Industry News - August 2014

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It may still be the summer holidays but Ofcom have been active in the last month. It could be the only time of year when they seem to be moving quickly and achieving a lot (am I allowed to say that?), but that’s because everyone else is lounging on the beach. Here are a few chunks of news from the QUANGO.

How to 'unlock' your mobile handset to change provider

Ofcom have put together this handy resource regarding getting your mobile handset unlocked so you can switch SIM card in the UK or overseas.

Being able to unlock your phone gives you the freedom to choose your provider. Although a lot of mobile providers wrap up their deals with new phones, so you can often get an upgrade, not everyone wants to change phone just to change how much they're charged.

I hadn't come across doing this directly with the mobile phone provider. There always seems to be plenty of stalls and shops in the high street that offer a work around often for free; but I can't imagine Ofcom supporting that sort of activity.

Funnily enough, only in the last couple of weeks it's become legal in the USA to unlock your phone so you can switch providers. TechHive have a good article about this. It was interesting to read how it was legal, but in 2012(!) it was made illegal. All seems a bit backwards.

(Source: Ofcom - 4th August 2014)

14 and 15 year olds are the most technology-savvy in the UK

This month we've seen the release of Ofcom's annual Communication Market Report. This covers everything from telecoms, TV and broadband to the postal industry.

We'll be diving into the telecoms data in more depth and will share our thoughts on those separately. Just a few nuggets of info from this years report:

  • What's been seen consistently over the last few years is the reduction in fixed line calls, with many people only having a landline to enable their broadband connection.
  • We also see a rise in mobile phone ownership and subscriptions to monthly plans.
  • Of course we're seeing a regular increase in the ownership of tablets.
  • Also a continued switch to consuming digital content (downloading music, streaming music and films).
  • But books are remaining strong as a physical product!

With all these increases in the availability of devices and digital content, is it really surprising that teenagers are the most tech-savvy in the UK?

You can download separate sections or the document as a whole from Ofcom's website.

(Source: Ofcom - 7th August 2014)

Location information for emergency calls from mobile phones

This was an interesting little mention to come out from Ofcom. I knew that location information was provided to the emergency services for the calls they receive. I wasn't aware that any information was currently provided for calls from mobiles.

But, it would seem that we're not far away from being able to provide location information for mobile phone calls. It'll be interesting to see how far this progresses and how widely available that sort of information will be become.

Ofcom are monitoring the industry initiative so we look forward to more updates on this.

(Source: Ofcom - 13th August 2014)