Canada’s Wireless Industry Launches National Stolen Device Blacklist

http://www.protectyourdata.ca/2013/09/canadas-wireless-industry-launches-national-stolen-device-blacklist/


New consumer look-up service will help Canadians protect themselves from purchasing pre-owned devices reported as lost or stolen
OTTAWA – September 30, 2013 – The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) and its wireless carrier members today announced the launch of a national blacklist of wireless devices that have been reported as lost or stolen. As announced last fall, Canada’s wireless carriers committed to implementing the blacklist to assist law enforcement agencies with their efforts to combat the theft of wireless devices.
Beginning today, the authorization of any GSM, HSPA, HSPA+ or LTE wireless device on any participating Canadian carrier’s network will include verification that the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of the device has not been reported as lost or stolen on that network or any other participating Canadian network as of September 30, 2013. The blacklist will also include devices that have been reported as lost or stolen by US carriers that are connected to the GSMA IMEI Database.
“Canadians are among the world’s fastest adopters and heaviest users of sophisticated smartphones,” said CWTA President & CEO Bernard Lord. “Not only will this national blacklist help to make their smartphones a less valuable target for criminals, but the industry has also taken steps to help Canadian consumers identify if a pre-owned device has previously been reported as lost or stolen.”
To help protect Canadians when purchasing a wireless device from a private source, the ProtectYourData.ca Web site now features a convenient tool that allows Canadian consumers to simply enter the IMEI number of a wireless device to find out immediately if that device has been blacklisted in Canada. If the IMEI number has been blacklisted, that device will not be able to be used on any participating Canadian network. The consumer look-up feature, the first of its kind in the world that utilizes the GSMA IMEI Database, will include blacklisted devices that have been reported as lost or stolen as of September 30, 2013 and beyond.
“On behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), I would like to commend the CWTA and its members for their rapid response to implement this much needed public safety tool,” said CACP President Chief Constable Jim Chu. “Less than a year ago, we identified to the CWTA the seriousness of cellphone theft and the associated violent crime which was of growing concern to law enforcement and communities throughout Canada. This important action by the industry will have a direct impact on reducing this gratuitous crime.”
ProtectYourData.ca is also a hub of information where visitors can find numerous resources about the critical importance of protecting the data on their smartphones, as well as how to help protect themselves from becoming a victim of device theft.
It is imperative that customers contact their service provider to immediately report a lost or stolen phone to have their device deactivated. It is only when the device has been reported that the service provider can then add the device to the blacklist. All instances of personal theft should of course be reported to local law enforcement as well.
Protect Your Data. Protect Yourself. is an industry-led initiative designed to help ensure that Canadian wireless users have the information they need to keep their personal information safe and secure, and to promote the safe use of wireless devices.
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA)
CWTA is the authority on wireless issues, developments and trends in Canada. It represents cellular, PCS, messaging, mobile radio, fixed wireless and mobile satellite carriers as well as companies that develop and produce products and services for the industry. (www.cwta.ca)
BACKGROUNDER
GSMA IMEI Database
The GSMA maintains a unique system known as the IMEI Database (IMEI DB), which is a global central database containing basic information on the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) of millions of mobile devices that are in use across the world’s mobile networks. The IMEI is a 15-digit number that is used to identify a wireless device when it is used on a mobile phone network.
The IMEI DB also supports what is known as a “blacklist”. The blacklist is a list of IMEIs that are associated with mobile devices that should be denied service on mobile networks because they have been reported as lost, stolen, faulty or otherwise unsuitable for use. The IMEI DB acts as a central system for network operators to share their individual blacklists, making it possible to prevent devices denied service (blacklisted) by one network from working on other networks even if the SIM card in the device is changed.
For more information about the GSMA IMEI Database, visit: http://www.gsma.com/technicalprojects/fraud-security/imei-database.

 

BlackBerry quarterly loss hits $965-million as revenue plunges

Not too much to say more …

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/blackberry-set-to-report-second-quarter-results-this-morning/article14563529/

BlackBerry Ltd.’s losses from a dismal quarter have come in at $965-million (U.S.).
The company released the final tally for its fiscal second quarter early Friday morning. Having only sold 3.7 million smartphones during the three-month period ending Aug. 31, BlackBerry posted a loss of $1.84 per share – far worse than most analysts expected, but in line with a preannouncement last week that gave investors the headline numbers from one of the worst quarters in the company’s history.
Of the total loss in the quarter, $934-million came from unsold BlackBerry smartphone inventory. The number of unsold phones was particularly high in part because the company decided not to recognize sales of certain BlackBerry 10 devices until they were sold through to consumers. Previously, BlackBerry counted sales when it shipped the phones to its retail and carrier partners, not when they were sold on to consumers. The company also took a $72-million charge related to restructuring costs and a previous round of layoffs.
Revenue for the second quarter was $1.6-billion, down 45 per cent from $2.9-billion in the same quarter of fiscal 2013, the company said.
“We are very disappointed with our operational and financial results this quarter and have announced a series of major changes to address the competitive hardware environment and our cost structure,” said Thorsten Heins, President and chief executive officer of BlackBerry, in a statement.
“We understand how some of the activities we are going through create uncertainty, but we remain a financially strong company with $2.6-billion in cash and no debt. We are focused on our targeted markets, and are committed to completing our transition quickly in order to establish a more focused and efficient company.”
The earnings results wrap up one of the most tumultuous weeks in BlackBerry’s history. One week earlier, the company’s stock price plummeted after BlackBerry prereleased some of the headline numbers from the most recent quarter – almost all of which were far below what even the most pessimistic analysts had predicted. BlackBerry also revealed it will cut 4,500 jobs, or roughly 40 per cent of its global work force, as it desperately seeks to cut costs.
This week, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. – the Canadian investment firm that is already BlackBerry’s largest single shareholder – said it had signed a letter of intent to buy the company for $4.7-billion, or $9 a share. However Fairfax has yet to reveal where the funding for the deal is coming from, and in the days since the initial announcement, BlackBerry shares have dipped below the $8 mark, indicating that investors are not convinced the deal will go through.
Both Fairfax and BlackBerry appear confident in the deal, however. On Thursday, Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa told The Globe and Mail he is certain that funding for the buyout will come through, and that interest from potential partners is strong.
A day earlier, BlackBerry announced it will not be holding a conference call on Friday to coincide with its quarterly earnings release, in light of Fairfax’s letter of intent. Such calls are usually standard for most public companies.

The stream of negative news has all but overshadowed the release of a new flagship BlackBerry smartphone, the Z30, announced earlier this month.

TELUS adjusts US roaming packages as well, pricing going down

TELUS stated that “The new US travel combo passes have dropped significantly with savings of up to 55 per cent depending on the package. For example, with TELUS’ previous US combo travel pass, customers would pay $100 for 150 airtime minutes, unlimited SMS, 100 MB and now customers pay only $45 for the same package – a savings of $55.

Here are more details:

http://mobility.telus.com/en/QC/us_travel/index.shtml

US Travel Passes

Value and Flexibility!

Get the best value on US calling, texting, and data services with low overage rates.
IDEAL FOR ANY TRIP TO THE US
  PRICE PASS INCLUDES OVERAGE FREE INCOMING TEXTS SAVINGS OVER PAY-PER-USE RATES
US Text Travel Pass 15 $15 100 texts $0.50/text Included Save $45
US Combo Travel Pass 25 $25
Calls
Text
Data
50 min
150 msg
50 MB
Calls
Text
Data
$0.50/min
$0.50/text
$0.50/MB
Save $390
US Combo Travel Pass 45 $45
Calls
Text
Data
150 min
Unlimited
150 MB
Save $930
US Combo Travel Pass 65 $65
Calls
Text
Data
300 min
Unlimited
300 MB
Save $1885

US Travel Pass Details

US Travel Passes are valid for 30 days from the time it is added to your account.
US Travel Passes and pay-per-use rates cover travel in the US, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.
Free incoming text messages apply to US Travel Passes only when travelling in the US, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.

Pay-Per-Use

Plan to keep US usage to a minimum? Pay-per-use is the way to go with TELUS everyday low rates.
CALLS TEXT DATA
(EMAIL, WEB, APPS)
$1.50/min 60¢/msg
(sent or received)
$5/MB

CRTC issues annual report on the state of the Canadian communication system

Ottawa-Gatineau, September 26, 2013 — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued the 2013 edition of itsCommunications Monitoring Report, which provides an overview of the Canadian communication system.
“This year’s edition of the report contains a wealth of information and is intended to assist those that participate in our public proceedings,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “It is interesting to note that Canadians’ habits are evolving. More Canadians than ever are watching and listening to content on their computers, smartphones and tablets, yet the vast majority of programming is still accessed through traditional television and radio services.”
“While Canadians generally are well-served by their communication system, the Commission must remain vigilant and responsive to emerging trends and issues,” Mr. Blais added. “Canadians in rural parts of our country, and especially in the North, do not enjoy the same telecommunications services as those living in urban centres. We are working to provide those Canadians with an even greater choice.”
Canadians are accessing more content on different platforms
In 2012, Canadians spent almost the same amount of time listening to the radio and watching television as they did the previous year. They listened to an average of 17.5 hours of radio each week, compared to17.7 hours in 2011. Canadians also watched an average of 28.2 hours of television per week, down slightly from 28.5 hours. Collectively, they watched 931.3 million hours of television per week, 48.9% of which were Canadian programs.
At the same time, more than two out of four Canadians owned a smartphone and more than one out of four owned a tablet. Canadians used these devices, as well as computers and laptops, to access programming on digital platforms.
Thirty-three percent of Canadians watched Internet television; typical users watched 3 hours of Internet television per week, an increase from 2.8 hours in 2011. Six percent of Canadians watched programming on a tablet or smartphone, while 4% report watching television programming exclusively online.
In addition, 20% of Canadians streamed the signal of an AM or FM station over the Internet, 14% streamed audio content on a smartphone, 13% streamed a personalized Internet music service and 8% streamed audio on a tablet.
Overall, anglophones spent 20.1 hours per week online, while francophones spent 13 hours per week online.
In 2012, the broadcasting industry contributed $3.4 billion to the creation and promotion of Canadian programming, an increase of $263 million from the previous year.
Canadians are adopting smartphones and faster Internet services
Canadian families spent an average of $185 each month on communications services in 2012, compared to $181 the previous year. In particular, Canadians consumed more wireless data and subscribed to Internet services featuring higher broadband speeds.
Wireless services
Over 99% of Canadian households subscribed to either a wireless or home telephone service.
In 2012, there were 27.9 million Canadian wireless subscribers, an increase of 1.8% in one year, with an average of two wireless subscriptions per household. During the previous four years, the number of new subscribers had grown by an annual rate of 6% to 9%. Canadian families spent an average of $67 per month on wireless services, up from $61 the previous year.
While the three largest wireless companies accounted for 92% of all revenues, the smaller wireless companies increased their market share from 4% in 2011 to 5% in 2012. The reach of faster wireless networks, known as Long Term Evolution or LTE networks, continued to spread across the country. The number of Canadians that could access these networks jumped from 45% to 72%.
Home telephone services
Fewer Canadians had a traditional telephone in their homes, as the number of residential subscribers decreased by 2.1% to 11.9 million in 2012. Over the past five years, Canadians have made greater use of other technologies to communicate, resulting in the loss of more than 1 million telephone lines. During the same period, subscriptions to wireless services increased by 5.8 million.
In 2012, Canadian families spent an average of $35 on home telephone service, which was less than the $37 they spent the previous year.
Internet services
In 2012, Canadians subscribed to faster Internet services and spent more time online. By the end of the year, 79% of the 13.9 million households in Canada had an Internet subscription. The percentage of households that had download speeds of at least 5 megabits per second rose from 54% in 2011 to 62% in 2012. Canadian families spent an average of $31 per month on Internet services, which was slightly more than the $30 they spent the previous year.
Television services
In 2012, the number of households that subscribed to basic television service increased by 1% to 12 million. Over 68 percent of Canadians television subscribers obtained this service from a cable company, 24% from a satellite company and 8% from companies that deliver television programming over telephone lines (known as an Internet Protocol television service). Canadian families spent an average of $52 per month on television services, which was a few cents less than what they spent a year earlier.
Communication revenues surpass $60 billion
Overall revenues for the communication sector surpassed $60 billion for the first time in 2012, growing 2.3% to $60.7 billion. Revenues generated by broadcasting services increased by 1.4% to $16.8 billion, while those generated by telecommunications services climbed 2.7% to $43.9 billion.

Greater cooperation between CRTC and Competition Bureau to better serve Canadians

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com100/2013/r130925.htm#.UkRBNdKKt8F

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, September 25, 2013 —The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Competition Bureau announced that they have signed a Letter of Agreement calling for closer cooperation between the two agencies. 
The agreement, among other things, calls for the sharing of best practices through joint training exercises of employees and knowledge transfer sessions, and provides for the creation of an employee exchange program.  The agencies have committed to semi-annual meetings between senior management to discuss further avenues for cooperation and collaboration.
“This agreement will allow us to build upon our longstanding relationship with the Competition Bureau in areas of mutual interest,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC.  “Through our combined efforts, Canadians will continue to have a choice of competitive, innovative and affordable broadcasting and telecommunications services.”
“The signing of this cooperation agreement will allow us to further strengthen our commitment to competition in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors,” said John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition. “We look forward to continuing to work together towards our mutual goal of benefitting Canadian consumers by ensuring access to services at competitive prices.”
Both agencies exercise complementary roles in reviewing merger transactions within Canada’s communication industry. The CRTC is responsible for enforcing theBroadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act, while the Competition Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food), the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

AT&T says “not enough room” for fourth telco in Canada: BNN report

TORONTO – U.S telecom giant AT&T decided against expanding north of the border citing “not enough room for four players in Canada”, according to a report aired Tuesday by BNN anchor Howard Green.
In a confidential memo obtained by BNN, a highly-placed telecom industry source wrote that AT&T had looked at Wind Mobile and Mobilicity “in detail” and passed.  BNN also reported that AT&T, Vodafone and Norway’s Telenor have all considered bidding for wireless spectrum in Canada.  Telenor is a 33% owner (with 43% voting rights) in Vimpelcom, the company that owns Wind Mobile.  Both AT&T and Telenor declined to comment on the BNN report.
The report added that a third person knowledgeable about the matter says an overseas foreign telco inquired about the upcoming spectrum auction, but was counseled not to bother. That source declined to identify the company.
U.S. carrier Verizon was believed to be interested in bidding for wireless spectrum in Canada in the 700 MHz auction which is scheduled for January, but its CEO put an end to those rumours earlier this month after the company announced it was purchasing Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless for US$130 billion.

The deadline to register for the 700 MHz spectrum auction was yesterday, September 17.

BlackBerry to Slash Workforce by Up to 40%

BlackBerry came out with a couple solid pieces of news today with the announcement of the 5-inch Z30 and a release date for BBM for Android and iPhone. However, lurking behind this all is a dark shadow of possible thousands of job cuts.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, ‘people familiar with the matter’ have Waterloo-based BlackBerry preparing to slash upward of 40% of its employees – that’s about 5,000 jobs – and will happen ‘in waves’ across all departments. BlackBerry declined to comment on the specific number, only that “Organizational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing.”
BlackBerry axed 5,000 employees last year, plus recently cut 250 in July, then another 100 in August. Repeatedly they’ve stated “we are in the second phase of our transformation plan… Our evolution as a company is ongoing and is in no way easy.”
Perhaps this is one step that is needed for a possible November sale, or being split into several parts (OS and patents). BlackBerry recently announced plans to “explore strategic alternatives” that could lead towards a “possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions.”
http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/18/4744360/blackberry-could-cut-up-to-40-percent-of-workers

Shaw Media launches new TV Everywhere product, Global Go

GlobaI Go will live stream the network 24/7 via web, iOS or Android platforms on smart phones, tablets and home computers anywhere in Canada, plus let viewers catch-up on entire seasons of more than 20 shows for up to 60 days after the finale (versus the 2-3 episodes which are currently available for catch-up).  Those shows include the likes of Rookie Blue, NCIS, Elementary and Hawaii 5.0.  It also includes a two week look-ahead schedule, and an interface with intuitive search and social integration features for sharing via Twitter and Facebook.
“We’re pleased to be the first conventional broadcaster in Canada to offer TV subscribers access to in-season catch up episodes of their favourite shows,” said Paul Robertson, Shaw Communications’ group VP broadcasting, and Shaw Media president, in the press release. “Canadians will love the flexibility and accessibility of Global Go and the platform provides new opportunities for our advertisers and distribution partners. It’s a solid step forward in our TV everywhere offering and in the coming months we are looking forward to working with our partners to roll out more anyplace access to our premium brands.”

Global Go launches September 12 initially with Shaw, Shaw Direct, Cogeco, Telus and Eastlink and Canadian Cable Systems Alliance distributors.  It will also be available through these partners on their set-top box video on demand (VOD) and on-line portals.

The upcoming 700 Mhz Canadian spectrum auction – 1 day before the deadline

WIND and Eastlink to participate in the upcoming 700 Mhz spectrum auction
The deadline for those to submit deposits is tomorrow (September 17th at noon) and it’s expected that the Big 3 will participate, but today WIND Mobile has confirmed they’ll make their presence known.
Wind Mobile stated that “WIND Mobile would like to announce its intention to enter the 700 Mhz auction. We have long maintained that there is a dire need for additional wireless spectrum in Canada to ensure the long-term success of any independent wireless provider. WIND Mobile has grown into Canada’s fourth national carrier, with over 650,000 subscribers, and we have no intention of stopping now. We would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our long-term commitment to Canada and we look forward to bringing true mobile freedom to more Canadians.”
Looks like WIND is here to stay and determined to be Canada’s 4th national wireless carrier. In addition, the ‘over 650,000 subscribers’ is new. Last month they announced their Q2 numbers reached 620,451 – which is an increase of 30,000.
Public Mobile announced their participation in the 700 Mhz spectrum auction back in June, but there’s no word yet on Mobilicity.

East coast regional wireless carrier Eastlink has also confirmed its participating in the upcoming wireless auction in January. Lee Bragg, EastLink’s CEO, confirmed they’ll make their mark and bid for spectrum, stating “I would definitely like some 700 MHz spectrum… That’s likely all I’m allowed to say.”

Bell cuts U.S. roaming rates

Bell said Monday that due to customer demand, it will cut the prices of its most popular plans for United States mobile data, voice and text roaming by 50%.  

Effective today, the cost for its 30-day travel bundle will drop from $50 to $25 for a specified amount of calls, text and data, while the add-on package for heavy users will cost $20, down from $40.

“During the summer, Canadians told the federal government that they support wireless competition and strongly believe the wireless rules should be the same for all carriers, Canadian or international”, said Bell Mobility president Wade Oosterman, in the announcement.  “But Canadians also told us that they want to use their smartphones a lot when they travel, and they want the price to come down. We heard you and today Bell is cutting in half the cost of mobile roaming where Canadians travel the most: the USA.”

Bell hinted that it may also cut roaming fees for other countries as well, pledging to renegotiate its agreements with its other international telecom suppliers.