4G Nexus 4 with 32GB and Key Lime Pie to launch next month?

It's rumour time, so pinch of salt at the ready. Google was previously rumoured to be launching the Nexus 5 handset at its I/O conference next month, but now come whispers it'll announce a revamped Nexus 4 instead, SidhTech reports.

On the cards: 4G for a superfast Internet connection, 32GB of storage, and the debut of theAndroid Key Lime Pie operating system.

Nexus 5 rumours have been ramping up of late. But then the Nexus 4 only launched just before Christmas, so if Google announced its successor mere months later it would annoy all those who snapped up the original (especially if they had to wait weeks for it to be in stock.) Instead, it might bring out a slightly spruced-up version of the Nexus 4 to entice new customers without leaving existing ones royally peeved. That's the thinking behind the rumour, anyway.

[Source: CNET - Click here to read the full story]

EE to double 4G spectrum allocation, boost speeds in first ten cities by summer

While EE scrambles to spread its LTE network far and wide before the other UK carriers get into the 4G business, it also wants to flex some spectrum muscle. The network's announced it's planning to double the LTE allocation on its 1800MHz band (from 2 x 10MHz to 2 x 20MHz), which it claims will increase download speeds to an average of 20 Mbps, topping out at 80 Mbps. Ten of the 11 original 4G launch cities will be seeing this bandwidth boost first: London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.EE doesn't want you to think it's done expanding, though, and says it'll continue to make use of its MHz and GHz by rolling out boring, normal LTE in new areas whilst doubling up in others. The first ten cities are due to receive "double-speed" 4G by summer, which we assume means around the time summer is supposed to happen.

Update: EE's Howard Jones has added on Twitter that the network will start trialing carrier aggregation, LTE-A (that's even better 4G) later in 2013. We've asked for more details and will fill you in when we hear more.

[Image credit: Lazygamer, Flickr]

[Source: Engadget]

4G will disrupt Freeview TV in fewer homes than expected

Fears have been allayed over whether the 4G networks that'll launch this summer will interfere with Freeview telly signals.

trial conducted by at800 found that a makeshift 4G network using the 800MHz band only affected Freeview reception in 15 out of the 22,000 homes surveyed, The Register reports. at800 originally predicted 120 households would experience problems. Those that did have trouble were remedied quickly with a cheap filter.

The trial was held in Cradley Heath and Rowley Regis, near Dudley.

When operators join EE in rolling our their 4G networks this summer, they'll need to use the 800MHz band, which is the same as Freeview (EE uses the 1,800MHz). Hence concern that your viewing would be interrupted because someone upstairs is browsing on their blower. Campaigners claimed up to 2 million households could be affected.

The operators chucked £180 million at the problem, but will get that back, seeing as it looks like at800 will have nothing to spend it on. Unless it throws a massive party.

All 15 homes that had reception issues featured a signal booster. The filters that come to the rescue have to be fitted between the aerial and the booster -- easy-peasy if the booster is near the back of the TV, but a pain in the backside if it's on top of a tower block, serving a lot of flats. So some households could still have issues.

Bigger trials are needed for a better grasp of the problem, but for the moment it looks like the vast majority of us will be able to watch telly while browsing the Web at super-fast speeds.

[Source: CNET]

4G free in taxis courtesy of EE from today

EE is today offering passengers in London and Birmingham cabs the chance to experience the UK's only 4G network. It's free in taxis for the next three months -- by which time you might be able to sign up to a much cheaper 4G network.

A superfast Wi-Fi network is perhaps the last thing you'd expect to find in a London cab, yet EE has fitted 40 cabs in London and 10 in Birmingham with MiFi routers you can connect to free of charge. The service will offer anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled device to experience the speed of 4G, without the staggering expense.

EE has the first 4G -- or LTE, as it's sometimes called -- network in the UK because it was allowed to use a specific part of the radio spectrum ahead of all the other companies bidding in the recent 4G auction. It's used this headstart not to build goodwill and a huge customer base, but to charge an extortionate amount of money for data.

Other networks will open their 4G networks later this year, and price is certain to be the main difference between them. Three has already promised 4G won't cost any extra.

EE's Spencer McHugh, announcing the three-month project, said: "The first motorised black cabs hit the streets in 1901, nearly 70 years before the first smart phone was available to consumers, now we are bringing this icon of British transport into the 21st century with a 4G makeover."

Despite McHugh suggesting the trial will "demonstrate the benefits of a superior online experience", it remains to be seen whether such a service will become a permanent fixture in London cabs after the trial ends.

From the start of the London 2012 Olympics until the end of January this year, Virgin Media offered a similar service, giving free Wi-Fi access to over 100 tube stations. As expected, the service is now only available to registered customers of Virgin, EE and Vodafone for free, with customers of other providers having to pay a fee.

Will you be looking out for a 4G cab in London or Birmingham? Are you already an EE 4G user? Let us know in the comments here, or indeed over at our Facebook page.

[Source: CNET]

UK budget leaked on Twitter as government re-states 4G vow

The UK budget was leaked on Twitter today, granting politically minded surfers a sneak peek at George Osborne's number-crunching ahead of time.

The key aspects of the chancellor's new measures emerged early when London's Evening Standard newspaper tweeted its front page, which detailed the most crucial aspects of the annual ploy to make the UK more economically healthy.

The Standard posted an apology on its site, with editor Sarah Sands saying, "An investigation is immediately under way into how this front page was made public." The person who sent the tweet has been suspended while that investigation happens, the newspaper boss says.

As for the budget itself, there was little for tech and gadget fiends to get excited about (though we can all rally around 1p off a pint of beer). Mr Osborne did take the opportunity to re-iterate hisplans for the UK's Internet speeds, saying, "We're giving Britain the fastest broadband and mobile telephony in Europe."

That doesn't quite jive with Ofcom's report on the UK's broadband progress from earlier this month, which places the UK third for superfast broadband take-up, for example.

The UK will get faster mobile data this year, as operators have just walked away from a big spectrum auction with slices of bandwidth to use in 4G networks. That auction raised £2.34bn for the UK, but fell short of the £3.5bn Mr Osborne had already factored into the nation's budget.

[Source: CNET]

Huawei Reveals the World’s Fastest 4G LTE Smartphone

Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, today introduced the HUAWEI Ascend P2, the world’s fastest smartphone, at the 2013 Mobile World Congress (MWC). The Ascend P2 features a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and LTE Cat 4 providing an ultrafast web experience with download speeds of up to 150 Mbps. Continuing the fashion legacy of the Ascend P-series, it is only 8.4mm slim with an infinity edge 4.7-inch IPS HD in-cell touch display with second-generation Corning® Gorilla® Glass, and will be available in black and white.

“Ascend P2 is the perfect combination of elegance and power, and further proof that there’s no need to compromise when desiring a perfect smartphone. It is evidence of the outstanding smartphone experiences and great technology that we are committed to bringing to consumers globally,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group.

The HUAWEI Ascend P2 will be on sale in France through Orange in June 2013.  

“We’re pleased to be working with Huawei again to enable our customers to have easier and faster access to all their favorite content,” said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President, Mobile Multimedia & Devices, Orange. “We are impressed by the design and look forward to putting the Ascend P2 into the hands of consumers as soon as possible.”

“The technological capabilities of the HUAWEI Ascend P2 will enable our customers to have the fastest access to all their content, with speeds up to 150 Mbps on our brand new 4G network,” said Florence Paour, Device Marketing Director, Orange France.

The HUAWEI Ascend P2 runs on the Android 4.1 operating system, with Huawei’s own Emotion UI 1.5. Powered by a 2420 mAh battery and 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, the Ascend P2 downloads HD movies in minutes, and loads online videos, web pages, songs or e-Books in seconds. Huawei’s proprietary ‘swift sharing’ supports uploads and downloads two to three times faster than other smartphones in a Wi-Fi environment. With its NFC module*, Ascend P2 enables e-payments and can act as an electronic ticket. Huawei's unique Quick Power Control (QPC) and Automated Discontinuous Reception (ADRX) power-saving technologies, reduces power consumption by 30% and charging time by more than 25% compared to other smartphones.

Continuing the fashion focus of Huawei’s Ascend P smartphones, HUAWEI Ascend P2 evokes the image of an infinity pool with its seamless, elegant design and curvy contours. Using in-cell technology, its LCD 4.7-inch IPS HD touchscreen is an impressive 8.4mm slim. Its ‘magic touch’ feature provides enhanced screen responsiveness even with gloves, and instant keyword translation and Wikipedia searches can now be done on a single window with ‘smart reading’. The screen also calibrates its brightness automatically under any light conditions, allowing users to perform any function, under any light.  

The HUAWEI Ascend P2 provides optimal photo and video features including a 13 MP BSI rear-facing camera with HDR, and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera to support self-portrait and video shooting. A dedicated camera key on the side of the phone also allows instant access to picture taking, click once for the camera to be activated and another time to take the shot. With Huawei’s advanced camera algorithm, high-definition images can be captured even in backlit conditions. Auto adjustment modes further enable Ascend P2 to produce photos that rival professional cameras.

The Huawei Emotion UI*, available on the Ascend P2 is easy to use and customize. The UniHome function combines home panels with the main menu, while Huawei’s patent-pending Me Widget better utilizes screen real-estate by combining all the information and functions you need in a single, customizable widget. Emotion UI is also pre-installed with a smartphone housekeeper function to support real-time data traffic tracking, automatic blacklisting and blocking, periodical system cleaning, and spontaneous exiting of idle programs and cache cleanup, in addition to anti-virus, energy saving, privacy protection, software management, and more. 

For more information, visit Huawei Device online: www.huaweidevice.com

Vodafone, O2 and Three win 4G, but auction falls £1.2bn short

O2, Vodafone and Three have all won slices of 4G spectrum, meaning networks other than EE can begin rolling out speedy data services this year.

This morning Ofcom confirmed that after more than 50 rounds of bidding, every major UK network has walked away from the now-concluded 4G auction with barrelfuls of bandwidth, including spectrum that was freed up in the TV digital switchover.

Vodafone was the biggest bidder, splashing out nearly £800m for a pair of 10MHz slices in the 800MHz band, as well as other bits of bandwidth that will enable it to offer faster mobile data to customers. BT was the lowest bidder, but managed to nab some bandwidth.

Although EE is already running a 4G network using 1,800MHz bandwidth it already owned, the operator -- which owns Orange and T-Mobile -- paid just shy of £600m to pick up even more spectrum.

It's hoped that more networks offering 4G will cause a price war that results in cheaper tariffs for phone buyers. Three has fired the first shot already, promising that it will roll its 4G network into existing coverage, without raising prices.

Meagre cash for Britain

Ofcom boss Ed Richards called the auction's result a "positive outcome for competition in the UK", but the amount of cash generated by bidding networks was substantially lower than expected, which is bad news for the UK.

The total cash generated was £2.34bn. That's nothing to sneeze at, but is well short of the £3.5bn the auction was expected to raise. Moreover, Chancellor George Osborne had already factored the expected sum into the nation's budget this year, making it appear that the UK's deficit would fall in 2013. That leaves the treasury £1.2bn short of its expected target. Take it away, Picard.

[Source: CNET]

Vodafone says 4G is for 'technology freaks', amid cash woes

Vodafone has seen its revenues slip, though the red-hued network insists it isn't losing customers to speedy 4G services.

Revenue dipped 5.2 per cent in the last three months of 2012, The Guardian reports -- the biggest fall in over three years. The cash drop comes despite an increase in customer numbers however, as Vodafone's total number of UK subscribers climbed 230,000 to 19.5 million.

Vodafone itself blames the decline on customers hunting for bargains elsewhere, with company boss Vittorio Colao adamant that paying customers aren't flocking to 4G.

"I haven't got reports of customers flying away to 4G," the embattled CEO is quoted as saying, going on to declare, "The kind of people who are going for it are technology freaks."

That seems a little unfair to me, as I'm sure most smart phone owners would jump at the chance to boost their browsing and download speeds. If 4G is of limited interest for now, it's because EE -- as the only company to provide the fast new technology -- is charging through-the-roof rates for it.

That will change later this year however, once the ongoing 4G spectrum auction is concluded, and rival networks can kick off their own services. Three has the right idea, having already promised that 4G speeds will cost the same as current contracts.

Three is using 1,800MHz spectrum it's buying from EE to forge its 4G services. It's not clear whether operators like Vodafone or O2, which are bidding in the 4G auction, will be able to offer 4G without a bump in prices.

[Source: CNET]

EE Set to Cover 27 More U.K. Towns by June With LTE

Everything Everywhere (EE) is going to be expanding its LTE coverage of the U.K. in the coming months, and will end up covering 55 percent of the population by the time its done.

Between April and June EE plans to light up the LTE towers in 27 additional towns which include Aldershot, Ashford, Basildon, Basingstoke, Blackpool, Bracknell, Camberley, Colchester, Crawley, Farnborough, Guildford, Horsham, Huddersfield, Leatherhead, Maidstone, Milton Keynes, Oldham, Oxford, Redhill, Reigate, Sevenoaks, Stevenage, Tonbridge, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Warrington, Wigan and Woking. These join the existing cities and towns and will bring the total to 65 locations around the U.K. It will also bring the total percentage of the population covered by the service up to 55.

While Three announced this week that it would be offering unlimited LTE data on the cheaplater in the year, EE has a pretty large head start in the market. Additionally O2 and Vodafoneare fighting for their share of the available bandwidth with no announcement yet as to when those networks may become active.

The take away from all of this is that LTE will soon be in every corner of the U.K., and consumers should have options as to which carrier they use, but it isn’t going to happen overnight.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Three won't charge extra for 4G, unlike EE

Three won't charge extra for 4G when it launches later this year. Unlike the pricey EE, the company promises there won't be separate 3G and 4G price plans -- which means you could get 4G for as little as £7 per month, if it doesn't change its current deals.

Three's 4G service will launch in the second half of this year, using the 1,800MHz airwaves it's buying from EE. You'll need a phone with LTE gubbins built-in to benefit from the faster mobile Internet connection, but once you've got the right phone there's no extra cost.

When 4G launches in or after the summer, existing customers won't need to change price plans or SIM cards. If you own an iPhone 5Nokia Lumia 920 or Sony Xperia Z you won't even have to change phones. The latest Apple iPad mini and iPad with retina display tablets are also ready for 4G.

Soon the choice will be even wider with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE andBlackBerry Z10 arriving on Three imminently.

Three vs EE

The first 4G phone network here in the UK is EE, the network formed by the merger of Orange and T-Mobile. EE has come under fire for its prices, or more specifically, the stingey data limitsincluded with each price plan: £36 for 500MB of data, anyone?

By contrast, Three's SIM-only deals start at a mere £6.90 per month for 500MB of data -- you do have to buy the phone yourself, but as a monthly fee that's a quarter of the cost of EE's cheapest 4G deal.

Opt for Three's One Plan and you can bag yourself unlimited all-you-can-eat data from £12.90 per month. That's a 12-month contract too, so you're not tied into a two-year deal like many of EE's plans.

What is Ultrafast? 

Three is adding 4G LTE to its Ultrafast network, which currently uses the DC-HSDPA standard. DC-HSDPA is a faster version of 3G -- think of it as 3.5G -- and allows compatible phones to connect to the Web faster than 3G, even when you can't get 4G.

DC-HSDPA currently reaches half the UK population in 50 towns and cities. It's planned to reach 80 per cent of the population by the end of March. Three hasn't yet revealed how wide its 4G coverage will be.

The other phone networks don't have access to the 1,800MHz spectrum and have to buy different airwaves in an auction currently being held by Ofcom. The telecoms watchdog expects the first rival 4G services to launch in May.

[Source: CNET]

4G EE comes to 9 new towns from Southend to Sunderland

Nine more towns just had their mobile data speeds given a kick in the pants as EE, Britain's first 4G network, expands its 4G LTE coverage.

The lucky nine are Amersham, Bolton, Chelmsford, Hemel Hempstead, Southend-on-Sea, Stockport, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield and Wolverhampton.

That makes a total of 27 towns and cities covered by EE, the phone network formed from the merger between Orange and T-Mobile. EE promises more towns will also be connected by the end of March, including Bradford, Coventry, Rotherham, and Watford, and West Bromwich.

Mobile coverage is never entirely certain so whack your postcode into EE's coverage checker before you shell out for a 4G contract.

EE has drawn flak for its pricing, or more specifically the amount of data you get for each pricy contract. The network responded this month by adding a new cheapest tariff and a 20GB data deal.

The latest addition to EE's LTE line-up is the new BlackBerry Z10, announced yesterday and on sale today. Other phones and tablets that connect to the Web pretty darn quick include the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

[Source: CNET]

UK 4G auction kicks off today, here's how it works

Regulator Ofcom has given the green light to the UK's 4G auction plans, kicking off the first round of bidding that will see networks including Vodafone, O2 and EE splashing the cash in order to secure new chunks of spectrum.

If you're imagining a crowded auction chamber with lots of gavel-banging, your fevered imagination is a little wide of the mark. Ofcom explains that the process will involve a 'combinatorial clock' format, in which would-be buyers say how much they'd be prepared to pay for combined chunks of spectrum at set prices.

The 'clock stage', which starts today, takes place over a number of rounds, with the watchdog raising prices for bits of spectrum that are in-demand in each subsequent round.

The bidding stops when 'demand matches supply', or in other words, when the amount bidders are happy to pay has stopped climbing. Ofcom then goes through a round of supplementary bidding, in which prospective owners can give a 'best and final offer' on any bits of bandwidth on the table.

Ofcom decides how much each bidder will ultimately pay for spectrum, with each party paying the minimum amount necessary to trump competitors. Just like with eBay bidding, you wouldn't necessarily pay as much as you are ultimately prepared to pay.

In the final stage, winners bid for precise frequencies of spectrum and then finally competitors get to take home some glossy new bandwidth, with which to launch 4G services. Ofcom expects it to be "a number of weeks" before the final winners are known.

The key question currently is how much cash the auction will raise for the UK. £3.5bn is expected to be raised, but we may be in trouble if the final sum is less, as the government has already factored a £3.5bn payout into its budget predictions.

[Source: CNET]