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back to article New mobe operator slash Wi-Fi hotspotter launches in UK

Just when you thought the UK mobile phone business was pretty much settled along comes UK01, claiming its place as the sixth mobile phone operator and brandishing its own GSM spectrum to prove it. UK01 claims to be a real GSM operator, and has just signed a deal with Spectrum Interactive to put its GSM base stations into phone …

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Spectrum Interactive

I used a Spectrum Interactive hotspot once. It was the most expensive hotspot I ever used to the point where I don't think I will be staying in the Hilton Euston ever again. I don't see UK01 as being any competition for the established players.

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Rabbit

Do you remember those?

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Alien

Manna for Seventh Heavens

"We tried to speak to Mapesbury Communications to ask whether UK01 intends to expand its network, .."

Would more deeply embed its network be expansion or consolidation of Open Channel ReSource?

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Gates Halo

happen before

Anyone else remember Rabbit? They went broke... no one wanted a mobiel you ahd to "look for reception on"

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Paris Hilton

This old chestnut again!

Erm....Is this not the same deal as the old Rabbit phones back in the 80's, where you could only use them in sight of the signs!

Can't see it catching on myself....not when PAYG phones that work everywhere are so damn cheap now.

Paris cos there's something about rampant rabbits.....

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Inconvenient

So if somebody says that they'll phone me later, I have to hang around by a phonebox displaying the sign until they do ? Fine if you're a bored teenager prone to hanging around on street corners but a bit of a no no for the rest of us.

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Paris Hilton

Why?

Paris, for obvious reasons.

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Not Impressed

No map of where the 'locations' are, incomplete telephone numbers and to cap it all off, most of the images on the site are screen-grabbed from istockphoto!

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As stated, may be summed up in one word:

Rabbit. That shipment of fail arrived years ago although, since this one actually adheres to a standard, the client devices may actually be useful on other networks. I can't see anyone being happy to actually purchase a handset locked to what amounts to an outgoing only service, either. Who is going to hang around the Rabbit^HUK01 sign on the off-chance someone will ring them? Data is moot, too, since there will be a nice, handy WiFi hotspot at the same location.

No icon, which is exactly what punters will see if they move a few hundred yards up the road.

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Happy

Rabbit rabbit

My dad gave me a Rabbit rabbit mascot promotional cuddly toy back in the day - it's now a welcome addition to my niece's toys, so the company has left it's mark on the world in some small way :) ...

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Anonymous Coward

Mobile phone operators are all scum - here's to any competition

I doubt this service will be a success, but the mobile telecoms networks severly need some kind of competition.

The way mobile phones and services are sold are very customer unfriendly. All the networks play by the same rules, and there's little things they all do that I see as colluding to get the most money out of the customer base.... one of which is "free voice mail".

The customer is given a voice mail service pretty much no matter what contract or PAYG service you have. This means that if a customer doesn't answer their phone there's a good chance that the phone company will make at least the minimum call charge when the call goes to voicemail. And by giving a VM service to a customer, if that customer goes out of range of a signal and they get called, the caller goes to the voicemail.... instantly getting charged, whereas a digital Dorothy recording to say the called phone's unavailable is unmetered. The networks are able to monetize the areas of their networks where the signal is poor... Do you think they still have an incentive to fix the poor coverage? As all the mobile networks provide "free voice mail", they all get to benefit when calls between the networks don't get answered, as the customer pays for it no matter what.

If you have voice mail on your mobile, please turn it off. Just ring people back when you see "missed call".

There's a lot of people that feel their expensive contracts are worth it, and will rather frantically defend their decision to give 12x a lot to a major multi-national. And the funniest thing is that the defense usually starts with the number of free minutes, texts and bytes they get.... "free" things they only can get by paying the operator!

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beaten to it

Oh dear, definitely sounds like a crash and burn business plan just like Rabbit.

I dont care if they were GIVING calls away, its hardly mobile now is it?

UK01: the phonebox you carry with you.

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Correction.....

Hello,

a) This has nothing at all to do with WiFi, its only GSM

b) Unlike rabbit and others of that ilk, GSM allows handoff between cells, meaning that large contiguous areas of coverage can be created with ease.

c) UK01 is busy establishing roaming relationships with overseas operators, so that foreign users will be able to use UK01 coverage zones when in the UK, and UK01 sims will also be able to be used outside the UK.

d) Once these payphone located transmitters and other site portfolios are in place coverage areas will be clearly indicated on web site.

As ever comments and criticism welcome.

Regards

Magnus

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Alien

Bit surprising really.

I'm a bit surprised no one's tried this in Americaland yet. It seems like the kind of thing that I'd expect to be popping up in shopping malls all over the place, right along with those "prepaid cellular phone vending machines" we've got now where you whack a credit card in and it drops you some Nokia with some prepaid time loaded on it. Now let's just take that and make it only work within a couple dozen feet of one of the vending machines ;)

Actually I think a lot of judgement is being passed without reading the site. It looks to me like they're not selling equipment but rather expect you to select it on your existing O2/Orange/Voda/Tmo phone and place calls through it at reduced rates, kind of like a calling card for a landline. Although I still say it's a bad idea.

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UK01

UK01 have a low power GSM network, it's a REAL GSM network - the back-end infrastructure is the same as one of the big 4 (i.e. Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile), however running a small network allows them to be very flexible with their services. Currently roaming may not be there, but that's not due to UK01, but due to the current operators not wanting it.

This announcement just shows they now have the ability to install real-estate (phone boxes have telephone lines), so they can use IP/DSL for back-haul, installing street-ware is expensive and difficult - phone boxes are already there.

Installing localised GSM bubbles can be useful for various communities who'd normally used fixed line calls and buy calling cards.

In-building GSM is another route to market, so in the office the phone goes on to the UK01 network as though it's a PBX extension.

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Go

Of limited use in isolation - needs to be bundled in with other services to be viable

It strikes me that whilst clever and innovative, UK01 stands little chance as a stand alone service attempting to compete against the much more comprehensive major network operator services.

A better approach would be to seek a partnership with an operator with complementary technologies and capabilities, such as Truphone - the converged WiFi internet/GSM operator (who recently acquired leading travel SIM operator SIM4Travel recently. Working together, the UK01 offering could add a useful set of features and functionality to an already quite compelling business proposition!

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Phoneboxes?

Yes, phone boxes do have phone lines installed, but usually only the one. Who's boxes do they intend to use? I can't see BT being too welcoming owing to their tie-in with Vodafone (BT Mobile is an MVNO on Voda's network) and many competing services are only available in a few areas.

I like the tenacity of this new venture, but I think the chances of success are limited at best.

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Happy

Psst ...

Anyone want a Rabbit base station and handset?

I think they were technically 'CT1' technology (the predecessor to CT2 - DECT - which we use for home cordless phones now). I've got one in a cupboard somewhere if the price is right.

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