30/06/2005

FT.com / Companies / Europe - F Telecom plans to phase out Wanadoo

FT.com / Companies / Europe - F Telecom plans to phase out Wanadoo

Once upon a time there was Freeserve, they had a good name in the UK and changed the face of dial-up Internet.

Freeserve were bought by Wanadoo, the ISP arm of France Telecom. Along came a series of "humourous" adverts telling the UK of the fact.

Now it looks like Wanadoo is about to expire and will be reborn as Orange who have so far only been known in the mobile world. It seems FT is rebranding all international mobile, broadband and commercial services under Orange.

Does this mean the wise man will now be advising Orange on what to call themselves next?

28/06/2005

Ofcom Website | Spectrum Framework Review Statement

Ofcom Website | Spectrum Framework Review Statement

Ofcom has come out with their statement on Spectrum Framework Review. Though they wish to liberalise spectrum management and take a light touch approach, spectrum licensing and management is a tricky business. There are many issues to take into account, including some spectrum is managed by the MOD, some is harmonised across Europe and some (like maritime frequencies) internationally.

Currently about 4.3% of the spectrum is license exempt (i.e. bands like 2.4GHz used by WiFi) whihc will rise to 7% by 2010. This will give about 600MHz to every person in the UK (for short range use) up from 400MHz now allowing 100Mb/s short-range services.

Around 21% will remain in Ofcom control and fully licensed and the remainer will fall under user management, which still means that the spectrum will be licensed (originally from Ofcom) but the licensee has the option to trade, sub-license and do other things with the spectrum than was originally specified in the Ofcom license.

This will allow people to come up with new ideas for spectrum use and to implement them.

27/06/2005

Ofcom Website | A new regulatory approach for fixed telecommunications

Ofcom Website | A new regulatory approach for fixed telecommunications

Ofcom have done a deal with BT to make BT Wholesale (BTW) "fairer" to the competition. They haven't gone the whole hog and forced BTW to be a completely seperate company, but they'll have different incentives to BT (Retail). It will stil be run by the same board of directors etc.

This is meant to make BTW more transparent and offer services to any operator at the same rate as to BT (Retail). This also applies to BT's 21CN.

BTW will be expected to share information about what it's doing rather than reactively tell the competition what its done.

Whether it actually makes a difference is yet to be seen, BTW will be ranamed and move out of BT's current offices, but it will still be BT.

Ofcom Website | Notification of approval of an emergency code amendment to the ICSTIS Code of Practice (Tenth Edition)

Ofcom Website | Notification of approval of an emergency code amendment to the ICSTIS Code of Practice (Tenth Edition)

This is something that should have been done a long time ago, with hold payments to Premium Rate Services (PRS) from the telecoms operator for 30 days such that if the PRS service is doing something wrong they don't get paid.

This would stop a lot of scam operations and make it more difficult for PRS players to run dubious services. Withholding payments for 30 days is bad for cashflow, but will put off operators who "jump in then pull-out" very quickly, meanwhile leaving unhappy customers with big unexpected bills. There are quite a lot of telcos who will just pay-up on very short contracts.

Currently this is an Ofcom consultation, but there shouldn't be too many objections as it doesn't stop people making lots of money (premium lines can charge up to £5 per minute), it just stops them making money for 30 days which is enough time to catch unscrupulous ones.