calls. Yes, they’re saying that now….

Virgin will launch the service on flights between London and New York, but wants to make it available on at least nine more routes before the end of the year. It’ll cost approximately £1.00 a minute to make voice calls, while text messages will cost 20 pence a pop.

[Telegraph]

Santa Claus has long since been and gone but spare a thought for Space Dog, who presumably is still languishing up there in the heavens, waiting patiently for the gift-laden old man to zoom by again in nine months’ time. Or at least that’s the story if this Japanese mobile phone ad is to be believed.

Most of us have been able to have a good look at Venus and Jupiter in the night sky over the past couple of weeks but have you spotted Space Dog? If you do, wink and say hello, eh? He’ll like that.

The world’s first mobile phone?

January 29th, 2012 3 Comments By Andy Dawson

Never mind those 1980s ‘brick’ mobile phones – here’s THE real pioneering piece of mobile technology, from the 1920s.

enhanced buzz 3005 1327786714 86 The worlds first mobile phone?

enhanced buzz 1460 1327786643 3 500x382 The worlds first mobile phone?

It’s one step up from the yoghurt-pots-attached-with-string concept. A man called W. W. Macfarlane used to have his chauffeur drive him around with this thing in his car, while he spoke to his wife – as long as she was within a range of 500 yards. Way funnier than Dom Joly as well.

[Smithsonian]

phone 300x200 Will mobile phone operators lose their stealth tax just to be nice to people?Imagine you’re having a bad day. You spill tea down your shirt, tread in dog shit on the way to missing your train and to top it all, your mobile is lifted from your pocket while you struggle to keep upright during a standing room only trip into work. Your day can only get better, right?

Well, to add insult to injury, when your mobile phone is stolen, any calls made between the light-fingeredness and the resulting discovery, frantic searching and eventual reporting of the crime to the police and phone company are charged to your mobile phone account at full rate.

What this means is that not only have you been robbed, you get robbed by the phone companies who are not merely passing on their costs to you (after all, you wouldn’t expect them to be out of pocket, would you?), but who are making a profit out of your misery. Literally. Given that Which! suggest nearly 6m people in Britain have had their mobile phones stolen in the past five years, that’s a nice little earner for the mobile providers.

Well, this disgruntling situation has gone so far as to fire up some particularly ranty MPs who entered an Early Day Motion (EDM). The motion, which was read out in the House of Commons, said that mobile operators should charge customers the wholesale rate for calls made after phones are stolen, rather than the “much higher” retail charges that they currently face until the theft is reported.

Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, told The Telegraph: “Mobile phone operators are raking it in. At the moment mobile phone tariffs are competitive, and the way [operators] are compensating is by using theft like a stealth tax. First of all they charge rip-off insurance – often £10 to £15 a month – and then, when the phone is nicked, they charge for the calls made. They shouldn’t be stealth taxing consumers in this way.”

However, mobile operators have, unsurprisingly, suggested they would resist the proposed shift to wholesale charges because it would be open to abuse by customers who claim their phones have been stolen if they incur a particularly large bill, or who might be tempted to backdate a real theft.

“We see from the amount of mobiles that get ‘stolen’ whenever a new iPhone comes on the market that customers are not always very honest,” said a very senior executive at one of the major providers.

However Mr Halfon pooh-poohed the idea, suggesting a requirement to obtain a crime number would prevent such high jinks, “very few customers are going to lie to the police, and the police don’t give out crime references willy-nilly.”

So can we expect to see the phone companies being landed with some hefty legislation anytime soon? Er, no. Probably not.

You see an Early Day Motion is a formal motion submitted for debate in the House of Commons. However, very few EDMs are actually debated in the House of Commons, and they are largely used as the parliamentary equivalent of a press release. Good for making lots of noise, but not so good for forcing a change in law. Unless the public really jump on the bandwagon of course.

But even if it garners loads of support within the House, an EDM is not likely to be debated, and Ministers, Whips, Private Secretaries and the Speaker (and deputies), the important people who decide these things, will not normally sign EDMs.

The EDM that received the most signatures this session was one expressing the importance of community pubs, at 275 signatures, beating Zac Goldsmith and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s fish fight into second place with 249.

The lost mobile phone EDM got 22 signatures, so if you feel strongly about it, you may have to go and disrupt people’s weddings and church services before anything will actually be done about it. Or you could just grumble a lot. Or keep your mobile inside a loaded mousetrap. Or something.

nophone 300x295 EU fiddling with mobile contracts brings good and bad newsIt must be nice to be a Eurocrat, making changes to people’s everyday lives and then watching what happens. Last year’s EU agreement to reform mobile contracts has just come into force in the UK, bringing both benefits and costs for consumers.

The reforms centred on the length of mobile phone contract- the new rules effective from 1 May 2011 mean that contracts cannot exceed 24 months and that providers have to offer 12 month contract products, as well as demanding  mobile operators keep their customers informed of available tariffs, their usage patterns, and be notified if their monthly bill exceeds a set threshold.

Back in 2005, 12 month contracts represented nearly 90 percent of new mobile connections, but by the middle of 2010, that figure had shrunk to a measly seven percent, as recession-hit networks attempted to entice customers into longer deals to keep them loyal.

Now, research by comparison site U-Switch shows that the number of 12 month deals available  has rocketed from just 279 in February this year to 4,765 last week. As you might expect, however, the outlawing of 36 month contracts has meant that 3,300 products have necessarily been removed from the market.

While the abundance of shorter contract products is likely to be attractive to those looking to upgrade their phone on a more frequent basis, the sting in the tail is likely to hit the smartphone market hardest- where providers previously offered phones for free with a longer contract, customers may now find themselves having to shell out cash to buy the phone upfront.

And that is the other bit of bad news, before the new rules came in, the cheapest monthly mobile deal could be snapped up for a measly £5 per month with Orange on 30 April. Now, the cheapest deal is with Three, and while still less than a tenner at £9 a month (for a 24 month contract), that represents a whopping 80% price increase in the space of a few days.

So what do you think? Are the EU meddling where no meddling is required and should customers have the right to choose longer (and cheaper) contracts if it suits them? Or is this a valuable consumer protection measure?

HotUKDeals Of The Day – Tuesday 3rd May

May 3rd, 2011 1 Comment By Andy Dawson

hukd logob1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Tuesday 3rd May Get into the crash position and brace yourself for a hell of a collision – that’s because we’re about to plough straight into an enormous pile of bargains. But don’t worry – we’ll all survive and be bigger and stronger for it afterwards.

That pile of bargains is slap bang in the middle of HotUKDeals HQ – feel free to crawl from the wreckage and have a mooch around afterwards…

930990 1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Tuesday 3rd MayThe pre-summer summer we’ve been enjoying looks certain to be with us FOREVER, so it’s arguably time to invest in a new barbecue. An emergency one that you can wander around with and erect whenever the fancy takes you. Yes, erect.

Try this for size. It’s a notebook portable barbecue that folds down and can be carried around as if it’s a laptop computer or a tiny pasting table. Yours for only £13.33 although there seems to be some kind of suggestion that it could be as little as £3.33. Just make sure you give it a wipe afterwards before you wander off with it under your arm.

931159 1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Tuesday 3rd MayOnce you’ve taken delivery of your new, novelty, portable meat-grilling sensation, you’ll be desperate to ring your mates up and tell them all about it. if you’re an idiot, you might also want to invite them round to have a go on it.

Save money on those phone calls by getting a 3 SIM-only mobile deal with 300 mins, 3000 texts and 1GB of internet for £10 per month on a 12 month contract. You could also be entitled to £54.54 cashback, which could bring the price to £5.45 per month. Bargain.

931307 1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Tuesday 3rd MayIf you are stupid enough to invite a bunch of people round to gawp at your modern, marvellous foldaway barbecue, you’d better take some photos of the event. Some of them are bound to fall over or break stuff, and the photos could be essential pieces of evidence when it comes to you taking civil action against them.

Get those photos printed out for next to nothing with this deal – it’s for 100 free 6×4 prints and a free compact CEWE photobook. You’ll even get a free £10 voucher against future photo purchases. All you pay is postage and packing. You’ll end up regretting it though. All of it…

(deals found by HUKD members michaeln, srh007 and lakmii)

HotUKDeals Of The Day – Wednesday 30th June

June 30th, 2010 No Comments By Andy Dawson

hukd logob1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 30th JuneA phone, a saving on your supermarket bill and some beautiful rechargeable lights. Everything you could ever need and more and it’s all here just for youse lot.

Wave your hand thankfully in the direction of HotUKDeals – they’re the ones who came up with it all…

710334 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 30th JuneThe sun. Giver of, erm… light and that. Wonderful stuff. Keeps you warm and helps you see during the day, and wakes your kids up really frigging early in what’s practically the middle of the night.

If you’re fifty feet under the ground, hammering out consumer news and other vaguely-related bollocks all day long, you might need an alternative to the sun. Try this – a set of Philips Imageo rechargeable LED candles. They’re only £14.97.

710387 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 30th JuneNext, the chance to get a fiver knocked off your supermarket shopping bill – assuming that your shopping bill is higher than £40 and that the supermarket you shop at is Morrisons (although we’re led to believe that Tescos will also accept the voucher in question.)

Get over to HotUKDeals to find out more about the complicated series of tasks that you will have to undertake in order to get yourself a portion of this deal. It’s nothing simple like cutting a coupon out a national newspaper – oh no. And don’t forget about the special offers that are on at Morrisons this week – we mentioned them earlier today.

710484 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 30th JuneFinally, a neat little mobile phone offer, because, well, you know, we can never have too many mobile phones now can we? This one is a T-Mobile Pulse and it has a 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen as well as loads of other stuff that you can only dare to dream of.

But what of the price? Well, it’s a mere £109.99. Amazed aren’t you? You’ve dropped your current phone on the floor in shock, smashing it to bits and making this even more of a must-buy. Plus there’s £10 of credit included and the chance to get £10 cashback on the deal. Sweet potatoes!

(deals found by HUKD members nicster08, wesa14 and robot1000)

Microsoft Skinput system 300x218 Gadzooks! Microsoft back new skin tap gadget control systemAs we revealed at 9am, Apple are exploring the idea that an iPhone could theoretically replace your old-fashioned set of keys.

Well, now it’s 9.30am and that idea seems like so much tired old hat, thanks to Microsoft and a man called Chris Harrison. Harrison made over 300 appearances for Plymouth Argyle during the 1970s and 1980s* but now, as this video shows, he is an electronic pioneer.

He’s the man that will help us to control our mobile phones, entertainment devices and game-playing gizmos using our… OWN SKIN!

As this video demonstrates, tapping the skin on different parts of your arm creates a series of different sounds. When those sounds are picked up by a gadget that straps on to your arm, they are then translated into instructions that will control your phone or mp3 player or help you become a Tetris champion. Cleverly, they’re calling it ‘Skinput.’

Some questions arise. How do the menus appear on your arm? We don’t know – probably lasers. What do you do if you live in a freezing cold country like Britain? We don’t know – but we’re sure that the boffins will find a way around that. If you exercise your forearm and make it bigger and stronger, will that make your mp3 player have a larger capacity? No, don’t be so ridiculous.

It’s early on a Monday morning and Bitterwallet has already given you a vision of the future on a plate. Now stop scratching your arse and go and get some work done so we can all get there quicker.

*Possibly not the same Chris Harrison.

l1040d8f.jpg.display Jet2 pull plane apart to find passengers mobile phone

Jet2 boss Phillip Meeson - nowhere in sight when the phone needed to be retrieved

You know that bit on aeroplanes where they insist that you switch off your mobile phone before take off? The bit that has us all sullenly muttering: ‘Bugger off; what harm can it REALLY do? All that stuff about interfering with the controls is just a big bunch of old bollocks…’

Well the airlines must be perpetuating the most elaborate lie on the planet then. Turns out there could be something in it after all. Because if a switched-on mobile got lost on a plane, an airline wouldn’t bother to dismantle part of said plane in order to get it back if it wasn’t important, would they?

Hmm… well that’s precisely what Jet2 staff did recently when a passenger dropped their phone into an air vent ahead of take off on a Newcastle-bound flight from Murcia. The cockpit area and front row of seats were pulled apart, leading to a three-hour delay while the phone was retrieved and turned off, in case it interfered with the plane’s control and diverted the metal sky bird straight into the heart of the sun.

Of course, we assume they would have done the same thing for the passenger who had lost their phone when it had already been switched off. They would, wouldn’t they?

Later, a Jet2 spokesdroid did an apology and said something about safety before reiterating some stuff about mobile phones on planes. Just once, we’d love it if they communicated with us with sock puppets or via an ancient and outmoded form of Chinese folk dance. They never do though. They never, ever do.

[BBC]