Mobile services

Eurobites: Ofcom Calls Time on Customer 'Loyalty Penalty'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: 3SS adds AI to the video mix; Insight TV pushes into MENA; the changing face of content consumption.

  • UK communications regulator Ofcom has introduced new rules that compel providers of broadband, phone and TV services to tell their customers when their initial contract period is coming to an end, and show them the best appropriate deals on offer should they want to renew. Between ten and 40 days before the contract period ends, service providers must send either a text, email or letter that spells out exactly where the customer stands, including how much more he or she will have to pay after the date of contract expiry, comparing the new price alongside the existing price. Those who choose to stay with their provider without signing up to a new contract will be sent a reminder every year about their provider's best deals. Ofcom hopes that these measures will address the problem of the "loyalty penalty," whereby customers who stick with the same provider for years and years -- for whatever reason -- end up paying more than they need to.

  • Germany's 3 Screen Solutions (3SS), a provider of software for Android TV set-top boxes, has joined forces with Dutch AI specialist Media Distillery to launch an AI-based platform that uses machine learning to offer greater "personalization" of video content. Media Distillery's AI bells and whistles have been integrated into 3SS's 3Ready front end, which can be used with smart TVs, set-top boxes, games consoles and mobile devices.

  • Netherlands-based Insight TV has launched its HD channel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region on My-HD, described by Insight TV as the "first and only" low-cost direct-to-home HD pay-TV platform in the region. All of Insight's TV content is filmed in 4K Ultra HD HDR and can be viewed on any device via insight.tv as well as through linear channels.

  • The changing landscape of TV content consumption is the focus of a new survey from Gracenote. TV Universe -- UK, Sweden, Germany: How People Watch Television Today studied the market for TV services in these three countries, which together account for nearly a third of the European Union's total population. Among the findings: online TV is on the march; free-to-air TV is gaining traction on mobile devices; and the big ol' TV in the corner -- increasingly a smart one -- is still the preferred device for video content in all three countries studied.

  • Parents, however, are increasingly worried about what and how much content is being consumed by their offspring via the magic of the Internet. With this in mind, UK pay-TV giant Sky has unveiled its Broadband Buddy app, which allows parents to pause the Internet, manage access to apps and websites, and track the location of their loved ones. The app works across iOS and Android devices and all mobile phone networks.

  • Internet peering service provider France-IX has launched PASS, a transport service and peering privileges offering that allows IXP members directly connected at one France-IX location -- Paris or Marseille -- to benefit from fast access to community members that peer at the other.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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