So much news, so little time…

by James Whatley on 25th September 2009

After yesterday’s triple whammy from Ben, Vikki and Dan, it’s time for me to stroll back into Really Mobile town with three stories of my own that I’ve been watching unfold from afar.

Andy Warhol would be proud

Snap, snap, snap...

You see, I’m in Pittsburgh at the moment and, along with a certain Vikki Chowney, I’m helping cover the G20 Summit with Oxfam for the G20Voice project.

However, not only is it the week that the leaders of the world come together and try to do something about the World’s biggest issues (namely: Climate Change), it is also the week that EVERY SINGLE THING IN THE MOBILE WORLD has decided to happen!

First off we had the announcement of a new MVNO from our friends at o2 called, and I kid you not, ‘giffgaff‘. I’ll come back to this shortly.

On top of that, yesterday we also had three, count’em, three mobile development days, with Vodafone, Google and Nokia’s Ovi all wanting to play with our codes.
Google and Ovi we can come back to, there’s nothing new there – Vodafone however, that’s a new one.
(see our quite possibly extremely exclusive UI video for more)

Finally, Nokia went and bought Dopplr (apparently).

Like I said, much too much to talk about, much too much going on and much too much to catch up on. Let’s get on with it shall we?

Got the goss on giffgaff?

giffgaff - bees make honey?

Riff Raff, sorry. Giff Gaff.. Sorry, giffgaff.
What do we have here?

giffgaff is a brand new mobile virtual network operator from deep within the bowels of o2’s HQ. The Really Mobile team had been invited to go along and meet the giffgaff team to see what it’s all about but, what with half of us out of the country and the other half up to their eyeballs with actual work, alas – time was not on our side.

From the press release and from the website so far we can gather that giffgaff will be the first ‘people powered’ network.
Let’s take another look at that release:

“giffgaff, which means ‘to give and receive’, will operate with a low cost base, without the overheads of high street stores, handset subsidies and running large call centres. It offers a simple SIM only tariff and a range of online tools to allow members to self-serve and suggest answers to each other’s questions in online user groups. As well as that, members will be rewarded for things like referring giffgaff to a friend or relative, creating user-generated marketing, or voting on business decisions. The more that members get involved the greater the reward and they will be able to get up to 100 per cent of top-ups back.
giffgaff members have a choice of what to do with their rebate; they can use it for mobile calls and texts, take the cash, or donate it to their preferred charity or fundraising group.”

So far so good, but aside from that details are thin on the ground:

The Q&A gives little away -

Launch? Before Christmas

Costs? We don’t know

Will it work in my phone? “It will work in any ‘unlocked’ mobile. Find out more about unlocking by searching on Google.”

Coverage? We use o2

Can I pre-register? Not yet.

I’m not being picky, I know some of the folk behind this launch, I just feel there’s not much to go on right now. I’m hoping that we’ll find out more when we get to sit down with one of the fourteen members of staff behind the service. That’s right, fourteen. There’s no phone line support if you have a problem and well, that’s about it.

What we can commend giffgaff for is the seemingly open approach that they’re taking with this ‘launch’. The ‘gaffer’ Mike Fairman, is putting himself front and centre of the network’s communications strategy and is asking for as much feedback as possible. Their blog pages are young and Mike’s twitter profile is gaining followers fast so, what happens next – who knows…

For now, we’ll file this under ‘one to watch’.
But for how long, we’ll wait and see.

I seem to have written a bit more than I thought I would, I’ll come back to Vodafone and Nokia later on today.

Stay tuned.

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