Mobilicity Incorporates Reverb Networks’ SON System in Wireless Network

by Istvan Fekete on October 1, 2014

Mobilicity, the wireless startup that has been under creditor protection during the past year, has chosen to take a major step by partnering up with Virginia-based Reverb Networks to integrate the latter’s Self-Optimizing Network (SON) system nationwide. The SON system will be deployed in five major cities across Canada.

The struggling wireless carrier was said to have run out of cash in the spring, so this comes as a surprise move, although the SON system is aimed to reduce daily operational costs as well as help improve customer experience.

Mobilicity is present in five urban areas in Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. By partnering up with Reverb, the carrier is taking a step toward an improved customer experience, although we cannot estimate how long Mobilicity will be able to resist or how much time it will take to find a buyer.
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Social Network Ello bills itself as yet another anti-Facebook

by Matt Klassen on October 1, 2014

I would wager a guess that most rank-and-file Facebook users don’t give a second thought to the control that the dominant social network exerts over their lives, for if there’s one brilliant thing Mark Zuckerberg and Co. have accomplished, it’s convincing the world that Facebook is the way social networking should be done. In fact, the company has done this so well that Facebook has become synonymous with social networking, almost forcing us to think that the firm holds the keys to the social networking world. Fortunately for us, that’s far from the truth.

In an effort to break the world free from its Matrix-like Facebook captivity a new social network launched recently, one that touts a true social experience, without ads, without information collection, without turning its users into its product. In fact, resisting the urge to turn its users into a commodity to sell to advertisers seems to be the entire marketing backbone of Ello, a minimalist social network currently in beta testing that has billed itself as yet another anti-Facebook.

While it’s clear that the invite-only site is the flavour of the month when it comes to fringe social networking, I have to wonder if it will have anymore staying power than the anti-Facebook social networks that have come before it. Remember Unthink? Of course you don’t, as its social revolution is still under construction more than three years after appearing on the scene. Simply put, if you’re looking for a Facebook alternative, there are several reasons why Ello is not the answer you’re looking for.

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TheTelecomBlog.com’s Top 6 Posts for September 2014

by Matt Klassen on October 1, 2014

1. The Downside of BYOD: Understanding the Risks for Employees

When the BYOD—Bring Your Own Device—movement caught on several years ago it seemed like a win-win situation for everyone involved; employers could cut costs on providing technology to their employees, and employees were able to reduce the number of devices they were expected to use as well as actually use a device they actually enjoyed using. But, as seemingly with all trends that blend private and public life, there’s a catch, one that could ultimately cost users all their personal data.

One of the ongoing issues with BYOD, however, has been security, and many companies have responded to this challenge by implementing security protocols, including the capability of remotely wiping a compromised device of its contents. This becomes a problem when we realize that most of our favourite gadgets don’t segregate business and personal data, and without such demarcation when a phone or tablet is wiped, everything (including those cute pictures of your kids) goes with it.

2. New Apple Products Present Greater Security Challenge

For years Apple has offered email, messaging, and calendar services, but as the company’s September product event demonstrated, the Cupertino Company is morphing into something it wasn’t before: a serious data company. In addition to its new iPhones, the company unveiled a number of new services that have immediately vaulted the firm into another stratosphere when it comes to handling user data, particularly its mobile payment system Apple Pay and its health and fitness tracker.

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CRTC Starts Hearing to Examine Wholesale Mobile Wireless Services

by Istvan Fekete on September 30, 2014

This week will be a busy one for the CRTC, as it will investigate the country’s wholesale wireless mobile services market. The hearing has been preceded by a report on the current state of the market, which found aspects that don’t necessarily back up competitive claims: although the market share of incumbents dropped 1% last year compared to 2012, they still control 90% of the wireless market.

Since the small carriers rely on the network built by the Big Three when their customers travel in areas outside their coverage, their pricing packages depend on the wholesale roaming price the incumbents charge them. A previous investigation revealed that incumbents sometimes charge their smaller rivals higher rates for using their infrastructure, so in the light of a possible fourth national wireless player, wholesale roaming rates have become a timely question that needs to be solved as soon as possible.
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Privacy vs. Public Safety: FBI takes issue with enhanced mobile security

by Jeff Wiener on September 30, 2014

While the debate between user privacy and public safety and security is nothing new to the mobile world (as Blackberry is well aware), the fact that both Google and Apple have employed enhanced default encryption standards to Android and iOS respectively means that the debate is taking on a new life, one that sees user privacy now getting the upper hand over data accessibility by law enforcement agencies.

To that end, FBI Director James Comey went public last week with a strongly worded criticism aimed at Google and Apple, claiming that the new encryption standards go too far, as now law enforcement agencies have no avenue, even with a court order, to access the information on these devices. The concern, by extension, is that an entirely protected mobile world only truly favours the law-breakers, offering a safe communication haven for terrorists and kidnappers. Without access to mobile data, Comey warns, lives will be lost.

Unfortunately though, in the wake of the NSA Prism scandal this entire privacy vs. public safety debate has become entirely skewed towards privacy, as the concern of users and tech companies alike is now the unwarranted intrusion of Big Brother. But while enhanced encryption standards have all but eliminated the threat of unwarranted intrusion, have things gone too far, should privacy protection inherently allow for warranted (court ordered) access by law enforcement?

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Tech Start-up Unveils Wrist-Mounted Bendable Phone

by Matt Klassen on September 30, 2014

As tech companies start to play (some on purpose and some accidentally) with flexible and bendable wearable technology many are wondering what the future of wearables will actually look like. As CNET writer Eric Mack notes, the running joke surrounding wearables “has been something about awkwardly strapping a computer or a phone to your body,” an inelegant and uncomfortable marriage of technology, fashion, and, well, our bodies.

But while most initial attempts at creating wearables have sought to product sleek and sophisticated devices, the problem, notes tech start-up Arubixs, is that you can’t really do anything practical with them. So the up-and-coming tech firm decided to do something about it, crowdfunding its own project that seems to make that ever-present joke about wearables a reality.

To that end, the San Francisco based Arubixs has designed a flexible screen phablet dubbed “Portal,” a device that is mounted on one’s forearm through the use of a dual-strap arm cradle. While initially I would say that this crowdfunded project is nothing short of ridiculous it harkens back to my misguided prediction regarding the entire phablet phenomena, meaning perhaps there’s some brilliance hiding behind this obscenely gaudy tech accessory. [click to continue…]

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After Years of Uncertainty, Wind Mobile Starts Expanding its Network Again

by Istvan FeketeSeptember 29, 2014

The biggest of all Canadian wireless startups, Wind Mobile, is apparently on the right track: the years of uncertainty are over, as its previous majority shareholder, the Russian VimpelCom, has sold its stake in the carrier. Anthony Lacavera, Wind’s CEO and co-founder, bought VimpelCom’s stake for $135 million and assumed $150 million in debt. Lacavera [...]

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Apple’s “Bend-Gate” Scandal Continues Tradition of Faulty Design and Passing the Buck

by Matt KlassenSeptember 29, 2014

While Apple fans have come to expect inspiration and illumination from their iPhones, their implicit desires for their newest toys are much more practical and down-to-earth. You see, while Apple users think they want a sleek, inspiring design, what they really want is what we all want from our smartphones: durability and reliability. If we’re [...]

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Cogeco Cable Proposes That CRTC Back MVNOs to Increase Competition

by Istvan FeketeSeptember 26, 2014

Cogeco Cable Inc. announced that it will make recommendations to the CRTC on the future of mobile wireless services in Canada during the public hearing held by the regulator on September 29. In an effort to boost competition in the wireless market, the government has been pushing for a fourth national player, instead of fostering [...]

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Google Finally Taking Climate Change Seriously

by Matt KlassenSeptember 26, 2014

I’m not sure what has changed over the last five years or so to suddenly lead an increasing number of technology firms to now admit that climate change may actually be real, as opposed to the liberal fear-mongering we’ve been told it is up until now, but don’t think I’m about to complain about the fact [...]

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