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Vodafone says it can't offer free access to BBC Bitesize
by Paul Hill
Vodafone has told BBC News that it will not offer free access to the BBC Bitesize educational materials as BT, EE and Plusnet did last week. The mobile carrier said that its technical team have assessed the possibility of zero-rating Bitesize but concluded that it's not possible to offer free access without giving users free access to the whole of the BBC website.
Explaining why it’s not possible for Vodafone to do, the firm’s general counsel and external affairs director Helen Lamprell said:
Lamprell also said that, by zero-rating Bitesize, it would give the site an advantage over other education websites and could go against the firm’s legal obligations to maintain net neutrality. While Ofcom is mandated with ensuring net neutrality, Vodafone probably would have been safe from ramifications given that the closing of schools is quite extraordinary. Instead of zero-rating Bitesize, Vodafone has offered 350,000 free SIM cards to disadvantaged children to get them online.
BT told BBC that zero-rating Bitesize alone is technically difficult and can be costly, however, it affirmed that it’s not impossible to do which contradicts what Vodafone has said today. EE will offer Bitesize for free by the end of the month and customers will not have to register to take advantage of the offer.
Source: BBC News
RootMetrics says EE is the mobile carrier to beat in the UK
by Paul Hill
EE has announced that it came top in terms of overall performance in RootMetrics’ latest report. The report authors described EE as the “operator to beat, with fast speeds … and impressive 5G results.” In Metropolitan areas, including suburbs, EE got a RootScore of 100 while Vodafone, O2 and Three scored 48, 23 and 15 respectively.
EE was named the best carrier across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, offering the fastest speeds and the most reliable connection. Of the operators that were looked at, EE was the only carrier whose 5G median download speeds went above 100 Mbps in all the test cities. The company also topped the list when aggregate median download speeds across the whole of the UK were looked at; EE’s download speed was 43 Mbps, Vodafone scored 21.1 Mbps, Three got 13.9 Mbps and O2 came last with a median download speed of 12.9 Mbps.
Commenting on the findings, CEO of BT’s Consumer business Marc Allera said:
It should be noted that a lot of the data in the report is aggregated on a country-wide level. You may not recognise EE as the best provider if their infrastructure is poor in your area. RootMetrics said its data is based on 644,546 tests performed in 750 places around the country including in 16 metro areas.
By Jay Bonggolto
Samsung brings the Galaxy A12, A32 5G, and A02s to the UK
by Jay Bonggolto
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G Samsung announced today that the Galaxy A12, Galaxy A32 5G, and Galaxy A02s are coming to the UK. These phones were previously unveiled in the past few months and the latest announcement marks an expansion to their regional availability.
Starting today, you can purchase the Galaxy A12 (first unveiled late last year) for £169 via Samsung's channels and partner retailers in the UK. It's available in white, black, and blue color options. The Galaxy A32 5G, which debuted last week, costs £249 in black, white, blue, and violet color variants. It will ship beginning on February 19. Meanwhile, the Galaxy A02s is the cheapest among the three at £139. It will ship in the coming weeks in white and black colors.
Samsung Galaxy A12 All three smartphones have the same 6.5-inch HD+ TFT Infinity V display and 5,000mAh battery with support for 15W fast charging. The devices are powered by octa-core processors, although Samsung didn't specify each of the phones' chipsets. That said, we know from the company's previous announcement that the Galaxy A12 is powered by MediaTek's Helio P35 SoC.
Both the Galaxy A12 and A32 5G have a quad-camera setup on the back. The A12's camera module consists of a 48MP main sensor, 5MP ultra-wide shooter, 2MP macro sensor, and 2MP depth sensor. The A32 5G also features a 48MP main sensor, 8MP ultra-wide camera, 5MP macro sensor, and 2MP depth sensor. The A02S, on the other hand, has a triple camera setup on its back, comprising a 13MP main sensor, 2MP macro camera, and 2MP depth sensor. The selfie cameras of the A32 5G, A12, and A02s are 13MP, 8MP, and 5MP, respectively.
Samsung Galaxy A02s Memory-wise, the A32 5G and A12 have 4GB of RAM while the A02s has a 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage (expandable up to 1TB with a microSD card). The A32 5G includes 64GB of internal storage that's expandable up to 1TB while the A12 has either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage that's also expandable up to 1TB.
EE announces free data extension for NHS workers
by Paul Hill
The UK’s biggest mobile carrier, EE, has announced that it will be extending its offer of unlimited data for NHS workers until June 2021. With workers in the NHS being swamped with coronavirus patients, EE wants to make it easier for NHS staff to keep in contact with their families and friends who they’re being prevented from seeing as much.
The deal was initially started in April last year and was scheduled to run until October. In October, EE extended the offer again until January 31. As the country is currently experiencing a huge spike in cases, EE has now decided to keep the offer going until June.
Since the offer became available back in April, over 300,000 NHS workers have benefited from unlimited data. According to EE, the extended scheme can be worth up to £350 to each person who signed up at the start of the offer. Those looking to leverage the scheme can sign-up online using a valid NHS email address.
Commenting on the extension, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division Marc Allera said:
BT, the owner of EE, is also helping non-NHS workers that are affected by the pandemic. While it’s not offering other people free data, it did decide earlier in the week to zero-rate BBC Bitesize content in response to schools closing. This should allow parents that are struggling financially to at least give their children access to educational resources.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
UK's competition regulator is investigating Google's browser changes
by Usman Khan Lodhi
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced today it is launching an investigation into Google's plan to eliminate third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by 2022. The Mountain View firm's Privacy Sandbox project, which launched in March 2019, aimed to curb third-party cookies that allow bot fraud and track users across the internet. However, users would continue to receive relevant ads, helping to sustain the existing advertising model.
The UK's competition watchdog stated that its recent market study revealed Google's proposals would have a significant effect on publishers like newspapers, and the digital advertising market. Additionally, there are some other factors to consider, primarily relating to privacy concerns, which is why the CMA will directly engage with Google and other market participants. The announcement read:
The investigation has been started after receiving complaints from Marketers for an Open Web Limited, a coalition of publishing and technology firms alleging that Google is "abusing its dominant position" through the proposals. The CMA was already considering Google's project due to its radical proposals; however, after hearing complainants' concerns, it decided that the work should be continued in the form of a formal investigation.