Welcome to our News & Views archive section where we will keep you up to date with whatï¿½s going on
in the world of telecommunications.
News & Views - Archive!
If youï¿½d like to republish any comments or quotes from News & Views,
youï¿½re welcome to. We would however ask that you show the source reference of Phonechoice and include our URL
17 May 07 - Advertising on your mobile
Sydney Morning Herald, 17/05/07
ADVERTISERS have been given the green light to push ads to consumers on their mobile phones after the first major study into the nascent medium indicated strong consumer acceptance of advertising messages. The five-month study found simple messages with a strong "call to action" worked the best, with 5 per cent of mobile phone users who viewed banner ads asking them to enter a competition or offered other incentives clicking through to the next stage.
The authors of the study, carried out by Sensis's digital advertising arm, MediaSmart, said the click-through rate was "very respectable" and higher than on the internet. It comes as Hutchison, the owner of the 3 network, and Vodafone prepare to launch platforms to make it easier for advertisers to buy ads across their phone networks. However the services, to be launched within six weeks, will stop short of creating a one-stop shop for advertisers to book an ad that will simultaneously appear on all four Australian third-generation mobile phone networks.
The study, involving "hundreds of thousands" of Telstra 3G mobile phone users and advertisers such as Ford, Coca-Cola and Smirnoff, found ads that offered free content or other incentives were the most popular. Overseas studies showed a high degree of acceptance among consumers of phone services, such as free talk and free SMS partly funded by advertisers. It was suuggested we need to be thinking about ad-funded mobile phones.
16 May 07 - Optus V Telstra on mobile
Australian IT, 16/05/07
TELSTRA has received the second setback in two days in its growing range of court battles, when a Federal Court judge said that Optus provided better value on a mobile phone service. Justice Gray threw out a bid by Telstra for an injunction against Optus advertisements that compared its $49 a month capped mobile plan to Telstra's $40 a month contract plan. "It is undeniable that a consumer would get better value under the Optus $49 Cap plan," Justice Gray said. "Telstra cannot show to the contrary. Optus is perfectly entitled to compare its $49 Cap plan with Telstra's $40 phone plan." top
16 May 07 - Mobiles jammed when APEC arrives
Sydney Morning Herald, 16/05/07
Mobile phone calls in Sydney's CBD will be blocked by a sophisticated counter-terrorism measure to prevent bomb attacks during US President George Bush's September APEC visit. The President's motorcade will be shadowed by a helicopter equipped with signal-jamming equipment, newspapers report today.
Terrorists have used mobile phones to detonate remote-controlled bombs in Iraq and in the second Bali bomb attacks. It is expected mobile phone calls will drop out in an area the size of a football field as the helicopter passes overhead. The technology was first used by the US President when Mr Bush attended the APEC summit in Pusan, South Korea, in 2005.top
15 May 07 - Mobile Caps trouble some
Aggressive marketing by mobile carriers may hide the true costs.
It was "with much chagrin" that Duncan Loasby, 33, a nurse, recently bought a mobile phone. He went for nearly three years without one because he had regularly doubled the spending outlined in his capped contract."Now I buy prepaid credit so when my balance runs out, I just put my phone away," he says. "I'm pretty wary of the way plans are advertised."
Mobile phone carriers are attracting the attention of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman for implying in their marketing that the caps in their contracts are spending limits. They are, in fact, minimums. Loasby is not the only person to have been caught out. The ombudsman received 15,210 complaints about mobile phone bills last year. Enough of those directly related to so-called "capped" plans for the ombudsman to issue a position statement.
Industry consultant Paul Budde estimates carriers earn up to $2 billion a year from "wasted calls", unused calls people could have made on a cap or costs over and above the cap. He says carriers market capped plans aggressively because they get a guaranteed income for 24 months: "It costs about $250 for them to recruit each new customer. If they can lock you in, you're not going to walk away at the end of the month." Budde warns against being seduced by features such as email or the ability to download music. "The reality is 95 per cent of what anyone does with a phone is make calls or send SMSs." Finding a suitable contract can be hard, Budde says. "There are more than 500 plans on the market and they are so complex you need a statistics degree to understand them."
14 May 07 - Telco's eat into policing budget
Herald Sun, 02/05/07
AUSTRALIA'S major telcos will rip $800,000 from Victorian taxpayers this year by charging police for vital phone record checks. Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon wants Telstra, Optus and Vodafone to give police free access to call-charge records.
A parliamentary committee yesterday heard police were made to pay major carriers to retrieve call records essential to their investigations. The committee heard the telcos co-operated with police and did not profit from it. But the fees will gouge almost $800,000 from the police budget this financial year.
14 May 07 - Scams invading Queensland
Queenslanders are pouring tens of millions of dollars into overseas scams because of their misguided belief in "a fair go" rather than stupidity, a senior fraud investigator says. Queensland Police's fraud and corporate crime officer-in-charge Acting Superintendent Brian Hay today said hundreds of thousands of dollars of unrecoverable money was leaving Queensland for overseas shores each month in a multitude of scams.
In a recent operation into Nigerian-based scams alone, $400,000 was tracked leaving the state in just one month, Supt Hay said.
When the 25 victims involved were contacted by police, it was discovered they had paid more than $7.2 million over several years in the hope of receiving lucrative payouts.
The scams' popularity was what was driving them, but victims were not "stupid" people and Australia's culture was contributing to the problem, he said. "It's not a stupid person at all," Supt Hay told ABC radio. But he said it was a global problem and scammers were not targeting Australians specifically.
He said 42 scams were currently operating in the state, ranging from get-rich-quick schemes, phoney lotteries, pyramid schemes, investment scams, work-at-home schemes and internet "phishing".
11 May 07 - Motorola movie phone announced
Sydney Morning Herald, 10/05/07
Motorola is set to unveil a mobile phone with full-motion video display and the means to play feature films on small removable storage cards. It would show 30 frames-a-second, full-motion video.
Motorola has partnered with another company that can fit feature-length movies on so-called Secure Digital (SD) cards capable of storing several gigabytes, or billions of bytes, of data. If widely adopted, such cards could provide a new form of mass distribution for movies, just as video cassettes or DVDs have done previously.
11 May 07 - Half a million join Do Not Call
Australian IT, 10/05/07
AUSTRALIANS have delivered a stunning rebuke to telemarketers after more than half a million people signed up to the national Do Not Call Register in just seven days. While the $33 million register does not come into effect until May 31, Australians have submitted a deluge of pre-registrations in order to block telemarketers from calling them at home from next month.
More than 530,000 people have pre-registered for the list and as many as 400 people a minute were signing up during peak times, federal minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Helen Coonan said in a prepared statement. "Australian consumers have voted with their feet and given the Do Not Call Register the thumbs-up," Senator Coonan said.
Under new rules that will be policed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, it will be illegal for telemarketers to make unsolicited calls to residents listed on the Do Not Call register, although there are some exemptions. Researchers, political parties, religious organisations and charities will still be able to make unsolicited calls to people on the register, but the times during which they can call are restricted to between 9am and 8pm on weekdays and 9am and 5pm on Saturdays. top
10 May 07 - Tax time and broadband simplicity
Australian IT, 09/05/07
LODGING an income tax return will become a much simpler, speedier exercise for up to 9 million wage earners who lodge their returns electronically, under a new system of pre-approved statements that will be accessible online. The system announced Tuesday is the latest in a series of measures over the past few years to make self-assessment and self-filing of tax returns the norm, so that the tax office can devote more attention to compliance.
New pre-prepared electronic individual tax returns to be introduced for the next financial year will automatically include information such as salaries, interest income, dividends, welfare payments, private health insurance, out-of-pocket Medicare expenses and higher education loan details. Under the streamlined system, the tax office will progressively pre-fill information as it is received. According to the tax office, almost a million taxpayers will need to do no more than lodge their prefilled returns electronically, while many millions more will need to complete just a few additional pieces of information for their electronic tax template.
The system provides that the tax office will automatically include salaries, wages and allowances where an employer has automatically lodged an employee's payment summary with the tax office. Also automatically included will be interest, dividends and distributions from managed funds; payments from Centrelink, federal departments such as education and veterans' affairs; private health insurance details and out-of-pocket medical expenses; and details from the HECS and HELP tertiary loans schemes. Once taxpayers are satisfied that the information supplied is correct and no changes or additional information is needed, their returns can be officially lodged.top
10 May 07 - Optus announces huge profit
Sydney Morning Herald, 09/05/07
Internet and phone provider Optus has reported a 36 per cent lift in annual net profit in its latest results, as it continues to invest for future growth. For the year ended 31 March 2007, net profit was $804 million.
Parent company SingTel said Optus delivered strong results in a challenging market and successfully defended its scale position in mobile. Optus chief executive Paul O'Sullivan said the results showed the company was maintaining market share and
margin while managing its cost base and investing for growth.
09 May 07 - The Do Not Call register
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today launched the Do Not Call Register, enabling Australians to greatly reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls. “From today, Australians can register their personal home and mobile numbers, making it illegal for telemarketers to call these numbers after 31 May,” Senator Coonan said. “Even if the call is being made from a foreign country, if the call is made on behalf of an Australian company, it will be illegal.
“While a very limited amount of calls will be allowed, including those from charities and market research companies, evidence shows the Register will greatly reduce the number of unsolicited calls. Choice wants to stop exemption for politicians: Take action! Send an email to the Minister for Communications Helen Coonan and to Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd to urge them to scrap the exemptions on political parties and charities. top
08 May 07 - Smart phone that obeys commands
Hewlett-Packard is marketing its first smart-phone, which will hit the streets at the end of the month, as a personal "voice valet." The HP iPAQ 510 Voice Messenger recognizes more than 20 verbal commands that prompt the phone to make calls, send e-mails and look up calendar appointments. Its dictation feature allows the speaker to fire off an e-mail without typing anything.
The phone also can access the Internet with built-in WiFi (wireless LAN) and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) capabilities, instead of eating up the mobile phone's airtime minutes. A fully charged battery allows for more than six hours of continuous talk time. The phone is listed on hp.com for $319.99.
08 May 07 - Broadband speed up plans
Australian IT, 03/05/07
IF elected to government, federal Opposition leader Kevin Rudd has promised broadband pipes wide enough to carry 12Mbps of internet bandwidth, but a group of the country's main information technology lobby groups says we will need a massive 30Gbps by 2017. That's a 20,000-fold increase on the 1.5Mbps most common in broadband-equipped households today.
According to Australian Computer Society president Philip Argy, that's the sort of bandwidth will be needed to carry media services that are still deep in the development labs, such as holographic movies.
Mr Argy agrees that a goal of 1Gbps bandwidth for Australian businesses and homes is a more practical goal for 2017, his organisation and about 20 others that form the National ICT Industry Alliance have agreed on a number of 10-year stretch goals that would give Australia the infrastructure smarts to be a global leader rather than a follower in 2017.top
04 May 07 - New Chief for AAPT
Australian IT, 04/05/07
Paul Broad has been handed the task of lifting Telecom New Zealand's struggling Australian operations after it completes its $357 million acquisition of his company next week. Mr Broad, who has signed a three-year contract as chief executive of AAPT, is expected to savagely cut costs at TNZ's chronically underperforming fixed-line Australian operator. He will unveil his executive team next week.
In an interview with The Australian, Mr Broad said he would bring AAPT's network operations back in house from current supplier Alcatel in an effort to bring traffic onto its own networks and lift margins. TNZ released its third-quarter results yesterday and reported a nine-month group net profit of $NZ690 million ($618.5 million).
Mr Broad declined to outline the scale of expected job losses but said the company would increase its focus on moving customers to broadband services. AAPT is in the final stages of finishing its Hyperbaric Project, an overhaul of IT and back-office systems believed to have cost about $80 million. Mr Broad described the lack of a mobile offering at AAPT as a "big hole" and said discussions were proceeding with Vodafone and Hutchison's "3". top
04 May 07 - Mobile phones with GPS
Sydney Morning Herald, 03/05/07
After hitting alarm clock makers and camera manufacturers, the mobile phone industry has a new target - personal navigation device makers. Handset makers see navigation as one of the next major value-adding offerings and even at this very early stage, analysts say the annual market for phone navigation is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The world's top handset maker Nokia started to sell its first navigation phone N95 two weeks ago, and other top vendors are expected to follow shortly, hoping to make 2007 the breakthrough year for mobile phone navigation. The N95, with a $1379 price tag, is not in reach of the masses despite first reports showing strong sales, but Nokia aims to bring GPS positioning chips to a wide array of its products.
The GPS technology enables handset makers to bypass mobile phone network operators and at least some of the navigation phones can be used for routing when not connected to operators' networks. Google and Yahoo are seen as keen to add mobile navigation services to their mapping offerings, while car navigation firms are adding mobile services to their products. top