Mobile’s new best friends – playing nicely?

MDA AnalystsWhile the title of the annual market analyst forum suggested a certain current harmony between the cloud, social media and analytics, a series of analyst viewpoints indicated that the developing multi-device landscape might be a little more complicated.

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How to report online abuse?

reporting abuseWith recent high profile cases leading to public outcry for standardised procedures, the subject of online abuse has rarely found itself under such a spotlight.

How can online abuse be reported and managed?  Is it even possible?  What are the right questions to ask?  Where should the burden of responsibility rest?  Government, police and relevant authorities?  Website Owners?  Internet Service Providers?  Another body?

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Hardware step change and the reinvention of normal

easier for some than others.

With Christmas approaching and the tablet war currently in full swing, Amazon’s television campaign is pushing its products and services using the claim that it has ‘reinvented normal’. But as well as the online services that gradually seep into day-to-day habits, significant changes in media consumption produce significant emotions.  Manufacturers and vendors need to make us feel safe in our spending.

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most of us still on message

New Mobile Data Association (MDA) statistics released this week reveal that 11 million SMS messages are sent across the UK’s networks every hour.

Traffic will ebb and flow at certain times, but this average has been approximated after the release of the MDA’s Q4 2009 messaging statistics, aggregated from the mobile network operators.

The average daily count of text messages was up to 265 million in 2009, while the annual haul stood just shy of the coveted 100 billion mark, at 96.8 billion.

Certain times of the year and special events are revealed as being key for spikes in picture messaging use – and you might speculate that personal events also drive MMS use: weddings, newborns, or even for some, new shoes.

But the continued surge in mass use of mobile messaging, particularly SMS, gives clear evidence that it will not be usurped by alternative messaging forms for some time yet.

Social media platforms depend on a level of wider engagement which many people simply might not care for; whereas mobile messaging is an instant, reliable, one-to-one trigger-press.

All the relevant statistics from the report, together with reports from previous years, are held on

This post has been reproduced in part from an original, posted at the MDA blog.

WiMAX or LTE – what will connect us in in 2030?

As we slump over our cornflakes browsing a “newspaper” in the future (my bet is it keeps the term in the same way “video” has), how will it be reaching us? On our mobile device via 3G data? Using a Wifi connection? Or with a new adaptation: 4G, WiMAX, or even LTE?

Today WiMAX and LTE (Long Term Evolution) technologies are commonly spoken of with the same sweeping breadth as the digital coverage it hopes to attain. So it can be tricky to get a definitive handle on precisely what they are, how they’re being used and what we hope to achieve with them.

This was what I hoped to address by attending Wednesday’s WiMAX event at City University, London.

Jointly hosted by the MDA and the DCKTN (Digital Communications Knowledge Transfer Network), the line-up included a number of speakers who have been working at the coalface of these technologies for a number of years. Their full presentations can be accessed via the secure members area of the MDA site.

WiMAX Network Operator, Freedom4 opened with a number-heavy discussion of today’s 4G network and how it impacts the speed of CDMA and OFDMA data transmission through Mobile WiMAX, IMT-Advanced and LTE, amongst other media.

Graham Currier described WiMAX as a purpose designed high capacity mobile data access technology, taking advantage of Internet Protocol network scaling, flexibility and low cost.

Graham MacDonald of Intel, who make the enviable claim of being The World’s Largest Semiconductor Manufacturer, outlined the global WiMAX ecosystem.

With eleven globally dispersed Test Sites, Intel is supporting ubiquitous broadband coverage with a preference for today’s 4G, because LTE is not commercially available and won’t be for another two to three years.

Around 500 WiMAX trials and commercial deployments are currently in place across 141 countries in the world, whereas there are no LTE commercial deployments at all.

Spectrum, Intel believe, is the true enabler of a wireless broadband world.

Milton Keynes Council assigned Connect MK with the mission to raise active broadband use from 60-65% in 2007 to over 90% by 2010/11 through broadly enabling access to PCs and broadband. Adepteq, the company behind Connect MK, persuaded Microsoft to produce a Social Software Licensing Model which has led to PCs being loaded with a fully licensed operating system and loaned out at £1.50 per week. Freedom4’s widespread WiMAX solutions enable the service’s users generous connectivity.

Next up, WiMAX network operator, Airspan – a founding member of the WiMAX forum, explained how WiMAX might not be perceived as a 4G technology. And how you might argue that nothing is. It extolled the virtues of next generation technologies converging and accommodating both data and voice services for the masses.

How? Obviously by using Airspan’s cutting edge products.. Its smart applications included machine-to-machine communications, which will become increasingly topical with the approaching smart metering juggernaut, and embedding WiMAX inside devices such as cameras and Sat-Navs.

While the level of audience interaction, extended debate and conjecture was encouraging for the space, it also suggested many competing viewpoints in a space where assertive direction is needed for significantly progressive infrastructure.

Nobody really knows how these technologies and robust infrastructures will develop in the coming years, or how much cash is available to develop them. Or how much of a priority they really are. I left the event with more questions than answers.

– Will the development of voice technologies through LTE have the edge over data and WiMAX?
– Can WiMAX pilot projects encouraging digital social inclusion in marginalised areas, be transposed into larger cities?
– Or do they benefit from more flexible infrastructures allowed by unique, arguably anomalous locations such as the UK’s new town, Milton Keynes?
– Is consumer WiMAX more of an immediately compelling proposition for remote towns and islands than it is for large cities?

These were slightly narrower questions than those which I entered with: the sign of an informative and engaging event.

MDA delivers VAT-free charity short codes

The Mobile Data Association has announced a dedicated Charity SMS Short Code range (70xxx), together wth a framework for managing donations through the UK’s mobile network operators.

In short, this new standard sees VAT (Value Added Tax) waived on donations made to registered charities via text messages to specific numbers: the 70xxx short code range. Taxes usually charged by mobile network operators can be passed directly to charitable organisations, meaning roughly 10p in the pound extra for charities.

Previously, this charitable billing model had only been set up on an ad hoc basis – most recently by Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) and Buongiorno, who collaborated for this year’s BBC Comic Relief event. The charity’s supporters donated more than £7.8 million in this way.

Now, any five-digit SMS Text Message Short Code beginning with the numbers 7-0 (seven zero) will automatically be considered a charity code which can be allocated those eligible under the rules of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Mobile users will be able to donate a number of amounts up to £10.00.

Long term UK-wide recognition of charity short codes will depend on their adoption, promotion and advertising in association with charities and their brands.

decorate a marathon course with a 70xxx short code?

decorate a marathon course with a 70xxx short code?

Significant credit should go to our MDA stalwart, Operations Director, Martin Ballard, for coordinating efforts with the mobile operators, getting the appropriate signoffs (no easy feat) and seeing this through with HMRC.

In a BBC report, Joe Saxton, former chair at the Institute of Fundraising, predicted that text donations could reach £100m in five years time if charges came down to between 5p to 10p per text in total.

Despite Charity Short Codes operating on a commercial basis, and as such being open to incurring charges, Saxton said that the aggregator, “WIN, one of the companies that processes texts for mobile phone operators has agreed to process text donations for free.”

So perhaps other Tier 1 aggregators will follow suit.

Either way, this is just the breakthrough the charity sector has needed in order to kick on with the promotion of donating by mobile.

Long proven as one of advertising’s most effective direct call-to-action media, it’s high time for the charitable sector to enjoy the power of the mobile short code.


Further detail

Judging the eligibility of charities will be the responsibility of service providers, using the HMRC Charity Search facility. Organisations can register with HMRC directly for inclusion. Charity Short Codes will be allocated initially by the relevant MNO.

Mobile Network Operators and Mobile Data Aggregators, which have also been involved in the Framework’s development, will offer a normal commercial service which attracts VAT. Only the donation proportion of a mobile payment is VAT-free.

Discussions with the MNOs to broker the framework took place under the regular non disclosure agreement which the MDA has with them. Therefore, the framework needed to remain confidential until agreements had been reached and approved. There may be a period required for all aggregators to formalise an appropriate management process.

The full document, The Mobile Data Association Framework For Charitable Donations, can be downloaded from the MDA’s new website.

BBC Business website story

Telegraph website story

The Informed Traveller

Last week saw the Informed Traveller, a jointly hosted event between the Mobile Data Association and the UK Technology Strategy Board’s Location and Timing Knowledge Transfer Network.


Industry stakeholders gathered at Teddington’s National Physics share updates and insights into the state of play on travel-oriented location-based services.

Here’s a brief commentary of the event by Ovum analyst, Jonathan Green, which concentrates on the presentations delivered by Samsung and Google.

The Mobile Data Association
Location and Timing KTN