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Telstra launching Motorola RAZR M on October 30
Just weeks after it released the RAZR HD, Telstra has brought forward the launch of its compact sibling, the Motorola RAZR M. The handset will be available from October 30, with pre-orders available now.
Initially slated to go on sale in November, Telstra has brought the handset's release forward to the end of October, making the competitive run into Christmas even more interesting.
Available for $0 up front on the $60 plan or for $600 outright, the affordable handset is exclusive to the Telstra network until the end of the year.
The launch of the 4.3-inch qHD screened RAZR M marks a rapidly expanding 4G handset lineup for the Telstra network. The handset joins the RAZR HD, the Samsung Galaxy S3 4G, the iPhone 5 and the HTC One XL and Velocity in delivering super-fast LTE speeds.
With Australians clearly demonstrating their affinity for 4G services, we can expect to see more handsets join both Telstra's and Optus' 4G networks.
EE 4GEE business price plans announced
Mobile network operator EE have launched their new 4G tariffs for business and they're aiming to make 4G as affordable as 3G. Speaking to TechRadar EE's Mike Tomlinson, Small Business Marketing Director said "4G pricing is not a million miles away from 3G pricing. And the reason why we've kept the price close to 3G is that we want to make it available to everybody."
The new EE 4G service to be launched on October 30 will go live in 10 cities with a further six coming online before Christmas and they're aiming for 98% coverage by the end of 2013.
The new 4G business tariffs are split into a small sized business offering for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and another offering for businesses with 50 employees and more.
4GEE Small business offering
The small business tariffs, give small businesses unlimited free calls and texts but are differentiated through different levels of data, starting at 1Gb and rising in bands to 16Gb per month. If you're not a big data user, but want the speed and the better call quality, then EE have also produced a more basic £30 per month tariff, which offers 1Gb of data, along with 1000 minutes and 1000 texts per month. The £30 also hits a sweet spot in the current business phone market and competes directly with current 3G business offerings.
Additionally businesses are also offered a new 4GEE Call Sharer plan, which lets users share their colleagues' unused data, and includes inclusive calls to colleagues and landlines.
Large businesses can switch to a 4G service for just £3 a month on top of their existing plans, and data plans rise to 64Gb per month, they can also take advantage of the 4GEE Call Share plans.
EE are keen that they don't see bill shock headlines for the new 4G service and have built-in automatic warnings that are flagged when a user reaches 80% of their monthly allowance.
Additionally the new tariffs are flexible, if you find you're using more data you can shift up to a tariff offering more data a month, likewise if you use less then you can move down – although you can't move any lower down than the tariff you originally signed on.
Fast fibre to 11 million premises on launch
As well as the launch of 4G, EE also announced the role out of their fast fibre optic broadband service. The fibre service is through BT's fibre network and will be available to over 11 million premises nationally on launch rising to a 1/3 of the population by the end of the 2012, and 50% by the end of 2013. Prices start at £22 per month for a 38Mbps offering , with free off-peak calls and a free router.
EE 4G tariffs unveiled - £56 each month for 8GB of data
EE has finally lifted the lid on its impending 4G prices, revealing some pretty eye-watering costs.
The new service will be launched on 30 October, and will feature other treats such as free films weekly and fixed line fibre optic broadband.
The pricing for the new 4G service is the subject most people want to know about, and while it's not going to cause you to need a new mortgage to get involved, it's not exactly cheap either.
For just 500MB of data you'll need to fork out £36 per month, with 1GB costing £41 for the same term. 3GB will come in at £46, 5GB £51 and the top end tariff offering 8GB for 56 pound coins each payday.
It's worth noting that all these tariffs come with unlimited phone calls and texts, but when you consider you get unlimited data with T-Mobile's Full Monty plan for the same cost as 500MB on 4G, you have to wonder where the extra cash comes in.
Of course, with greater speed comes larger downloads, so unlimited data on 4G isn't something that would make a lot of sense at this stage, and of course this new billion pound equipment has to be paid for somehow.
But there will be a lot of consumers wondering why their data costs so much more for a faster connection – at least EE is going to give a free film to download or stream each week, without affecting their data allowance, and other films will start at 79p, rising to £3.99 for the most expensive.
Users will have the choice of 700 films at launch, with 200 new releases, however it's worth noting that all films will only be available in standard definition, slightly disappointing as the 4G handsets sport full HD displays.
On top of the 24 month contract, EE will also be offering 12 month SIM-only plans from November 9, starting at £15.50 per month all SIM-only deals include unlimited calls and texts.
Prises for the SIM-only plans will rise depending on how much data you want coupled with your tariff, more details on this will become available in due course.
If you're concerned about blazing through your new found 4G data allowance in a matter of days, EE has your back, as the network will send you a text once you've ploughed through 80% of your monthly allowance.
You'll receive another alert once you've used all your data, and it will offer you various data add-ons to see you til the end of the month - or you can opt out and stay data free until your balance resets.
Fibre optic broadband will also be on offer, with speeds up to 10 times faster than currently available in homes and offices.
The 4G service will also support tethering and VoIP telephony, although we can see most consumers veering away from these services if they don't want to impact their data allowance each month.
If you fancy taking EE's home broadband package and a 4G phone plan together you will be offered a discount of up to £120 on your phone plan.
All those that have taken out an Orange or T-Mobile contract in the last six months can jump onto the new network, with the option to upgrade to a 4G phone.
Virgin Media and BT legally oppose Birmingham broadband scheme
Superfast broadband pioneers Virgin Media and BT have taken legal action against Birmingham city council's plans to use public money to introduce a competing network.
The city has been awarded £10m from the government's super-connected cities fund, set up by chancellor George Osborne, which aims to improve speed and connectivity in the major urban areas.
Local officials had planned to spend the money on laying fibre optic cable throughout the region, but Virgin and BT say this will overlap their existing 100mbps+ networks and is hence a waste of public money.
A Virgin Media spokesperson said: "We believe it involves a significant overbuild with our network.
"It's a poor implementation of what is otherwise a sensible policy. It sets a bad precedent and sends a really bad signal to our investors."
The company insisted that it was giving the government-sponsored initiative its support, but only in areas where super-fast speeds don't already exist.
The spokesman added: "We fully support the Urban Broadband Fund and government ambitions to bring superfast broadband to areas not currently served by existing fibre networks. So it's disappointing that Birmingham City Council has put forward a scheme which is not in the interests of local people and we believe, as a result, the European Commission has made a decision based on inaccurate and misleading information which could waste public money."
BT has also confirmed that it is taking action against the scheme, given the green light by a European Commission, which the council has claimed could create up to 1,000 jobs in the region.
James McKay, a member of the council, said: "Birmingham is extremely disappointed in the decision to appeal this landmark ruling. The city has worked in a very positive and collaborative way with [the companies] over the last few years to help inform and develop our business case and we are surprised that they have now chosen to appeal at such a late stage."
The tech-friendly coalition government has made the roll-out of superfast broadband one of its highest priorities and wants Britain to have the best network in Europe by 2015.