- O2 outlines plans for its 4G launch and fastest growing UK 4G network
- Network to switch on in London, Leeds and Bradford with ten additional cities to follow by the end of the year
- Plans to reach 98% UK population indoor with 2G, 3G and 4G
- 4G on O2 will be available to all new and existing customers on a range of tariffs from £26 a month
- Multi award-winning act to headline at the O2 4G London Launch Gig
Concerns that the expansion of 4G services in the UK could cause interference for homes using Freeview may have been unfounded.
Tests conducted by at800, the firm set up to troubleshoot the issue, have so far found very few problems.
Tests of around 200,000 homes in the West Midlands and London have uncovered just 15 TV interference issues.
The firm denied that it rendered the money set aside to deal with the problem unnecessary.
“It is important for us to exist so that we can take an appropriate approach to mitigating the effects of 4G depending on where it is rolled out,” said communication director Ben Roome.
Funding for at800 comes from mobile firms to the tune of £180m.
“The mobile firms were obliged to fund us but any money not spent, they do get back,” said Mr Roome.
The firm is now running a trial in Brighton where Freeview is transmitted at frequencies much closer to those for the new 4G services. The area around the city is also far hillier than in previous tests, which could have an impact on interference.
“We have already seen a handful of issues there,” said Mr Roome.
Initially Ofcom had estimated that up to 900,000 homes could experience interference with Freeview, which operates close to the 800MHz frequency that will be used by 4G services.
Engineers can fit filters if there are interference issues.
4G services will begin rolling out in the summer. Existing 4G services offered by EE operate in different frequencies and do not disrupt TV signals.
Forget 4G, the UK is starting to consider 5G.
Thales, a French aerospace company which manufactures traditional radar systems, has received funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board to study the feasibility of using TV signals to locate aircraft through a technology called “passive radar.” According to the BBC, the system would monitor the timing of TV signals reflected from aircraft, which would enable equipment to display an exact location, while measuring the Doppler effect would provide speed and direction information.
Though it’s not based on GPS, the new system would reportedly be more accurate and efficient than what’s in use today, while also serving to free up spectrum that could be used for an upcoming 5G network.
The launch of the Z10 is a critical moment for BlackBerry. It’s good news, then, that early British and Canadian sales are reportedly far healthier than what has been seen in the past. In terms of sheer growth the UK reigns. First week sales in the nation were nearly three times those of any previous BlackBerry release. These are relative figures when BlackBerry had to spend much of 2012 without new flagship devices, and there’s no definitive numbers, but they’re encouraging for a company that’s had trouble getting traction as of late.
When Ofcom gave EE special license to reuse 1,800MHz spectrum for its fledgling LTE network; to put it mildly, that rubbed other carriers the wrong way.
The agency may be more open to a level playing field, as it’s proposing letting everyone follow a similar route, and then some.
Following calls from H3G (Three), Telefonica (O2) and Vodafone, Ofcom has offered to let all UK providers repurpose both their 1,800MHz airwaves as well as the 900MHz and 2,100MHz bands.
We won’t have too long to wait before a decision: Ofcom will decide on the proposal in the second quarter, which might come just in time for carriers to supplement whatever bandwidth they get from 4G auctions.
Especially when hardware already exists that could use the frequencies for faster speeds; success could see the trickle of UK LTE become more of a torrent.
I found the following article from The Washington Post very interesting.
After the U.K. endured a series of mass shootings, including one that targeted children, it passed some very tough gun control legislation in 1997. The effect, reported on today by The Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola, has been staggering. Here are eight of the big takeaways, possible learning opportunities as the U.S. considers its own gun law changes:
1) Bad guys have a hard time getting guns: Criminals have resorted to using “archaic flintlock pistols” and “retrofitted flare guns.” There’s been one mass shooting in 15 years. This despite the adage, “When guns are illegal, only criminals will possess them.”
2) Fewer illegal guns: Faiola reports that, according to ballistics studies, “Most gun crime in Britain can be traced back to less than 1,000 illegal weapons still in circulation.”
3) Fewer gun deaths: Someone in England or Wales is about 3 percent as likely to be killed by a gun as an American. There were 59 gun deaths there last year. The U.S. annual gun death rate has hovered around 10,000 for years.
4) Sweeping gun buy-backs: In 15 years, 200,000 guns and 700 tons of ammunition have been bought back. No tyrannical monarchies have yet emerged as a result, although the queen was recently spotted with some special forces.
5) Sport guns allowed, with tight restrictions: Faiola reports, “Legal guns — including some types of rifles and shotguns largely suitable for farms and sport — must be kept in locked boxes bolted to floors or walls and are subject to random police inspection.”
6) Police check up on your mental health: Legal guns are also subject to “vigorous inquires about the mental health and family life of owners.” Police “routinely contact the physicians of new applicants to inquire whether they are being treated for mental illnesses, including depression.”
7) Handguns and semiautomatics are largely banned: The sweeping 1997 gun law “virtually barred [U.K. citizens] from owning most types of handguns.” An earlier 1988 law had banned semiautomatic guns.
8) The law took a few years to reduce deaths: This is perhaps in part because it takes a while for the ban to ripple out to secondary markets and for police to clear out illegal guns. Faiola writes, “Statistics show that gun violence in Britain increased for the next several years” after the 1997 ban. Then, starting in 2005, “gun violence began to ebb.”
Source: [Washington Post]
The Royal Mint recently requested a change to UK Legislation – specifically an amendment to the 40-year-old 1971 Coinage Act, a clause which limited the weight to which UK coins could be made. This was in order to mint UK kilo coins, the first kilo coins of the realm. The Gold and Silver kilo coins have face values of £1000 and £500 respectively, but you’re unlikely to ever see them in circulation!
Source: [Royal Mint]
The UK is almost ready to flip the switch on its first LTE network, but it’s determined to be at the forefront of the next-generation, setting up a “5G Innovation Centre” at the University of Surrey. The government announced it’s putting up £11.6 million in funding, but another £24 million will be coming from an industry group comprising the likes of Huawei, Samsung, Telefonica, Rohde & Schwarz, Fujitsu and others. The money will allow research to go beyond concept and theory, with the aim that all partners work together to develop and standardise 5G technology, which the university has been looking into for a number of years already. They will focus on energy and spectrum efficiency as well as speed, and although it’s early days, 10Gbps has been banded around as a per-tower target, translating to roughly 200Mbps for each connection. Unfortunately, we’ve also got a number to kill your geek buzz – it’s upwards of a decade away.
I think the iPhone5 rumour mill just cranked up a gear with today’s announced plans for a new mobile payments and marketing joint venture by Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 Telefonica in the UK.
As some are aware, one of the big expected hardware changes with the iPhone5 is the inclusion of NFC (Near Field Communication) which, on a basic level, allows people to pay for things by simply swiping their phone which has had their debit/credit card details entered onto it previously.
With the announcement that the top three UK networks (O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere) are going to be working together to make NFC available in the UK; only one thing stands to reason. There will be a phone launching in the early new year (the deadline set out for the joint venture) which supports NFC. The one phone that is bound to launch on all three networks? iPhone5.
Tenuous, but feasible?
More at the O2 Blog
I normally blog about technology, art, pop culture, and the little things in life that annoy me. Today though, I share something MUCH bigger and infinitely more frightening. The following is a long piece of text but I ask you sit it out and give it a lot of thought.
Currently doing the rounds on the web is the ‘story’ of a super-large organisation wanting to ‘give’ the government of the United Kingdom £5 billion to pull us out of the economic gloom that we have found ourselves in over the last 18 months. Speculation about whom this organisation actually are is rife but fingers are starting to be pointed at The Vatican… At the moment however, they are currently known as ‘Foundation X’.
This story first came to light after Lord James of Blackheath made a 15 minute statement in the house of lords, late on the 1st November, about the state of the economy – particularly in the retail sector. He talked of how our high streets could be devastated again as early as February 2011 when the banks start pulling in all the credit they have given for the Christmas months. He especially mentions a re-enactment of the Woolworths saga of 2009. Lord James believes that the only way to avoid such a ‘calamity’ re-occurring is for the government to invest £5 Billion into ‘a government subsidiary’ similar to how British Home Stores was first created. The British government unfortunately does not have half of that amount free to make such an investment. It is at this point where Lord James lets the cat out of the bag…
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