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Mobile World: South Korea warns of 4G curse


It is day two of Barcelona's Mobile World Congress. Visit this page throughout the day to catch up on all the news, views and videos from the BBC's team on the ground there.

Read all the action from Sunday and Monday here.


Near field communication (NFC) has been one of this year's big themes at MWC.

Samsung has signed a deal with Visa to help the tech take off as a way of making payments with a smartphone instead of using a credit card or cash; exhibitors have put up posters with NFC chips inside to trigger app downloads onto attendees' phones; and some of MWC's organisers have been equipped with NFC-enabled phones which open the doors to their hotel rooms.

But Rory Cellan-Jones is not convinced. He'll have a film explaining why later this week, but to preview the piece he's posted a new Tout.

image captionIt will take more than a few NFC-enabled posters to cure Rory of his scepticism


In a telling aside the boss of South Korea's biggest mobile network has warned his European counterparts that the shift to 4G might not bring them the riches hoped for.

"Our European colleagues complain that the explosion in data has not fully happened for them, that it did not come to reality," Suk-Chae Lee, head of KT Corp, told Reuters.

"In Korea, they are data crazy. We have unprecedented demand. We cannot handle it. But the issue we have is that they are not willing to pay enough. So, the fundamental problem is, can we make any money out of it?

"LTE is very beneficial to the people but still the big question remains: can we go on? It is a blessing to customers but it is a curse on the operators."

The news agency notes that about 30% of South Korea's mobile users have signed up to 4G subscriptions.

It's something for operators in the UK to chew over. Just last week they agreed to pay £2.34bn in an auction to make use of the 4G mobile spectrum.

image captionKT Corp's chief executive suggests making 4G's sums add up may prove difficult


More from Click's editor. Richard Taylor looks at some of the new headphones on show at MWC. One pair - from Jabra - has its own app to enhance sound quality while another builds magnets into its wires to prevent them from becoming tangled up.

image captionJabra is one of the many firms promoting smartphone accessories at MWC


Click editor Richard Taylor has been finding out about a new technology called WebRTC (real time communication) which could rival software such as Skype by offering users the chance to make video calls from within the web browser.

Firefox and Google are implementing it in their browsers and the technology is creating a buzz at the show. Find out more in Richard's Tout video.


OpenSignal, a firm which provides mobile coverage maps for 200 countries around the world has won a search to find the UK's most innovative mobile company. Its app crowdsources mobile signals and wi-fi access points.

Five finalists pitched to a panel of judges and the UK's minister for culture, communications and creative industries Ed Vaizey announced the winner at Mobile World Congress.

Other shortlisted firms included Skin Analytics which uses pictures of skin moles to help with the early detection of skin cancer, and Paddle which allows people to make payments online or via their mobile phone without having to remember passwords or key in delivery addresses.

The Smart UK project was backed by UK Trade and Investment, a government department set up to help UK companies succeed in the global economy.

image captionOpenSignal creates interactive maps using data from volunteers' smartphones


media captionRorry Cellan-Jones looks around the Connected City at Mobile World Congress

This year the organisers of Mobile World Congress have built a mocked-up city, complete with apartments, a hotel, restaurant and shops.

It is designed to show off how mobile is infiltrating all aspects of our life.

Rory Cellan-Jones has taken a walk around and seen some of the smart technology on offer, including voice-activated in-car apps, bikes that can monitor health, and smart home apps where temperatures and even pet feeding can be controlled via a tablet.


image captionNokia has partnered with MakerBot to allow users to print phone covers

Mobile World Congress is a place where deals are often brokered and this year is no exception.

US credit card firm Visa has announced a global tie-up with Samsung that will make it easier to use its smartphones to pay for items.

Analysts suggest that the deal could help boost the use of smartphone wallets, long talked-about but yet to explode.

Meanwhile, reflecting the desire of car-makers to get more involved in mobile, Ford has struck a deal with music streaming service Spotify to run the service on on its in-car app platform.

The app has drivers firmly in mind with features such as a Road Trip feature which allowed users to add tracks by speaking.

And in a nod to the growing importance of the Maker Movement, Nokia has partnered with MakerBot, a 3D desktop printer, to allow users to print their own smartphone covers.

Nokia's 3D printing development kit offers a 3D template and case specs for printing covers for its Lumia 820 and 520 handsets.


media captionSony boss talks about the future of the firm

Rory Cellan-Jones has been chatting to Sony boss Kazuo Hirai about his plans to turn around the struggling firm.

You can read more of Rory's thoughts - and his take on Nokia too - on his latest blog.


image captionThe Kibot2 robot: Toy and anti-theft device

No technology show would be complete without a cute robot and Dougal Shaw has been meeting one with some very contrasting functions.

The Kibot2, made by Korea Telecom, is designed for children. Its movements can be programmed from a laptop, and it runs educational games. But it also doubles up as a burglar deterrent.

If an intruder opens a window with a specially fitted latch, the robot will sound off an alarm. It will also send a text alert to the owner's mobile phone and record all the burglar's movements with its camera.

Watch his Tout video here.

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