No longer just a phone – payment goes mobile

We’ve become accustomed to our phones being more than just phones – they’re cameras, music players, contact managers and general computers. Increasingly you can also use your phone to pay for small amounts, in much the same way as we’ve become used to contactless credit and debit cards.

And in many ways it’s more secure to use your phone. For example, Samsung Pay uses an encrypted digital token to replace card information and protect against fraud, and also utilises Samsung’s KNOX security platform to protect both hardware and software. Samsung Pay supports linking to a wide range of cards including MasterCard and Visa. Although it’s not available on all Samsung handsets, it is being rolled out across more devices. It’s currently available on the S8/S8+, S7/S7 edge and S6/S6 edge, and being rolled out to the A3 2071 and A5 2017.

If you’re on iphone, Apple Pay works inside the Wallet app in much the same way. It’s secure and easy to use (and if you have an Apple Watch you don’t even need to take your phone out of your pocket!)

 

Free EU mobile roaming…almost

Today is the day when you’re now free to roam across the EU with no additional charges. This has been a long time in the works, but finally you can concentrate on your business (or your holiday) without worrying about racking up enormous charges – the rates you pay will be the same as if you were at home in the UK.

So why the ‘almost’? Well, firstly, it’s worth noting that there are some exceptions to the rule which won’t impact on most people, but it’s worth being aware of all the same. EU operators are within their rights under their agreement to impose a ‘fair use’ limit on data – so if you are on a plan with either unlimited data or data at very low rates, then there is an outside chance that you could be penalised. The official wording is: “Mobile operators may apply fair, reasonable and proportionate control mechanisms to avoid abusive use of these rules.” So if you’re a very heavy data user it could be worth checking to see if the operators in your destination countries have set a data limit. In any case, excess data charges are capped at €7.70 plus tax (this will drop each year until it reaches €2.50 in 2022).

Secondly, for the roaming charges to be waived, you must be resident in your home country for a minimum of eight months per year. Obviously for most business or personal travellers this isn’t an issue (who wouldn’t object to a holiday lasting more than four months?!) – but for anyone, for example, on a foreign contract which lasts for more than four months then this could be an issue.

A full explanation of limits, charges and definitions can be found here.

And thirdly, this is only an interim situation. With the UK due to leave the EU in 2019, we may lose these rights completely. Our wonderful politicians are giving the impression that they haven’t quite worked out the fundamental issues of the single market, freedom of movement or the economic consequences of Brexit, so it’s unlikely that they have considered the impact of Brexit on mobile roaming! Enjoy the current situation for as long as you can!

How often do you breach your data limits?

How closely do you monitor your and your staff’s data usage? You may see significant differences between users, due to different usage habits or different settings on their handsets.

A recent survey by comparison website Broadband Genie showed that one in ten users exceeeded their data usage each month. Whilst this was a consumer survey – and we would except many business mobile phone users to be more on top of their usage – we often come across businesses who struggle to find the time to manage their staff’s usage, ending up with unwanted charges from the network. Read More …

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus launched

As Samsung’s flagship models, you can be sure they incorporate all the latest features which many business mobile users require. Are these the phones for you?

The thing you first notice is the screen dimensions – which, whilst larger than the S7 and S8, scarcely make the handsets any larger than their predecessors. Samsung call these ‘infinity screens’ – they take up virtually the entire front of the phone, with no home button, which is now a ‘virtual’ button under the touch screen. Fingerprint recognition is moved to a sensor on the rear (and there is also the option of iris recognition. Read More …

Blast from the past: the new Nokia 3310

Do you remember the Nokia 3310 (pictured below)? That classic design launched in 2000 which went on to sell more 126 million units? Well, it’s back.

Well, not quite. But the new owners of the Nokia brand, HMD, think that they have spied a niche and, who knows, they may be right. Launched this month at MWC 2017, the updated version of the classic mobile will be available this summer at an estimated price of £45-£49. What do you get for that? Read More …