08/02/2009

Stephen Fry tops Twitter (well almost) | Mobile Industry Review

Stephen Fry tops Twitter (well almost) | Mobile Industry Review

This article was written (by my good self) on Saturday 7th Feb and Stephen Fry @stephenfry had somewhat over 100,00 users. As of Sunday 9th of Feb 2009 at 4pm he has 152,375 followers. Obama has 246,262. 3rd place goes to CNN with 144,643 and poor Kevin Rose (of Digg/Rev3/etc) only has 102,051.

OK so Stephen Fry is now 2nd in the Twitter ranks, but it's the speed at which he's got there which is surprising.

Obama has been going for 1.9 years (i.e. about 693 days) which is about 355 new followers per day. Kevin Rose (and the publicity machine of Diggnation etc) has achieved his following in about 766 days which is 133 followers per day.

Mr Fry has achieved an average of 733 new followers every day since joining Twitter. His stats are completely skewed of course since he gained at least 50,000 during the weekend following his appearance on Jonathan Ross @wossy a few weeks ago (who is now on 69,871 followers which means he's getting 998 new followers per day). Philip Schofield @schofe) is also climbing up the ranks fast (though only with 42,542 followers).

Since Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Philip Schofield are pretty much British institutions, does this mean that UK Twitter use is increasing as dramatically?

The other side of this is how does Twitter hope to make any kind of money? They have raised VC, the number of users is increasing dramatically, but so are the costs. Just delivering Stephen Fry's tweets must require lots of infrastructure and hardware. Are they gearing up for a sale? Who could buy them? Personally I'd guess the only possible suitor is Vodafone who could bring back SMS for tweets and roll the system out to Asia where everyone is used to sending stuff by SMS and would pay for it. Vodafone are probably big and ugly enough to pull it off.

Extending Premium Rate Services Regulation to 087 Numbers | Ofcom

Extending Premium Rate Services Regulation to 087 Numbers | Ofcom

Ofcom has confirmed that PhonePayPlus will regulate calls to 0871 and 0872 numbers that are charged above 5p per minute up to 10p per minute, 09 numbers from 5 through 10p per minute will also come uder PhonePayPlus regulation.

This will come into force on August 1st 2009. Consumers using these numbers should: -

* be better informed about the price of calls.

* be able to complain about excessively long call waiting times.

* be better protected from scams.

Digital dividend: clearing the 800 MHz band | Ofcom

Digital dividend: clearing the 800 MHz band | Ofcom

Ofcom is holding a consultation on what's being called the 800MHz band. Some parts of the band are expected to become free after Digital Switch Over (DSO) in 2012.

Ofcom were planning to release 112MHz of spectrum after DSO comprising of: -

* a smaller, upper band of 48 MHz at 806-854 MHz (channels 63-68)
* a larger, lower band of 64 MHz between 550 MHz and 630 MHz (channels 31-35, 37 and 39-40)

This has subsequently been increased to 128MHz by clearing out channel 36 used by aeronautical radar and channel 38 by radioastronomy.

Many countries in Eurpoe have followed the UK's lead and are making spectrum available, but they are proposing to open up more spectrum in the 800MHz band comprising of 72 MHz at 790 - 862 MHz – channels 61 - 69.

After DSO channels 61 and 62 were expected to be used by DTT (digital terrestrial television) and channel 69 for programme-making and special events (PMSE), mainly wireless microphones. However Ofcom has valued the released spectrum at around £2 - 3bn and wants to move DDT and PMSE to channels 38 - 40).

Ofcom believes that the costs of clearing channels 61, 62 and 69 will be modest compared to the benefits. They estimate it will cost around £90-200m. These costs could be met by new licensees in the 800 MHz band and/or the Government.

By moving DDT from those bands, users will have to retune their digital set-top boxes (or they may lose EPG information), however that should only take a few minutes and shouldn't cause a major impact.

By making the spectrum available, innovative new services could run in the 800MHz band such as wireless broadband or new mobile services. It is in the best interests of the UK that Ofcom are allowed to proceed with this plan (800MHz has very good building penetration so blanket wireless coverage of an area is possible as per current TV coverage).

The consultation closes on April 20th 2009.