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The road to 5G is clear after Three fails with Ofcom spectrum appeal

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5G

Ofcom can now crack on with the first spectrum auction with 5G ramifications after Three’s final attempt to change the bidding rules was thrown out of court.

The network had argued the cap on 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum purchases was too high, claiming it would allow the biggest players like BT/EE to obtain too much control.

The proposed cap enables individual networks to acquire a maximum of 37% of the available spectrum, but Three wanted it reduced to just 30%.

Now the Court of Appeals has dismissed Three’s case, the auction will now take place in April after a delay of more than six months.

The bands available in the forthcoming auction will improve the existing 4G LTE infrastructure, while the 5G-friendly 3.4GHz band will help the networks prepare for the 5G rollout in 2019/2020.

Related: 5G phones

In a statement Ofcom said (via The Inquirer): “The Court of Appeal has very firmly rejected Three’s application for permission to appeal on all grounds.

“We welcome this decision, and will now press ahead with releasing these important airwaves. This new capacity will allow mobile companies to offer more reliable reception, and to prepare for future 5G services.”

Harming competition?

Three expressed disappointment over the verdict and rejected claims its actions were delaying the rollout of 5G in the UK.

It wrote: “First of all this has not caused any delay to the delivery of 5G services to UK consumers which are not expected to rollout until 2019/20, according to Ofcom. But more importantly, our appeal is about competition in the UK mobile market and spectrum distribution is the single biggest factor in maintaining a competitive market.

“We still believe that a 37 per cent cap is too high if the policy objective is to have a competitive four-player market and we would like to see it set at a lower level in the future.”

Do you think the terms of the auction are fair? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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Tinder to allow women to choose whether men can message them first

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hands free tinder

Women on Tinder will soon be able to choose whether men can make the first move.

The company is working on a new option that will give women the right to choose whether members of the opposite sex can start a conversation.

The Tinder app works on the premise of users being matched up by liking each other’s profiles before any contact is made.

However, once mutual admiration is established, the lines of communication are opened through messaging. This is where it can get uncomfortable for some users, who might have swipers’ remorse.

The market-leading dating app is following the lead of Bumble, which was founded on this concept. Whereas the feature is standard on Bumble, Tinder plans to give women the choice.

“The feedback that we’ve heard is that women don’t always want to be forced to make a move, so we want to give people the ability to choose,” Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg told MarketWatch.

Related: HomePod review in progress

“Often, women don’t really want the pressure of kicking off the conversation, but if they want it, that’s great. Giving people the choice versus telling people how to engage is the big difference.”

Ginsberg, whose company owns Tinder, Match.com and OKCupid, says the move will help to “curtail bad behaviour, any negative behaviour or advances, and inappropriate communication.”

Right now it seems the option will only be option to heterosexual women, but it may prove to be a feature all Tinder users may be interested in.

Bumble applauded the move with a statement reading: “We applaud any company making business decisions that empower women.”

Do you think Tinder is making the right move considering the current climate? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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The Facebook Portal speaker no-one asked for may land in July with 15-inch display

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William Iven (@firmbee) / Unsplash

Facebook is planning to launch two smart speakers with massive 15-inch displays this summer, according to new reports.

The Echo Show rivals will be premium audio devices according to a report from DigiTimes on Wednesday.

One of the devices, codenamed Aloha and Fiona, will likely be the high-end Portal speaker rumoured during CES in January.

According to today’s report, the devices will feature touchscreens built by LG Display and feature Facebook’s own, yet-to-be-revealed Alexa-like personal assistant.

That 15-inch display is more than double the size of the 7-inch display sitting within the Echo Show, but what could it be used for?

Related: Amazon Echo Show review

Amazon Echo Show

According to today’s report it will offer video chat, support voice commands and, naturally have a heavy focus on social networking. It’ll also offer facial recognition technology thanks to a wide-angled lens on the front of the device, the report says.

Facebook Watch portal?

Initial reports last summer claimed Facebook was working on a speaker that would make it easier to make video calls and to view photos on a larger display and now it appears to be coming to fruition.

Given Facebook’s recent expansion into original video content, via the Facebook Watch platform, this display could also act as a dedicated screen for watching shows.

According to a report from Cheddar back in January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care whether Portal ‘generates a profit’, he just wants to ‘change user behaviour and encourage phone-like usage’. That report said the speaker was going to cost $399.

Facebook’s pending arrival on the scene follows a big push from Google at CES 2018. A host of smart displays, from the likes of Sony, Lenovo and LG, which are based on the Google Assistant, are coming this year.

Would you be excited for a Facebook smart speaker? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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The Best Business Card Printing Services

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After 20 hours researching 13 business card printing services, and testing seven of them, we think Vistaprint is the best option for most people looking for professional-looking business cards. Vistaprint’s print quality is among the best we tested, its website offers the best design and ordering experience, and you can order a run as small as 100 cards. You can design a card from scratch or choose from an extensive variety of premade templates—more than almost any other site we looked at—and Vistaprint offers a range of card stock and finish options.

Apple HomePod Review: It Only Sounds Great

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Apple’s HomePod is the best-sounding wireless smart speaker available, and you can control it by voice using Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri. But the HomePod is worth considering only if you’re an iPhone owner and a subscriber to Apple Music (or are willing to be)—don’t buy it if you want to keep streaming Spotify. It does a lot of things right, but because it also has a long list of flaws, we don’t believe it’s the best smart speaker for most people.

Sky and BT win Premier League rights, but Amazon and Facebook could still pounce

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Anfield

Sky and BT are once again the big winners in the battle to secure the UK broadcasting rights to Premier League football, but there remains an opportunity for US tech giants to pounce.

The new accord, which will run from 2019-2022, is worth £4.464bn, but only accounts for five of the seven available packages.

As of now, the total is slightly lower than the 2015-19 deal, which brought in £5.14bn. However, it is likely to surpass that figure once the final two packages have been sold.

Package F (featuring 20 matches from one bank holiday programme and one midweek fixture programme) and package G (20 matches from two midweek fixture programmes) are still up for grabs, with neither BT, nor Sky, planning a bid.

Open goal for tech giants?

BT and Sky reportedly opting out leaves the door open for the likes of Amazon, Facebook or perhaps even Netflix to snap up some of the live action. Recent speculation has suggested one of the firms is willing to make a big splash and shake up the scene in the UK.

Both Facebook and Amazon have experimented with live sports in the past, with the former latter splashing out $50m on NFL Thursday Night Football games during the 2017 season.

If the tech firms do jump in, there might be an opportunity for UK fans to watch at least some live games without paying BT or Sky. Amazon offered the NFL streams to Amazon Prime members at home and abroad, for example.

Related: New NOW TV box unveiled with voice search

In terms of the traditional broadcasting partners, not a great deal will change moving forward. BT will only show 32 live games on Saturdays at 12:30. That’s package A and has cost BT £895m in total.

Sky has taken all of the other packages, including Package C which includes 24 games at 14:00 on Sunday and eight Saturday night games, kicking off at 19:45.

Sky has also won Package D, which includes Monday night games and Friday night games. It has also retained the rights to the Sunday 16:30 kick offs and eight more Sunday 14:00 kick offs.

Overall, Sky is actually paying £199m less than it did in 2015 (£4.176bn), but will have the rights to broadcast two more games per season (126 in 2015, vs 128 in 2019) when the new accord kicks in.

Fans can look forward to 32 additional live games a season as a result of the new deal. Unfortunately, not a single one will be on free-to-air television.

Do you think its fair live top-flight football has been absent from free-to-air TV since the Premier League began in 1992? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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