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CRTC challenging telcos over additional fees for paper billing

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The CRTC has announced a pro-consumer initiative that’s takes aim at both telecom and broadcast companies and how they sometimes charge customers an additional fee for receiving a paper bill.

The CRTC today declared today that it will start meeting with various Canadian organizations to discuss the practice of charging customers an additional fee if they opt in to receive paper billing versus an electronic bill. The CRTC notes that “there is a wide variation in how companies approach paper bill fees.” Most Canadian wireless carriers note on their site that “If you choose to receive a paper invoice, a $2 fee (per invoice) will apply.” However, some carriers have opted to discount the fee based on the number of additional services you bundle in.

As of November 2013, 36 companies stated they don’t charge fees for a paper bill, while 27 revealed they do. “There is no consistent practice across the industry,” said the CRTC, and its approach is not taken into account the specific circumstances of some Canadians.” The Canadian regulatory body said they are challenging the “communications industry to come up with a clear and predictable approach” to address this consumer issue. The paper bill fee reportedly ranges between $0.99 to $5.95 per month for paper bills.

Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman, said, “We are concerned that not all Canadians have a reasonable choice when it comes to paper bill fees for communications services. We are challenging telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies to come up with a comprehensive approach that will enable Canadians to make informed decisions. We are prepared to explore regulatory options if the industry fails to find an appropriate approach.”

SourceNewswire
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Google begins Material Design push with new version of Play Store

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As leaked last week, Google has begun rolling out what a company representative calls the “first rollout phase” of the new Play Store. One of the first self-proclaimed Material Design apps, Play Store 4.9.13 works essentially the same as its predecessors, but sports a brand new content view.

The first thing one will notice is the showcase YouTube video is front and centre, right above the title. Strangely, friends who have previously downloaded the app are right below the title, while the Description and Changelog have been combined into a single area; the latter is prominent on apps that aren’t downloaded and the former on apps that are local.

All elements of the app have been overhauled, including the Music, Movies, Newsstand and Books.

(more…)

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Fleksy 3.0 adds store for premium themes, new interface

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Fleksy has been making a relatively big splash in the Android keyboard market over the past year, owing to its unique gesture-friendly input method.

The company has announced that Fleksy 3.0, available today, will provide a new user interface and premium themes through the Fleksy Store, similar to what SwiftKey offers.

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BCE announces plans to take Bell Aliant private

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BCE, Bell Canada’s parent company, has announced plans to take its Bell Aliant subsidiary private. Bell Aliant owns a lot of Bell Canada’s services in Atlantic Canada and the deal will see Bell acquire the interest of Bell Aliant’s public minority shareholders for just under $4 billion.

Back in Q1, Bell’s interest in Bell Aliant was at 44 percent of about 229 million shares. According to the announcement made today, Bell will pay $3.95 billion to acquire the remaining 127.5 million common shares that are currently owned by public minority shareholders. Shareholders can elect to receive either $31 in cash, or 0.6371 of a BCE common share, or $7.75 in cash and 0.4778 of a BCE common share. The deal is expected to wrap up by end of November, which is pretty fast, but Bell already has management control of Bell Aliant and there’s no spectrum changing hands, so there’s no need for the usual regulatory approvals from CRTC and Industry Canada. (more…)

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MTS LTE coverage now reaches ‘more than 850,000 Manitobans,’ expands service into Swan River

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Regional carrier MTS is approaching 2-years of offering LTE speeds in Manitoba. The company went live on August 28th, 2012 and at the time LTE (Long Term Evolution) was only available in Winnipeg and Brandon.

Now, a couple of years later, MTS has dramatically expanded the coverage and reaches 97% of the province’s population, or “more than 850,000 Manitobans now have access” to these faster speeds. Of course, this is the complete coverage map and not a representation of how many customers MTS has hooked onto its LTE network – at the end of Q1 2014 MTS had 474,601 wireless subscribers. In addition, the company has expanded LTE service into Swan River (population of approximately 4,000).

MTS will be continuing to expand its LTE offering. The carrier also secured a prime block of 700MHz spectrum (C1) during the recent wireless auction for $8.8 million and has yet to announce when this will go live in the province.

Source: MTS

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LG’s Snapdragon 805-powered G3 shipping in Korea this week

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LG today announced that a Snapdragon 805 variant of its flagship LG G3 will go on sale in South Korea later this week. The news follows Samsung’s introduction of an LTE-A Galaxy S5 powered by Snapdragon 805 last month.

Like Samsung, LG is highlighting the Snapdragon 805’s modem in the name of the device. However, LG has shunned the LTE-A moniker and instead gone with the much catchier ‘Cat-6.’ The Snapdragon 805’s Gobi MDM9x35 modem is the first Category 6 LTE modem and uses two 20Mhz channels, paired or fragmented, for higher bandwidth areas. (more…)

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Microsoft FY14 Q4 earnings: $6.48 billion profit on $23.3 billion revenue, owns up to tragic Nokia loss

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Microsoft posted its fiscal Q4 2014 results today, and the mood must be good at the executive offices in Redmond despite an announcement of 18,000 job losses, most of which are from Nokia.

Indeed, Nokia was the major black spot on a fairly positive balance sheet. The company posted revenues of $23.38 billion (all numbers USD) and operating profit of $6.48 billion for an EPS of $0.55.

Nokia contributed just under $2 billion in revenue, but its 5.8 million Lumias and 30.3 million non-Lumias dragged down the EPS by $0.08 with an overall operating loss of $692 million. In comparison, Nokia sold 7.4 million Lumias in the same period a year ago, as well as 53.7 non-Lumias. (more…)

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Apple sells 35.2 million iPhones, records revenue of $37.4 billion for Q3

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Today, Apple announced quarterly earnings for the third quarter in its 2014 fiscal year. Back in April, the Cupertino-based company predicted revenue between $36 billion and $38 billion for Q3, about $8 billion less than its revenue for Q2. The company hit the middle of that range, reporting $37.4 billion in revenue. That amounted to a net profit of $7.7 billion (or $1.28 per diluted share) for the quarter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company’s record June quarter revenue was driven in part by strong sales for the iPhone. The company shipped a total of 35.2 million iPhones for the quarter, a substantial increase over the 31.2 million iPhones sold in the same period last year. (more…)

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