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05/31/2005 Spain to Text Message Summer Heatwave Warnings

The southern Spanish region of Andalucia is to send mobile phone text messages to residents sensitive to high temperatures warning them of any extremely hot spell, regional health officials said.

The scheme particularly targets the elderly and the infirm living alone, as well as to parents of children aged under four, health authorities said, although others can also ask for the service.


05/30/2005 Cell phones on planes worry US law enforcement

Allowing airline passengers to use personal cell phones during flights could help potential hijackers coordinate an attack or trigger a bomb smuggled on board, U.S. security officials have told regulators.


05/30/2005 Cell Phone Ring Becomes Hit U.K. Single

A cell phone ring tone appeared set to top the British singles chart Sunday, outselling the new single by the band Coldplay by nearly four to one, a music retailer said.

"Crazy Frog Axel F," a ring tone based on the sound of a revving Swedish mo-ped, is the first tune being used on mobile phones to cross into mainstream music charts, said Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for HMV, the British music retailing chain.

Coldplay had hoped to go straight to No. 1 on this Sunday's British singles chart with its new song, "Speed of Sound." But by Saturday, it appeared that the ring tone - which is available for digital download and as a compact disc single - would prevail, said Castaldo.


05/26/2005 Verizon Bundles Wireless With In-Flight Calling

Verizon Wireless Wednesday announced a bundle that will allow its subscribers to inexpensively use the in-flight Airfone Service.
The company said that subscribers can pay a $10 monthly fee and then pay 10 cents a minute for making calls while in flight.. Wireless subscribers who don't pay the monthly fee can make calls for 69 cents a minute. The standard price for Airfone service is a $3.99 set-up fee and $3.99 a minute.


05/25/2005 Enticing Children To Download Could Involve Penalties

Watch MTV, Nickelodeon and other youth-focused TV channels, and you'll see commercials hawk screen savers of dancing frogs or the latest hip-hop hit ring tone -- all ready to download on cell phones.

Sources estimate that 25 million Americans under age 18 have cell phones. That's a big market for content providers.

A lawsuit filed last month might spark some changes. In one of the first legal actions of its type, the suit names as defendants content provider VeriSign and three wireless carriers. The suit, in essence, says the companies used shady means to entice kids to unwittingly download a bunch of content on their cell phone and thereby run up big bills for their parents.


05/24/2005 Concertgoers Can Display Text Messages at Gigs

Anyone who's been to a pop concert lately has noticed that fans hold their mobile phones up in the air like a previous generation did with cigarette lighters. Beginning with the summer Clay Aiken tour, audiences can do a lot more with their phone than just wave it.

Boomerang Mobile Media founder and CEO Glenn Field said that large screens in each venue on the tour will offer audiences a way to display text messages for all to see. There also will be a call-in number for purchasing a variety of official merchandise.


05/24/2005 Vendor Tries To Bring E-Commerce To Cell Phones

It's been a few years since the heady days when the wireless Internet first brought a boom in "m-commerce" businesses that launched with great fanfare, but attracted few paying customers. Still, the idea has lived on, and a few mobile commerce companies have managed to hang on, awaiting advances in the speed, capacity and capabilities of the wireless networks and phones.

Founded back in 2000, New York-based Scanbuy is now leveraging the ubiquity of camera phones with its ScanZoom application, which lets users scan bar codes on items they see in stores, so they can comparison shop for the best prices and read product reviews. Fortune magazine recently included Scanbuy in its list of 25 Breakout Companies, and Scanbuy just signed a deal with Telefonica, the fourth largest mobile operator in the world.


05/24/2005 Jury Enforces Patent On Prepaid Wireless Plans

A jury ruled Friday that five companies violated a sixth company's patent on systems to provide pre-paid wireless services and ordered the violating companies to pay $128 million in damages.

The decision came after a 12-week trial in U.S. federal court, according to an Associated Press report. The jury ruled in favor of Freedom Wireless, which it claimed patented technology in 1994 that enables carriers to offer pre-paid plans.

Such plans are more popular in other parts of the world but are starting to gain momentum in the U.S. The jury found that Boston Communications Group, which provides pre-paid services, was liable for all the damages, the Associated Press reported. In addition, Cingular Wireless, AT&T Wireless, CMT Partners and Western Wireless also must pay smaller amounts, the jury rules.


05/23/2005 T-Mobile's Good, Bad On Its Map

T-Mobile USA is letting its customers -- as well as rivals -- know just how good its mobile phone coverage really is.

While all wireless carriers give consumers online and printed coverage maps that illustrate service areas, T-Mobile takes this a step further.

It provides street-level, color-coded maps that show where its signal strength is strongest, just so-so or not good.


05/23/2005 Creator of Prepaid Wireless Tech Wins Suit

A jury on Friday ordered a prepaid cellular phone service company and four wireless carriers to pay $128 million in damages to a firm that patented technology and systems to provide prepaid service.

After a 12-week trial and four days of deliberations, a U.S. District Court jury ruled in favor of Phoenix-based Freedom Wireless Inc., which began patenting technology in 1994 developed by inventors Douglas Fougnies and Dan Harned.

Boston Communications Group Inc. was found liable in all the damages total because the jury found it used the patented technologies in providing prepaid services that carriers offered their customers.


05/23/2005 FCC Orders 911 Service for VoIP

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission ( CC) issued an order Thursday requiring Internet phone service companies to provide enhanced 911 (E911) emergency calling capabilities to their customers and delivered a 120-day deadline for compliance.

VoIP providers must, by default, deliver all 911 calls to the customer's local emergency operator. Interconnected VoIP providers also must provide emergency operators with the call back number and location information of their customers where the emergency operator is capable of receiving it.


05/20/2005 Mobile Phones Can Now Receive Amber Alerts

The Amber Alert system used by police to let the public know when a child is missing is being expanded to mobile phones.

The wireless industry announced Tuesday that subscribers can receive text messages on their phones when an alert is issued. The service is available in every state and is free to subscribers of most major cellular carriers.


05/17/2005 Ericsson, Verizon Wireless Tops In Customer Respect: Report

Ericsson was rated the top networking manufacturer by customers for customer respect, while Verizon Wireless was rated the top telecommunications company, according to a report released today by the Customer Respect Group, a research and consulting firm.
The report measures customers' online experiences when interacting with companies via the Internet. It found that overall, networking and telecommunications companies are rated higher by consumers than at any time previously.


05/16/2005 New GPS To Be Built Into Cell Phones, PDAs, Study Says

A new class of global positioning system (GPS) hardware and software will soon be built into cell phones and PDAs, lowering the cost of services such as driving instructions, according to a study released Friday by market research firm TRG.

The research firm, which focuses on in-car telematics, noted that, currently, most in-car GPS systems are in luxury vehicles because of costs. However, it pointed to a new class of GPS systems called portable navigation devices (PNDs), that it says will be far more affordable. These systems will be built into cell phones and other mobile devices like PDAs, the study said.

"These portable solutions offer almost the same functionality as in-vehicle navigation systems, but at a fraction of the price," Phil Magney, TRG's principal telematics analyst, said in a statement.


05/16/2005 Nextel Launches National Hotspot Service

U.S. wireless operator Nextel Friday rolled out a service giving subscribers unlimited access to more than 7000 hotspots in North America.

The company isn't developing the hotspots on its own but, rather, is unleashing its WiFi HotSpot service in partnership with Boingo Wireless, the company said in a statement. Boingo has an extensive network of hotspots worldwide, but Nextel users will only have access to the vendor's North American hotspots, a spokesperson said.


05/13/2005 Cell Phone Service Claims to Interpret your Dog's Bark

Does it get any stranger than this? What an odd use for text messaging:

"South Koreans hoping to communicate with man's best friend could be getting help soon from their cell phones. KTF Corp., a South Korean mobile phone operator, said Thursday it will begin offering a service that will enable dog owners to know whether their pets are feeling happy or sad."

"The users must first connect to Internet with their cell phones, and then register information of their dogs such as the breed and age. The service will then record the dog's bark."

"The owner will receive text messages telling them how their pet is feeling, such as "I am happy" or "I am frustrated."


05/12/2005 Chicago Bans Hand-Held Phones for Drivers

Chicago officials voted Wednesday to ban drivers from using hand-held cell phones starting this summer and set fines of $50 and up for violators.

The City Council approved the ordinance without debating it, angering some aldermen who worried about suburban residents and visitors being targeted as they cross the city line from jurisdictions that don't have bans.


05/12/2005 Sprint Subscribers Can Roam To New Countries

Sprint announced Wednesday that it has added seven countries to its list of foreign lands covered by its cell phone service.

The firm maintains that it now leads the world in the number of CDMA-available countries where subscribers can use their cell phones, in this case with Sprint-activated phones. In a statement, the firm said: "Those customers equipped with a digital dual-band phone can roam in more than 20 countries. Customers with a tri-mode phone can now roam in more than 40 countries with Sprint PCS International roaming."

The seven new countries added to its roaming plans are Jamaica, Peru, Venezuela, Taiwan, Thailand, Brazil, and Saipan.


05/11/2005 Microsoft Phone Software runs Hard Drives

Microsoft Corp., on Tuesday released a new version of its mobile phone software with the ability to run miniature hard drives and new features like a walkie-talkie style "push-to-talk."

The world's largest software maker has struggled in the mobile phone world but sees a chance to unseat entrenched rivals such as market leader Symbian Ltd. with Windows Mobile 5.0.

"We've made a heck of a lot of progress," Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said in an interview, "I think we've learned a lot." The maker of the Windows computer operating system launched a mobile phones unit about five years ago.


05/11/2005 City, State Cell Phone Taxes on the Rise

Cell phone users are being hit by new taxes as state and local governments scramble to replace declining tax revenue from traditional phones.

The new charges are adding $2 to $10 or more a month to cell phone bills on top of existing federal and state taxes and fees for emergency 911 communications.


05/10/2005 Mobile Phone Shipments Expected To Slow

Worldwide mobile-phone shipments, which saw an unprecedented increase last year, is expected to slow to a relative snail's pace this year, a market research firm said.

Shipments last year increased by 34 percent in 2004 to 692 million units, as people replaced older phones with devices featuring color screens and digital cameras, International Data Corp. said. For the next five years, however, shipments will slow quite a bit, because of the lack of comparable dramatic enhancements.


05/09/2005 Don't ground the teen, confiscate the mobile phone

Parents looking to grab a teenager's attention with a stiff punishment should confiscate their mobile phone.

A study by a top South Korean advertising firm shows that a mobile is one of a Korean teenager's most prized possessions.

Among 13- to 15-year-olds, 77.5 percent said a mobile phone was a "must-have" item, while for those aged 16 to 18 the figure was 76.7 percent, the Cheil Communications survey showed.

"Cell phones are the key to a teenager's social network," said Andy Joohyun Lee, senior researcher at Cheil Communications' Brand Marketing Institute.


05/06/2005 Verizon Connects VoIP to 911 Systems

Verizon announced Tuesday that it will offer a new service for routing Voice over Internet Protocol services directly to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

"Working with VoIP companies and their vendors, we have identified a means to route VoIP calls so that they appear in emergency response centers much the way wireline and wireless 911 calls do," said Michael O'Connor, executive director of federal regulatory affairs for Verizon.

Verizon's new E911 system directs a 911 caller to the appropriate local government emergency response center.


05/05/2005 What's Next For Telecom? More Deals

Pundits have been saying for years that the telecommunications industry is overcrowded and due for major consolidation, so the pending mergers of MCI and Verizon, AT&T and SBC, and Sprint and Nextel seem like the conclusion of a natural and well-anticipated industry evolution.

But now that the biggest waves of consolidation in the carrier space have washed over, there could be a new set of breakers coming in. With fewer telecom service providers on the market, some are predicting sympathetic combinations among the companies who provide their hardware.


05/03/2005 MCI Accepts Verizon's Raised $8.5 Billion Offer

MCI Inc. on Monday accepted a raised $8.5 billion bid from Verizon Communications Inc., saying its large business customers might defect if it accepted a higher bid from rival suitor Qwest Communications International Inc.


05/03/2005 World's First Cell Phone TV Service Launched in Korea

The world's first commercial service delivering broadcast television to cell phones went into service in Korea on Sunday, according to reports in China's People's Daily Online.
The operator of the satellite-based service, TU Media Corp, is a business unit of Korea's giant SK Telecom. The service transmits multimedia broadcasting (DMB) signals to subscriber cell phones, if those phones are capable of receiving the signal. People's Daily Online said that about 28,000 such devices are in operation in Korea.

The company will start with seven video and 20 audio channels, but will increase that to more than 40 total channels. The service will be free in May for users of compatible phones but the company said it will charge about $13 a month after that.


05/03/2005 Nextel Launches Group Push-To-Talk Service

Nextel Monday launched a new service that will enable groups of users to hold push-to-talk conversations, no matter where they are in Nextel's network.
The company said in a statement that its Group Connect service can support conversations with as many as 21 participants. It claimed the service is easy to access because users can create group conversations simply by selecting a name from a contact list or a list of recently-made calls without accessing a separate application.


05/02/2005 Nokia Phones Target iPod, Defy Traditional Market Segments

Gadget users craving multiple devices in a single, small package got some treats this week in the form of Nokia's announcement of its new line of Nseries mobile phone handsets.

One includes a super-high-resolution camera, another sports a powerful music player, and more are coming, according to the company. The handsets will be expensive, though, with price tags of up to about US$1,000.

What the new phones demonstrate, said John Jackson of Yankee Group, is that the hardware barriers impeding device convergence in consumer electronics are dropping. A number of other challenges remain, though, for manufacturers seeking a piece of this lucrative market.


05/02/2005 Cinema Owners Seek to Curb Phone Rage

New Zealand cinema owners may use mobile phone jamming technology to stop mid-movie calls, text messaging and cell phone rage among patrons, they said Friday.
The national Motion Pictures Exhibitors Association said it's studying the legality of using mobile phone jammers because of the disruption from the phones during movie screenings.



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