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!
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05 Sep 06 - Protection from threatening calls
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has registered an industry code that clarifies how life threatening and unwelcome calls are handled by carriage service providers.top
‘ACMA welcomes the code, which gives carriage service providers greater power to take action when life threatening or unwelcome calls are made, including SMS and email communications,’ said Lyn Maddock, Acting ACMA Chairman.
‘If a consumer receives a series of nuisance calls or a life threatening call, there is a clear sequence of steps to be taken by the carriage service provider to assist in the resolution of the issue.’
The code now allows carriage service providers to suspend the telecommunications services of consumers who persist in making unwelcome calls, text messages or emails. If warnings by carriage service providers to the offending party were ignored, switching off services after a final warning was issued was a significant improvement.
01 Sep 06 - Mobiles have big mouths!
The Sydney Morning Herald, 31/08/06
Second hand mobile phones purchased over the internet can surrendered credit card numbers, banking passwords, business secrets and even evidence of adultery.
One married man's girlfriend sent a text message to his mobile: His wife was getting suspicious. Perhaps they should cool it for a few days.
Later, the married man bought a new phone. He sold his old one on eBay for $US290.
The guys who bought it now know his secret.
The married man had followed the directions in his phone's manual to erase all his information, including lurid exchanges with his lover. But it wasn't enough.
Selling your old phone once you upgrade to a fancier model can be like handing over your diaries. All sorts of sensitive information pile up inside our mobile phones, and deleting it may be more difficult than you think.
A popular practice among sellers, resetting the phone, often means sensitive information appears to have been erased. But it can be resurrected using specialised yet inexpensive software found on the internet.
A company, Trust Digital of McLean, Virginia, bought 10 phones on eBay recently to test phone-security tools it sells for businesses. The phones all were fairly sophisticated models capable of working with corporate email systems.
Curious software experts at Trust Digital resurrected information on nearly all the used phones, including the racy exchanges between guarded lovers.
The recovered information was equal to 27,000 pages a stack of printouts over two metres high. top
01 Sep 06 - Aussie first in mobile wagering
The Daily Telegraph, 31/08/06
ONLINE betting and gaming firm Centrebet International Ltd expects to launch gaming and wagering products that can be accessed via mobile phones this financial year.
The cross-selling strategy targets customers betting on sports, with casino and poker games that can be played in the downtime between sporting events.
Centrebet intended to launch mobile phone gaming and wagering products by early 2007.
Mobile-phone betting was expected to be the fastest growing sector of the online wagering and gaming market, particularly in Europe.
Centrebet's wagering mobile product would be aimed at both the Australian and European markets, and the gaming mobile product - to be launched around Christmas - would be offered only to non-Australian customers. top
30 Aug 06 - Developers install networks
The Sydney Morning Herald, 29/08/06
With Telstra's next-generation broadband network mired in doubt, new housing developments are cashing in on the promise of unlimited bandwidth with fibre-optic networks of their own.
The future residents of Fern Bay, a new land release just outside of Newcastle, are to become the latest beneficiaries of ultra high-speed broadband facilities following the installation of a fibre optic network that will feed directly into any new homes built there.
Fibre optic technology is considered the vital next step for Australia's broadband future, however Telstra has not yet committed to building the necessary infrastructure.
In the absence of fibre, Australia's future broadband needs rest on ADSL2+ which is commonly promoted as a 24Mbit download service, however most users will realistically only have access to speeds of 8Mbit dependent on how close they are to the telephone exchange.
Compared with the average 1.5Mbit speed of today's ADSL broadband, this is likely to prove more than adequate for bandwidth-hungry services such as video conferencing and voice-over-IP telephone services.
However it was unlikely to measure up to the heavy load of digital entertainment services set to be unleashed onto high-definition TV screens in the near future.
So as operators hoping to sell high-speed services to existing businesses and homes await Telstra's next move with baited breath, urban developers are snatching the opportunity to build fibre networks from scratch into new developments.
The Victorian government has been involved in once such trial in Whittlesea, in Melbourne's north. VicUrban, the developer of the site, hopes it will provide a successful business case to make fibre-to-the-home services available across a larger number of new residential developments.
This means residents would have access to a range of service providers such as Civic Video, Blockbuster, or Foxtel - unlike other developments where residents have been locked into a single internet, phone or pay television service.
Technological infrastructure has already become a new utility - just like water, gas or electricity.
The first Fern Bay resident is expected to complete construction of their home and move in by Christmas this year. top
30 Aug 06 - Find the right mobile, save a billion
Research by PhoneChoice has yielded some amazing results for consumers looking for the best deal when buying a mobile phone.
The study was based on over 1,500 offers for mobile phone plans from approximately 150 service providers including AAPT, Vodafone, Optus, Hutchison and Telstra.
www.phonechoice.com.au offers a free service which allows consumers to nominate what they require in a phone plan, and at the touch of a button, the Bill Calculator on the website nominates the best plan to suite each individual’s needs.
The study showed that the average minimum monthly commitment of household mobile plans in Australia is $57.64.
“However, consumers can do better” says PhoneChoice spokesperson Reg Robertson, “our findings show that, applying for the same kind of services, one-third of the plans on the market can be bought for a monthly commitment of less than $30.00”.
If just one-third of Australia’s 7,400,000 households switched to the lower-priced plans, this would mean a saving to consumers of more than $60 million per month or, $720 million each year in contractual fees.
The study also found that 27% of household plans, based on the same kind of services, have a minimum monthly commitment of $70.00 or more, which is well above the average $57.64.
Consumers on these plans could end up paying nearly $300 million a year extra. “These saving add up to over $1 billion a year”, says Robertson, “it goes to show the consumer that they need to look at what is being offered by the service providers and only buy the plan that suits their needs”. top
29 Aug 06 - Chuck your phone, win a prize!
The Sydney Morning Herald, 29/08/06
Anyone wanting to throw away their mobile phone can do it in style and may even win a medal - at the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship, Finland's latest contribution to offbeat athleticism.
Originally a local event in this small town close to the Russian border, the seventh annual contest on Saturday drew some 100 throwers from as far afield as Canada, Russia and Belgium.
Founder Christine Lund describes the event as a good source of light exercise with an environmentally friendly twist.
The inventive Finns had already given the world the Sauna World Championships and the Wife Carrying Competition before coming up with a new way to make mobile phones even more mobile.
This year's gold medal went to Finland's Lassi Etelatalo, who flung a scrapped Nokia unit a forceful 89.00 metres.
In the freestyle event, Dutchman Elie Rugthoven's phone landed outside the designated area, but he still won silver thanks to a phone juggling performance that impressed the judges. top
28 Aug 06 - Mobiles win in the office
The Sun Herald, 27/08/06
A new survey has revealed that 74 per cent of business staff prefer to use their mobile telephone for work calls, dispite having easy access to a landline phone.
The Vodafone survey prepared by Woolcott research found 96 per cent of those surveyed had access to an office land line but still used their mobile phone to make calls.
Thirty five per sent said they spent at least half of their in-office phone time on their mobile.
Almost half of small business workers surveyed checked their mobile voice mail hourly.
About two thirds of small businesses provided employees with a mobile. top
25 Aug 06 - Airlines look at mobiles
The Australian IT, 24/08/06
OVERHEAD "no smoking" signs will be replaced by "no mobiles" signs on some planes next year when technology is introduced to make it safe for passengers to use mobile phones mid-flight.
Airlines are seeking ways to police potentially annoying on-board phone chat using easily recognised symbols, forcing passengers to switch off during take-off and designated "night" periods.
The company developing the satellite technology for Airbus said cabin crew would be able to remotely switch off phones or disable their voice function, allowing travellers to just use text messaging and email during quiet times.
Airbus said it was pushing ahead with plans for trials of mobile phones, BlackBerries and other devices on planes next year, despite heightened security following a suspected bomb plot in Britain and setbacks for on-board communications in the United States.
OnAir is a joint venture with Airbus and information technology systems provider Sita.
Air France KLM is expected to lead the way when it takes delivery of planes trialling the service in 2007, while low-cost carrier Ryanair is also close to ringing up extra revenue from mobiles.
Other carriers said they might limit the service to text messages or ban it altogether, amid fears it will put passengers off travelling unless it could be policed properly.
British Airways said it was interested in the technology but was surveying its passengers to see what level of mobile phone use would be acceptable or "downright annoying".
25 Aug 06 - New restrictions on 3G content
The Sydney Morning Herald, 24/08/06
The Federal Government has vowed to tackle the issue of pornography on internet-enabled devices such as 3G mobile phones by introducing the same restrictions that apply to internet and television content and punishing breaches with criminal penalties.
The Government's new laws will target internet-connected devices and subscription-based internet portals. Content rated X18+ and above will be prohibited and age-restrictions will be placed on other adult content, with criminal penalties being handed out for serious offences.
There have been a number of new initiatives introduced by the Government to protect children from adult content including a recent initiative to provide every Australian family with a free internet filter or filtered service for home computers.
It is also planning a new information campaign to educate parents on keeping children safe online when they use computers or 3G mobile phones. top
23 Aug 06 - Blog, chat, mobile!
The Sydney Morning Herald, 21/08/06
The social networking movement looks set to explode onto the mobile platform with a new generation of location, blog and chat-based services promising to untether the connected generation from their computers.
Big names like Google and MySpace are all vying for a stake in the emerging space as mobile carriers scurry to package up live chat and picture sharing services into subscription packages for customers.
But while initiatives in the US, Japan and Switzerland are flying thick and fast, Australia's slow entry into the third-generation mobile market, and the prohibitive cost of mobile data downloads has meant that comparable services here remain thin on the ground.
Although the mobile phone offers an extremely appropriate platform for social networks current pricing structures were holding back the market.
Added to this is the relatively small penetration of mobiles with internet browser capabilities, meaning many social-based mobile services in Australia are limited to text services which run as an adjunct to existing internet services such as online dating.
But despite the limited marketplace, a new generation of services that combine chat and picture messaging is forming a fledgling mobile social movement here.
Hutchison's 3 service was first to enter the 3G market in Australia and it also hopes to lead the social networking charge here with its subscription-based social networking service, Kink Kommunity.
Created by Perth-based company, Loop Wireless, the community allows subscribers to post up their photos, interact with other members, and comment on other postings within a fully moderated environment for a fixed monthly rate. top
23 Aug 06 - Record number of phone users
The Financial Express, 22/08/06
Beijing: China, which claims to be the world’s top telecom market, had 798 million telephone users at the end of July, with mobile phone subscribers topping 431 million, latest official statistics said.
Given the growing number of rural mobile phone users and people who own several mobile phone numbers, the number of mobile phone users in China has risen by an average of 5.5 million each month since the end of 2005, the ministry of information industry said on Monday.
A total of 238.5 billion text messages were sent by mobile phone in the January-July period, 44.9% up over the same period last year. The number of land lines grew 2.31 million a month to reach 366 million at the end of July.
China has become the world’s largest mobile market. There are 28 landline phones and 32.7 mobile phones for every 100 people. top
22 Aug 06 - United States of VoIP
VoIP News, 17/08/06
USA: A new report by Point Topic showed the number of subscribers to retail VoIP services rose from 10.3 million at the beginning of 2005 to over 18.7 million subscribers worldwide by the end of the year. Combined with people paying for PC-to-phone calls, the overall VoIP paying subscriber totals about 24 million.
Point Topic said one factor for success in the United States key to success in the United States has been avoiding the word “VoIP,” opting for terms like “digital telephone.” top
22 Aug 06 - Ballistic broadband
The Australian IT, 22/08/06
OPTUS has announced plans to upgrade its triple-play HFC cable to give faster
speeds to customers - potentially as high as 160Mbps. But it is still mulling
over which technology standard to use, because a high-speed upgrade would
require consumers to switch to new equipment.top
The company must decide whether
to upgrade to a standard that would enable speeds of 10Mbps, 30Mbps or a new
standard called DOCSIS 3, which promises downstream data rates of 160Mbps or
higher and upstream data rates of 120Mbps.
These speeds are up to seven
times faster than the very best imagined by Telstra's postponed fibre-to-the
However, a slower standard would cost much less, and most users
would need only a firmware upgrade for modems.
Optus is caught in an
exquisite dilemma with cable because, by offering a bundle of broadband, pay-TV
and telephone, it can remove Telstra and copper wires from its customers
New cable connections can be very expensive, whereas switching
customers to an ADSL service using Telstra's already installed copper wires
simply requires a self-install modem and the flick of switch.
21 Aug 06 - Beware the mobile vigilante!
UK: More than 20 motorists in Hampshire have fallen victim to a mystery vigilante who appears to target drivers spotted using mobile phones.
All the car owners have found their tyres have been slashed and in many cases, a note on their windscreens.
The sinister message, made from newspaper cuttings, says the driver was seen using a phone.
Hampshire Police are investigating the incidents in Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent and Stubbington.
One victim was Rebecca Rendle, who was left with a £170 bill, when all four of her tyres were punctured outside her Gosport home.
Police said they are investigating this incident and 20 similar cases that occurred in the area over the past several months. top
21 Aug 06 - Payphones: The next generation
The Sydney Morning Herald, 18/08/06
A new generation of internet pay phones are ready to hit the streets in Australia, wrapping broadband access and IP telephony into a single device.
The WebPhone, launched this week by Perth-based company, Pie Networks, works in a similar way to existing card and coin-operated payphones, but it runs over a wireless or broadband internet connection, and can also double as a WiFi hotspot.
Customers using the WebPhone device will be able to check web-based email applications, perform online transactions, download music from online retailers, and transfer and email their photographs from digital cameras.
They can also make telephone calls via the internet using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology in much the same way they would make a call using traditional landline telephone.
While it has not yet been deployed locally, Pie believes the WebPhone represents a viable alternative to the existing network of pay phones in Australia.
The company is in talks with Telstra and some international carriers about the device, and also plans to sell directly to any retail outlet looking to implement the phone either on a one-off basis or across a chain.
Pay phone usage has experienced a steady decline over the past 10 years in Australia as more people adopt mobile technology, and Telstra recently estimated that about 55 per cent of its pay phones lose money.
Although internet connectivity and text messaging capabilities have been introduced into some phones in a bid to revitalise the market, this is the first time VoIP has been introduced into the equation.top