Friday, 18 December 2009
Next year will see the launch of a Freerunner MVNO aimed at optimising wireless data connectivity using both WiFi and 3G, based on an intriguing business model that promises to deliver great value for money. Plus, Freerunner will move into the hardware space with a couple of different Freerunner branded devices; a phone and a WiFi ready handheld device.
community projects and UK and international hotspot expansion programmes continue to ramp up. These hotspots are supported by 3G and satellite connectivity, as well as regular broadband, depending on the location. Freerunner is also starting to install 802.11n compliant routers to provide enhanced coverage to the increasing number of users with N compatible devices.
It's great to see not just a new entrant into the UK WiFi market but one with new and innovative ideas.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
This week I had a chat with Tim Behrsin, who heads up the iNum division at Voxbone. iNum (which stands for ‘international number’) launched in 2008 and has been busy building interconnect agreements and signing service providers over the last year.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
It's interesting to reflect how my usage of mobile devices changes from trip to trip. Last week's visit to Berlin was my first trip overseas since I acquired an iPhone. Previously I had tended to make extensive use of my laptop for checking emails but this time I only fired up my laptop once. The rest of the time I relied on my iPhone for sending and receiving emails. The iPhone handles emails so well that it made my laptop redundant for the three days I was away. Previously I had used a BlackBerry but much prefer using the iPhone, in part because of the way it renders emails.
The conference hotel had excellent WiFi coverage despite being charged at an extortionate EUR 25 per day. Although I was armed with an iPass account, courtesy of AxiCom, unfortunately I wasn't able to use it because the hotel decided that charging outrageous rates for WiFi was better business than joining a WiFi aggregator! However the combination of hotel WiFi and iPhone was brilliant and did save on 3G data roaming costs.
I had been hoping that the guys at Truphone would be able to let me have a Truphone Local Anywhere SIM to try out. Unfortunately the product is not quite ready for launch; however I was able to use their SIM4travel product. SIM4travel has a number of benefits, including no charge to receive calls in about 40 countries worldwide and competitive calling rates. SMS rates in the EU are less competitive now the EU has capped rates but for anyone travelling between multiple countries it's a handy tool to have. Although Truphone has yet to announce pricing for Local Anywhere, I'm expecting it to be a great product for anyone spending time in more than one country.
When I visited the Netherlands back in the Summer I made a lot of use of my Nokia E63 on Vodafone because their Passport promotion meant that calls and SMS on their partner networks overseas were treated as 'in-bundle'. However sadly that was just a promotion and now regular roaming rates apply, so with every call and text chargeable, my Nokia E72 had a quiet couple of days!
So overall, the winners this trip were my iPhone & WiFi!
Monday, 30 November 2009
The qwerty keypad is a big draw for me and as much as I love my iPhone, a touch screen qwerty keypad just isn't as good as 'proper' keys (in my opinion!). The 5MP camera is significantly better than previous E Series cameras, although not in the same league as some N Series devices.
The Optical NaviKey is an interesting new feature for navigating the screen. It takes a bit of getting used to but with some practice it's a nice enhancement to the usual 'click to scroll' function.
The S60 software does seem a bit dated after using the iPhone but it does the job, suitably enhanced with Handy Taskman. The faster processor seems to make a difference, with much speedier performance than on my previous E Series devices.
A couple of nice E63 features (that weren't on the E71) have been carried through - the 3.5 mm headset socket (of course!) and the space bar torch feature.
Overall, I think the E72 is a worthy successor to the E71, especially if a decent qwerty keypad is a must for you.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Monday, 16 November 2009
Making a call is simple and uses both the Skype client on your PC and the on-hook / off-hook hardware buttons on the speakerphone. Call quality is outstanding and it’s a great enhancement to Skype, especially as an alternative to a headset. However, the one bizarre thing about the Yamaha is the price. The Skype store is selling it for £199.90 and I can’t work out who would pay that price for a speakerphone. It’s undeniably a great bit of kit but that price point seems too high. The quality may well justify the price but I don’t see users paying that sort of premium which is a shame because anyone using the ‘Sound Gadget’ will love it!
The Yamaha PSG-01S is available from the Skype store.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
I've been using Be Broadband for a few months now. They caught my eye as one of only two ISPs offering 'unbundled' ADSL 2+ broadband in my home area and I was keen to see how much difference ADSL2+ makes. ADSL 2+ is marketed as an 'up to 24MB' broadband service but as with all these 'up to' services very, very few people get anywhere near the theoretical maximum.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Originally posted on The Really Mobile Project.
I’ve used a number of headsets over the years with variable results and recently I’ve been using the FREETALK Everyman headset. The headset has been optimised for Skype which means it supports Skype’s SILK codec and makes it a great choice if you’re a Skype fan.
The headset is designed to be used when travelling - the earpieces pivot and fold flat, making it reasonably compact so you can slip it in your laptop case. Call quality is excellent and I experienced no problems using the headset. Skype is selling the Everyman for £19.98 in the UK which seems excellent value to me. At that price you can afford to carry it round and if it gets damaged it’s not a complete disaster! Build quality and comfort are good, considering the price point of the headset. I was amazed how light it is and would happily wear it for a couple of hours at a time.
As well as a USB connector, the Everyman has a 3.5 mm connector. I’ve been using this with my iPhone and it works perfectly. Music fades out for calls and it’s a lot more comfortable than using the regular iPhone headset.
So, my verdict is if you’re in the market for an inexpensive headset take a look at the FREETALK Everyman which is available through Skype’s own shop.
Monday, 2 November 2009
Setting up a new PC is always a time consuming experience, especially finding and downloading all those great free apps you used on your old PC.
Friday, 30 October 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
I've enjoyed participating in previous Next Generation Billing conferences and made some great contacts in the billing and payments business. A key area for me is how to improve the customer experience when transacting online and the impact this will have on the future of payments. The conference is a great place to exchange ideas with others who face similar challenges. Look forward to seeing you there!
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009
Originally posted on The Really Mobile Project.
I never thought I’d say it but I much prefer my iPhone to my Nokia E63. I’ve played with the iPhone on a number of occasions and always been impressed by the user experience but felt it was lacking in a number of areas, for example the ability to customise it in the way you can with a S60 device and the lack of a ‘proper’ keypad. I also resented the ‘Apple tax’ and the closed nature of the way Apple operates, for example offering the device through one UK operator (who incidentally has the weakest 3G coverage, we learned this week) on expensive tariffs.
However all that changed when I received an iPhone (not the 3GS sadly) for business purposes. Using the iPhone every day made me realise just what a game changer it is. Much as I love the qwerty keypad on my E63, the iPhone makes Nokia’s S60 interface seem so dated by comparison. The App Store ecosystem changed the mobile marketplace forever and when compared to the Ovi Store … well let’s not even go there. From a business perspective, the Exchange integration for mail, contacts and calendar is excellent and very easy to set up.
I’ve been a staunch Nokia user, supporter and campaigner since 1994 when Orange launched in the UK and Nokia still produces some great devices in the E and N Series. However the user experience is in drastic need of an overhaul. Although I’ve yet to try the N97, Nokia’s latest flagship device, nothing I’ve read so far leads me to believe I’d change my mind about Nokia.
Where the iPhone really scores is in simplicity for the user. I’ve already mentioned the App Store with its wealth of compelling applications but other areas like WiFi with pre-configured hotspot coverage, SMS message threading, hardware switch to silence the device, to name a few, just make it easy for users. Not everyone is a mobile geek!
The iPhone certainly has some drawbacks. The battery life is rubbish - I don’t even get a day with a bit of use but maybe that will improve in the next firmware release. The inability to remove and replace the battery is ridiculous, unless you’re Apple who makes money out of it! The camera resolution, even on the 3GS, is low, although the photos are surprisingly good for the resolution. No option to expand the memory via a memory card is a limitation for some users. But on balance I can work round these issues.
Everyone has their own personal preferences but for me the iPhone has changed the way I see my handset. Over to you Nokia – surprise me!
Friday, 3 July 2009
Friday, 26 June 2009
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
The case is reversible with what looks like neoprene on one side and a suede finish on the other. The neoprene is finished with a bubble effect (I guess Sam Hecht had a hand in this!). It's very well padded and offers good protection for your drive.
The LaCie website has a useful compatibility chart covering all their hard drive cases to ensure you select the right case for your drive. This includes other hard drive manufacturers which is a nice touch from LaCie and shows they're after all external hard drive users and not just people with a LaCie drive.
I have to confess that I'm actually keeping a Western Digital hard drive in it at the moment but of course I am now in the market for a LaCie drive!
Friday, 19 June 2009
Friday, 5 June 2009
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
Vodafone’s recent announcement about scrapping roaming charges over the Summer for users on the Passport tariff is a bold step in delivering simpler and fairer charging to customers when they’re roaming (in a country with a Vodafone partner network).
- see these numbers from Ben quoted in a review he wrote last year comparing costs with Three’s prices:
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Monday, 11 May 2009
Monday, 4 May 2009
On Thursday I'm taking part in a discussion panel looking at the future of billing. I'm especially interested in the opportunity to leverage more value from telco billing account relationships.
I'll be posting updates from the conference on Twitter. You can follow me here.
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Friday, 1 May 2009
Monday, 13 April 2009
IIR’s BSS Summit 2009 will mark the 16th anniversary of the flagship event in our Telecoms Billing, Customer Care and Revenue Management portfolio. Previously known as BIMS and Billing Systems, the event has earned its credentials as the essential meeting place for billing and IT professionals in the EMEA region.
The event delivers a comprehensive conference with an Operator-only speaker panel, interactive masterclass and discussion sessions, networking events and the leading exhibition of BSS suppliers. Attendees will benefit from a full update on how to effectively develop billing, IT, customer care and revenue management strategies and how it should evolve in the future.
The aim of the event is to discuss and define best practice and share experiences of achieving innovation in billing and BSS.
In addition to pre and post conference seminars and tutorials, the main conference will examine issues across the following topic streams:
· Driving Efficiency And Best Practice In Billing
· Strategy and Transformation In Billing And BSS
· Revenue Assurance and Collections Strategies
· BSS Strategies for Convergence
· CRM and Customer Experience
· New Business Models / Mobile Broadband
· Real Time Charging
· Business Process Management
· Business Intelligence
The event will be held 8-11 June, Hotel Okura, Amsterdam.
Monday, 6 April 2009
Today most of us have many contact methods and .tel is the ideal way to bring these together in one place. My .tel address means that my contact info is always up to date and available. No more second guessing the most appropriate contact data to give people. No more decisions about what to put on a business card. I've just had some Moo cards printed that just have my .tel address on them; lets people decide how to contact me. If I want to restrict contact methods at any point in time I can just hide them. Some of my contact data is hidden and only available to people who request it, although I've tried not to do this with too much data because it's less user friendly. Access via a mobile device is great because you just click on the number to call or SMS it. No need to re-key and you know it's a current number.
I believe we have only just started to scratch the surface here. As an example, .tel addresses use a common data structure, so in the future it will be possible to just enter someone's .tel address into your handset and call or email them without even knowing their number or email address! A .tel will become a universal contact method whether you're emailing, calling, instant messaging or using a social networking application.
Friday, 3 April 2009
Currently the issue of unexpected charges is something that is generally very poorly handled by the mobile operators - I have first hand experience of children running up substantial bills because there were no warnings or alerts about expenditure. Where are the hooks that pick up unusual spending patterns? It's no good expecting customers to dig around your website looking for unbilled usage data - you need to push the information out to customers so that they remain in control. When a customer starts using data when roaming, warn them by SMS of the consequences, when usage hits a 'dangerous level' temporarily suspend usage until they confirm it's okay. When a customer approaches their call or text bundle limit, warn them they will start incurring extra charges. Help customers to help themselves.
And don't do what one of the big UK mobile operators does, not make unbilled data available to customers until after the customer has received the first bill - by then it might be too late!
Monday, 30 March 2009
Many of our customers have asked us to help simplify their lives by providing the peace of mind that comes with the ability to make unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles and not have to worry about checking balances or fearing bill shock when they receive their statement.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Those friendly people over at WOM World have loaned me the new Nokia E75. When I first saw this handset announced I thought - 'that's the one for me' - and I haven't been disappointed so far. The E75 form factor is excellent and the build quality, in common with other E Series devices, is reassuringly solid. I love the 'clunk' the keypad makes when it slides in and out. One feature that caught my eye is the ability to set an application to open when the keypad slides out. I've set mine to launch the web browser which, with dabr.co.uk as my homepage, means to browse Twitter I just slide open the keypad.
In order to slide in and out seamlessley the qwerty keypad needs to be completely flat. So whilst the keys are a reasonable size, they are not as tactile as my E63 and I miss the feel of the raised keys that I've got used to.
Would I buy a E75? Very tempting as I think I could overcome my hesitation about the qwerty keypad!
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