On Thursday Samsung and Visa announced a new partnership under which the two firms will provide an NFC mobile payment solution before, during, and after the London 2012 Olympics. The two companies will release an Olympics and Paralympics Games mobile handset in London that’s equipped with mobile NFC technology, Visa’s payment application, and a special SIM card. Here’s how it will work: When you’re ready to make a purchase, you’ll just have to open the Visa application on your phone and then hold it in front of a special contactless reader. There are over 60,000 contactless readers already in London, and Visa says it’s continuing to work with banks and retailers to increase its NFC foundation. The NFC-enabled phone, with its Visa SIM card, will first be available to Samsung and Visa sponsored athletes, and it will also be available to consumers through mobile operators. It’s unclear what the phone model is, or how much it will cost. “This mobile payment device will be available in the UK initially, and we plan to expand the service to other countries in Europe and around the world where contactless payment facilities are available in the near future,” said Seokpil Kim, President & CEO of Samsung Electronics Europe. Visa is currently rolling out its NFC mobile payment program in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Brazil, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the United States. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Bell announces it will exclusively carry the Omnia II, the official handset of the 2010 Winter Olympics
As Bell and TELUS put the finishing touches on their Canada-wide 21Mbps HSPA network that is set to launch next week, press releases announcing their HSPA handsets are coming across the wire at a feverish pace. The latest to be announced is the Windows Mobile 6.5-powered Omnia II which is to be exclusive to Bell. Featuring a 3.7″ AMOLED WVGA display, 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS and 7.2Mbps UMTS/HSPA connectivity, the Omnia II is definitely a nice device that will make many a Canadian happy. And so it should, as Canadian’s patriotism will be tested when they see it in shops as it has been designated the “Official Mobile Device of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.” Why? Because Bell sure earned that right after it spent an insane $200mm for the right to be the official communications sponsor of the games. Pricing and a specific release date have not yet been announced, but the Omnia II will be available starting next month. Oh, and just for the record, no, we did not edit in the photo of the curling rock. Bell actually seems to be under the delusion that people in Canada enjoy curling. Tsk, tsk. More →
Yesterday morning we dropped some huge news regarding Rogers and its plans to deploy a new LTE network that will launch initially in Vancouver in time for the 2010 Olympics. We went on to detail plans for this new 4G network that go beyond Rogers’ high speed wireless data services to offer relief to its struggling cable network as well. We also revealed that our tipster said this information was gained from a conference call held prior to Rogers’ recent earnings call.
This is pretty massive news if it turns out to be true, however, we felt it needed a second look and a bit of background. The information we reported yesterday came from an anonymous source — one that we believe to have provided accurate information in the past — and he/she included some fairly solid audio evidence as well. We’ve discussed the post with Rogers and even went as far as to share a portion of the recording we received with them in an effort to get a clearer picture of its content. Following the exchange, here is Rogers’ official statement:
Yesterday’s post about Rogers’ move to an LTE network is inaccurate. Rogers did not participate in any such call.
With regard to the audio you shared with us, we do not recognize the voice of the speaker, but we can tell you that it is not an accurate reflection of our plans for LTE.
The audio in question is allegedly a recording of a web conference conducted for one or more Rogers board members to cover the company’s plans with regards to LTE. Rogers has now made its position regarding the audio known so in the interest of being open with our readers here at BGR, you should have the opportunity to hear what we heard. As such, hit the jump for seven minutes of exclusive audio of the alleged web conference.
Rogers recently held a conference call ahead of its earnings call and you knew your pals at BGR would have all the goods for you. The most interesting topic covered? LTE! That’s right Verizon, your buddies north of the border aren’t just going to sit back and relax while you go all 4G on us. Here are some key points regarding LTE from the Rogers call:
- Rogers’ LTE network is currently ahead of its development schedule
- Recent tests have yielded 50 Mbps download speeds without any sort of optimization (woo!)
- Speeds at launch are expected to reach 70 Mbps
- The initial launch of the Rogers LTE network will take place in Vancouver and the surrounding area, in time for the 2010 Olympics (February 2010)
- The service will launch with a USB stick – Rogers is still talking to vendors – but it has no plans to have any 4G-enabled handsets available at that time
- The Rogers 4G network will expand outside of the Vancouver area during Q2 2010
- Rogers will have 4G phones available by the end of Q2 2010 as it extends its 4G network
- Rogers noted that its 3G launch was a mess but it is taking measures to ensure that 4G goes much smoother
Beyond LTE, Rogers discussed its cable business and the fact that it is currently running near capacity. At the same time, it knows it needs to expand upon its available HD content so Rogers wants to merge its three internet systems – cable internet, 3G and its Portable Internet system. The process will be slow going however as the current 3G system can’t handle the additional load but by Q3 2010 Rogers will have a stable and widely-deployed 4G network that will be more than capable of picking up the slack. As that time Rogers plans to move its cable internet network over to the LTE network in order to free up cable for more HD.
This migration will obviously take a bit of time as it must be staggered to avoid major outages, but Rogers cable customers should at least be happy to know that Rogers is working hard to beef things up and give you a more up to date service offering. Beyond that, Rogers will be dishing out dual-network modems — cable and 4G — and you know you can’t wait to get your hands on one of those puppies. This will allow Rogers to slowly move its internet service from cable to 4G, eventually shifting everything to 4G and using cable as a seamless backup in case of outages.
TeleNav Navigator AT&T Navigator has recently been updated with expanded coverage for international navigation. You can now use your supported handset to find your way around any of 20 different foreign countries, all for the low price of $19.99/month. 20 countries isn’t the most comprehensive collection of nations we can imagine, but it’s a decent start. The list includes a number of western European countries, as well as many locations near the Olympic sites in Beijing, China. $20/month isn’t bad, and until we can get some turn-by-turn support on our new iPhones, we’re pretty confident that Telenav AT&T Navigator is one of the best handset-integrated solutions out there.