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 Last Words Archives: 1 / 2001,  2 / 2001,  1 / 2002,  2 / 2002,  3 / 2002,  4 / 2002,  5 / 2002,  6 / 2002,
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Last Words, 3/2003 Archive


Time for Wire-free mobile phones. (31/03/03)

Notice: Before you call an emergency number from a mobile phone, please check your location first. Determining where each caller is takes time and slows down the emergency service. Also check that your network is able forward your number. Some network are still not passing the caller identification on emergency calls. Even if you phones caller ID is normally turned off, the network should pass it on in a case of an emergency. Read the New York Times article. (31/03/03) The New York Times Logo

USA Today logo

War in Iraq: U.S. intelligence is using telephone spamming in Iraq as part of the war effort. At the same time main communications hubs are been bombed. U.S. officials say they have intercepted telephone calls between Iraqi generals. Surely Iraqis intelligence is also intercepting all important telephone conversation. Read the USA Today article. (29/03/03)

US House of Representatives As predicted US congressman Darrell Issa introduces a bill which gives preferences to US companies in reconstruction of Iraq. This mandates use of US based CDMA cell phone technology. Issa's earlier press release has more details.

Quick reminder: In the US, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, and T-Mobile have chosen to deploy a GSM-based technology, and Motorola and Lucent (still) supply GSM networks. In the rest of the world numerous companies supply and operate CDMA networks. A lot of companies (Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung etc.) outside the US hold CDMA patents. Both GSM and CDMA are truly global.

According to Issa CDMA cell phone technology is widely recognized as technically superior to "French/German" GSM technology. Anyone working in the industry will notice how one-sided these views are and contain a lot of misinformation about mobile network technologies, history and current status. One will also wonder if people of Iraq will have anything to say what will be built there. El Reg, as always, has a great article about it and also points out that Qualcomm chipped in $4,500 for Issa's 2002 campaign.

mobitopia     Mobitopia post and discussion, Slashdot post and discussion
Issa's press release   (28/03/03)

Parking message on my good old Nokia If you want to go to one of my favorite beach, the Bronte Beach in Sydney Australia, you can pay your parking via SMS system. Telstra is trialing with the local council ten solar powered SMS parking meters.

System is great! Except the parking fee went up, and it only works with one of the five 2G networks in Australia, and it only works if your are post-pay customer and if you are not a roaming customer. Because the parking system does not except coins there are always enough parking spots and because you can not top-up, traffic wardens are quite busy in the area.

I tested the system and it actually works well. It is easy to use, you get the warning SMS when the time is about to expire and conviniently parking fee appears on your next phone bill. I would like to more of SMS, Bluetooth or manual entry mobile payment systems, but it is a chicken-and-egg*) situation. When there are only few potential customers, operators charge large fees, do not bother to work with each other or train customer, and a mass roll-out of mobile payment systems will have to wait. Hopefully 3G will be a catalyst for more rapid deployment of mobile payment and micro payment services.
(27/03/03)      *) The egg actually was first, trust me on that!

Hangzhou, the capital of China's Zhejiang province, does not seem to have mobile network (signaling?) congestion problems. Businessmen who put up illegal advertisements which contain mobile numbers have become the target of the computerized phone-spammer. Local officials have a new system which rings those phones at 20-second intervals.

It is strange that police is just not handing them fines, disconnect their phone numbers and confiscate their mobiles. In other countries police has spammed stolen phones with short messages, which does not load the network much. Read the ZDNet article. (25/03/03)

The Department of Communications and Computer Engineering at The University of Malta in association with Vodafone Malta Ltd has launched a Progett Gardjola - an initiative to inform the general public about Radio Frequency Radiation.

EMF Probe measures electric field averaged over 6 minute periods and these readings are reproduced in graphs online. Site has also picture of their probes and base station sites - real nice and educational. This is what general public needs to see more and learn from it. (24/03/03)

When driving past new 3G base station site you can not help wondering how long will that stay there. For example according to Australian Taxation Office, mobile communication assets have a following life span:

Base station antennas, battery backup, radio transmitter/receivers and rectifiers
6 years
BSC, MSC, microwave equipment hardware
10 years
Towers, shelters
25 years
Computers, general
4 years
3 years

And considering that 3G operators typically have a 15 to 20 year license, increased communication infrastructure will be part of our landscape permanently. We just have to decide how the installation should be done to blend antennas in to the existing surroundings and not littering our environment.   (24/03/03)

The New York Times Logo
Mobile phone etiquette gaffes. Everyone knows it is annoying when a mobile phone rings in an important meeting, and it still keep on happening again and again and again ... - Some companies are getting fed up with it. Now who said using jammers is illegal? Read the New York Times article. (22/03/03)

The Chronicle of Higher Education Get your free mobile phone now! All you have to do is to roll in to Marshall University. Read the The Chronicle of Higher Education article. via (22/03/03) logo

A short text message can kill your mobile phone! Just couple of weeks ago another phone was found to be vulnerable to DoS attacks. These problems will become an epidemic very soon!
Read the article. via (20/03/03)

It's not easy to find privacy these days. Phone bugs were found in EU building and France's Le Figaro newspaper blames the US. Read the BBC article. (20/03/03) BBC Logo

The Register logo
Another SMS spammer gets fined in the UK. This is becoming a trend! Do people still believe that you need to call a premium rate number to claim their "400 reward"! The Register has the story. (19/03/03)

Boom time for one phone sex company in the USA! BellSouth service line was mistakenly listed as phone sex line number in 50 million residential phone books. Read the Miami Herald article. (19/03/03) miami herald

Northampton Chronicle and Echo
Man gets arrested for selling illegal mobile phone jammers. Internet is still full of sites selling same devices. I can understand why people would consider jammers to be handy in a car or in an entertainment venue. Northampton Chronicle and Echo has the story. via (18/03/03)

havN prob w sht msg lngwij? Try dEz DxtnRE dEz o transl8rz.

Yahoo logo
Warning: If you drop our mobile phone in a toilet, do not try to retrieve it. The Yahoo story. (15/03/03)

Phone will eventually know when you are too busy to answer. Hopefully phones can also tell how important the incoming call is!
Read the Reuters article (13/03/03)

The Register logo
Note: If you buy a prepaid SIM for cash without an ID, you can still be traced! And they do not need your IMEI either.
The Register has the story. (13/03/03)

Five interesting concept phones from IDEO! Social Mobiles won a 2002 Grand Prize in the 2002 Media Arts Festival of Japan's Agency of Cultural Affairs. via (12/03/03) Social Mobiles

BBC Logo
Here is an example how so settle mobile radio network arguments. TeamTalk and MCS Digital resolved their long standing dispute through an arm-wrestling contest. Read the BBC article. (11/03/03)

Are you praying for the good time to come back to the telecommunication industry? (09/03/03) Saint Clare of Assisi

st petersburg times
Just remember, 911 calls are free and work faster than messaging your friends if your in rafting trouble. Elsewhere, more good news for rafting crowd: Cellular News reports that Ericsson has been granted a patent for a cell phone that will float in water. Read the St Petersburg Times article. (08/03/03)

During the 1990s GSM operators in Australia were unable to agree how to deal with now up to 2000 stolen phones per week. In 2000 Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) started a program to create the Find A Phone database which people could subscribe to, to track their phones if lost or stolen, but it stopped working because of lack of co-operation from the carriers. 19/07/02 AMTA cancelled the co-operation with privately owned company Find A Phone Pty Ltd, because AMTA thought it was not "efficient" way, but did not make this known to general public.

29/8/02 Find A Phone Pty Ltd re-launched on their own the Find A Phone service. Find A Phone service cost $20 per phone to register and the plan was that people could also call in to check their phone status at the cost of $1.95 per minute. Australia has about 11 million mobile phone customers with about 5 million new, replacement, used and gray imported phones added yearly. For this service to work efficiently, most of the subscribers need to be in the system. You can do the maths - Nice business plan.

It looks like people did not think Find A Phone was a fair deal. Last week web site traffic was re-directed to web site. No link to the web site is provided, as requires you to contact them first and comply with their conditions before linking to them is allowed. ;-)

Now Find A Phone Pty Ltd phone lines are disconnected and Phone Choice Pty Ltd did not return phone calls, but I managed to get an email from the person who registered both sites. According to him Find A Phone Pty Ltd is gone out of business, now news what happened to their subscribers.

Meanwhile AMTA, Mobile Carrier Forum and Australian police started a Mind your mobile campaign. Now law enforcement agencies deal directly with network operators. According to AMTA two of the carriers are already in the system and the third one joins next month. Now that is good news!

I hope The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) updates their Consumer Bulletin 13 about Find A Phone services real soon.    (06/03/03)

immobilise The UK mobile phone industry and police started an initiative designed to stop the mobile phone crime. With all UK mobile phone networks now sharing information on a single database, stolen or lost mobile phones are blocked across all UK networks making them useless even if the SIM card has been changed.

Unfortunately this comes ten years late and only in a single, isolated country. Stolen mobiles will now start crossing the English Channel. Too bad that in mid 1990s operators decided it is not worth building a global IMEI database for stolen phones. This helped operators to sell more subscriptions and enabled cost savings in maintaining IMEI black and grey lists. Less people were required to deal with police and customer management, and vendors were happy to just sell more new phones. Operators did not need to build international signaling links or add already high network signaling loads. Network vendor(s) would not have made much money from a single global database anyway. And the best of all, call setup times were shorter as IMEI checking was not really used.

In 2000/1, the estimated number of mobile phone thefts [in UK] was 710,000

Anyway this is a better that Australian mess.

Read the Immobilise press release. (05/03/03)

cnn logo
Confessions via SMS declared void by Catholic Church. Sinners would have to do it the old fashioned way, face-to-face with the church vicar. Read the CNN article. (05/03/03)

More unusual mobile phone chargers! Read about the Boot Charger for military applications. (05/03/03) USB charger

cnn logo
Bible college has dropped 666 prefix recognized as the biblical mark of the beast. No word who gets their old number. Read the CNN article. (04/03/03)

My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we usd 2 go 2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :-@ kds FTF. ILNY, its gr8. (04/03/03) Sun Herald

Telstra 3 TV add
Hutchison is about to launch the first WCDMA network in Australia under the brand 3. The competition is working hard to get press headlines and Telstra even launched a TV campaign featuring 3 (dead link). $333000 worth prizes (dead link) include 3 x Audi A3, 333 x 3 hotel nights, call 1800 03 03 03; offer has nothing to do with 3G. Telstra's TV add on the left! (01-03/03/03)

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