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ee-logo-big.jpgEE, famous for its bouncy little logo, people whining about its customer service on Twitter and Kevin Bacon, today announced that its UK customers will now be able to access 4G services will they're away from home in France and Spain.

Both regular consumer and small business customers will be able to start using the 4G services when they're holidaying abroad today, but of course they'll have to buy an inclusive data bundle first - the cheapest is £3 for 100MB of data.

Olaf Swantee, EE's CEO, also revealed that the company will extend its 4G roaming plans to even more destinations in the run up to summer: "EE already has the biggest and fastest 4G network in the UK - now we're also allowing our customers to stay connected on 4G when they're abroad. Our customers will be the first to benefit in France and Spain today, with the most popular travel destinations to follow in the coming months.


If you have been stung by mid-contract price increases for your mobile you might want to read this.

Tesco Mobile has gone on record as saying that it thinks the four other networks- all of which have introduced increases citing inflation and rising costs - are reneging on their agreements with customers.

It has promised not to ever raise its prices mid-contract.

Simon Groves, chief marketing officer at Tesco Mobile, said in a statement:

'We believe it's only fair to stick to the contract that we make with our customers, and see no reason to change the core tariff price that a customer has signed up to. We've never put our Pay-Monthly tariff prices up mid-contract and this Tariff Promise demonstrates our continued commitment to our customers. Being open and honest with them is incredibly important to us and we're proud to be setting an example of best in class mobile service.'

Tesco Mobile also did some research that concluded that 70% of contract customers are unaware that networks could increase prices during the life of a contract.

phones-4-u-big-image.jpgPhones 4u has decided its bored of just flogging tablets and mobiles on the UK high street and instead wants to see whether it can become a major mobile operator. According to sources today, the phone company will be launching LIFE Mobile over the next few months, a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that'll be using EE's current 2G and 3G coverage before possibly launching 4G services later in 2013.

It makes sense that Phones 4u has turned to EE for the move given the strength of its network and its wide 3G coverage - even if people like to rant about it regularly on Twitter.

Group Chief Executive at Phones 4u, Tim Whiting, said:

"LIFE Mobile will enable us flexibility and creativity in designing propositions to give our customers even further choice. We will sell LIFE Mobile alongside our existing network propositions and are confident the new network will play a key role in driving further growth for our business."

As Phones 4u has a huge mobile sales presence already in the UK, the launch of LIFE Mobile means the company will soon be able to offer its customers an even larger range of plans and bundles by touting its own network.

[Via The Next Web Image via Rhinman's Flickr]


It isn't a bad time to be Russian at the moment what with a certain momentous World Cup on its way and also a very exciting high-tech arts festival, Yota Space, happening this month in St Petersburg.

Yota Space is a series of events and exhibitions from some very cool artists and musicians which is sponsored by, surprisingly enough, Yota a telecoms company that specialises in 4G systems. That's 4G, as in much faster and more efficient than the rather outdated 3G systems we currently have in the UK. In fact the Yota WiMax offering in St Petersburg is almost certainly significantly quicker than the broadband you have at home.

Over the next few days I'll be in Russia trailing the 4G gear and checking out if it matches the hype. I'll also be talking to artists like Drive Productions and onedotzero who are harnessing technology to create some amazing art.

To see what Drive are capable of here's their main production for the show - a 4D projection mapping of the Mikhailovsky Palace in St Petersburg, Russia.

The iconic, traditional landmark museum has been transformed into a towering, real life canvas on to which the artists have created a rather stunning display.

1006belkin.jpg

So. It's 10.30pm, you just need to send one email and guess what, the home wifi is jumping: "The page you requested cannot be displayed".

You switch everything off and on including the fridge but it still won't log you onto gmail long enough to send a bloody email. What to do? Thwack the wall with a chair leg? Spend half an hour on the phone to a polite but bored call centre worker who essentially tells you to switch it off and on again. Or swap internet provider and buy a new router.

Well, I always resolve to do the latter, but rarely get round to it providing it's working at least temporarily by the next morning.

There are multiple things that can go wrong with home wireless networks. And in any given situation it could be any of them.

Signs that it's likely to be the Router that's the problem:
1) Plug the lead directly into your computer to check if the internet is being piped into the home correctly. If it works fine, the network provider is not the problem.

2) Does your computer pick up other wifi networks okay, in the office etc? If so, it's the not the wifi connector on your laptop that's the problem .

3) If the signal works in the same room as the router. It could be that the connection speed you are paying for is too weak or the router just doesn't have enough muscle to cover the full house.

If it's not working at all, it's time to tackle buying a new router.

What to Look For when Buying a Router
These are the basics
1) Know your internet connection speed and what type of connection it is. Is the internet coming through a Dial-up, ASDL connection or a cable connection?
Hunker down and look at where the internet connection comes into your house. Dial-up connections straightforwardly use the phone line, they are quite slow, but cheap. You can't use the phone line while the internet is connected. Broadband connections are much faster and usually come over one of two types of connection: ASDL which splits the phone line in two and lets voice and internet data travel through it; and cable - this is one of the fastest connections, but only available where the network companies have cables running through the streets, usually in cities.
Make sure the router you chose matches the connection you have.

2) Go for a decent brand name. There are six big names: Netgear, Belkin, Linksy, D-Link, Buffalo and Cisco. They all have a range of differently powered and featured devices. Computer companies Asus and Apple also make wireless routers. Sometimes network providers: aol, Virgin will offer their own branded ones to customers too.


3) More expensive routers won't necessarily give you faster internet.
Beyond a certain point, more expensive routers don't necessarily give you faster internet, they just start giving you more features, like parental controls for blocking certain sites or Traffic Prioritizing. Often not that necessary.

4) Coverage: details of the coverage the router provides are usually given in the specs on the product page. Just remember that
The average range for wireless coverage is 180 feet (55m) max indoors and 1,500 feet (457m) max in an open space. Check which one is being referenced. If your home walls are

5) Single Band v Double Band.
Okay, let's talk about bands. Simple routers - good for average home use, are often single band and transmit wireless data at 2.4Ghz. Dual band routers can transmit data at either 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz. If you want to do more intensive back-forth stuff like gaming or file sharing, go for the dual band ones which cost a little more. The 5Ghz channel will allow better for the intensive throughfare. The dual band router can be better too if you have a mixture of old and new laptops and devices connecting to the network.

Helpful links:
What is a Router? on About.com


NB: Routers and ReRouters are the same thing.

43 iphone vodafone.jpgIt's the iPhone !!! Yes, okay, you've heard of it. The iPhone has been around for a while so this ain't exactly ground-breaking, but the handset is now officially available on Vodafone as well as three other networks in Britain - O2, Tescos and Orange.

Yes, it is exactly the same phone so the only difference will be: price or I suppose network coverage, though unless you live somewhere quite remote standards tend to be reasonable all over.

As we discussed before: Orange's iPhone deal is practically identical to O2, and Tescos offered an eye-catching £20 a month deal but the savings on monthly payments were balanced out by a large down-payment required and of course reduced quantities of free calls and texts. 18 month contracts seem to be a minimum for the iPhone.

And Vodafone? Well, it's looking a lot like the O2 and Orange deals. The general trend I can see is that Vodafone is offering more minutes and more texts, but is capping the 3G internet at 1Gigabyte of data flow a month. 1GB they say is enough to stream 16hrs of video or view 10,000 web pages. You also get free access to BT Openzone wifi up to 1G. Vodafone also offer you "free wifi at home" which is a bit ridiculous seeing as you're paying for your home internet connection yourself.

Anyway, more details below:
(And there might be better deals for current Vodafone customers who want to upgrade.)

The 3G - available for £35 a month for *24 months. Includes and 1GB of mobile internet and webmail - note not unlimited like on O2. But significantly more minutes : 900 minutes and unlimited texts.

The 3GS - available for £45 a month, once again, for 24 months: with a generous 1200 minutes and unlimited texts but the internet is capped at 1GB.

See full range of Vodafone deals on iPhones
iPhone on Orange
iPhone on Tescos

251 twitter_3_JPG_autothumb_w-574_scale.JPGOrange today announced a partnership with Twitter, which will enable customers to send photos to Twitter via MMS (multimedia text messages). The service is called snapshot and is only available to UK Orange users.

Orange also say that they will let their customers send and receive Twitter updates directly from their mobile phones using text messaging. This isn't particularly significant as it has always been possible to send Twitter updates over text, though the alerts function is new, and it might make the text update process easier.

This development isn't very relevant to anyone with an internet-ennabled smartphone, because they can already do those things over apps or their internet connection. But it does open up Twitter to the many people who own standard phones without apps or good internet interfaces.

Twitter alerts will be available free, with upload text messages either included in customers' bundles or charged at the usual rate.

Users can set the alerts they want to receive. Orange suggests that you'll be: "able to choose to receive text message updates on 'tweets' from all people they follow, individual users or direct messages. They'll also be able to set times for receiving 'tweets'".

Receiving a text everytime someone you follow sent a tweet would be horrendous but @replies would be fine.

Text messages and tweets have always been closely related so this makes sense for Orange and could bring a whole new raft of people onto Twitter.

Related:

69 t mobile.jpgYou can browse the internet - but not watch videos, T-mobile tells customers buying its new mobile broadband gift packs.

The new 3 month or 12 month gift packs give customers "unlimited" internet along with a mobile broadband USB stick. The single payment is good value compared to standard prepay deals - but the T-mobile gift pack has this strange catch: you can't watch videos or download anything.

Err, what?

Follow on after the jump

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