BT pays Phones4U administrators £120m for unpaid EE sales commission

BT has agreed to pay £120 million to the administrators of Phones4U to cover commission owed to the defunct retailer for EE contracts it sold before it ceased trading.

Phones4U entered administration in 2014 after EE and Vodafone all declined to renew their contracts, joining O2 and Three, in a bid to boost direct sales. This left Carphone Warehouse as the only major retailer where consumers could sign up for services from all four major operators.

Settled

Administrators PwC launched legal proceedings to claim the payments in December 2016, and an agreement was reached last week following the failure of BT’s own £200 million counterclaim that EE suffered significant losses because of Phones4U’s decision to close business before the expiration of their contract.

BT acquired EE for £12.5 billion in 2016. It acknowledged the payment in its full year and quarterly results published last week.

“On 8 May 2018 we reached a confidential agreement with the administrators of P4U to settle this matter,” it said. “This settlement is in line with the accruals we held to cover potential payments required by EE.”

The Telegraph, which first reported the figure involved, claims that PwC is considering separate legal action based on the claim that several mobile operators colluded to force Phones4U out of business. BT has denied such claims.

“Since 2015 the administrators have separately made allegations that EE and other mobile network operators colluded to procure P4U’s insolvency,” it said in its results. “We dispute these allegations vigorously and to date no proceedings have been issued.”

  • Check out the best broadband deals for May 2018 

BlackBerry Ghost listing on Geekbench shows Snapdragon 625 chipset

A new listing on Geekbench for the BlackBerry BBG100-1 might be the BlackBerry Ghost handset, which is expected to come to India soon. Achieving a single-core score of 698 and a multi-core score of 3656, the BBG100-1 runs on the Snapdragon 625 chipset. 

Listing on Geekbench

Qualcomm’s 600-series is meant for budget smartphones, and the Snapdragon 625 is probably one of the most extensively used chipsets. Though the Snapdragon 636, 630 and 626 are arguably upgrades to the 625, they’re also more expensive. Even when Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4, they had the Snapdragon 625 under the hood since the chipset manages power and battery efficiently. 

That being said, when the KeyOne launched in 2017, it also had the Snapdragon 625 and was considered unreasonably expensive at nearly Rs 40,000. The price of the BlackBerry Ghost hasn’t been revealed, but it should in all fairness, should be under Rs 20,000 with that particular chipset. 

On the other hand, the BlackBerry Ghost is also speculated to be a ‘premium’ device. The specifications in the leak don’t match up to those of a high-end smartphone. There’s a possibility that this may be a third, entirely new, variant of the BlackBerry Ghost, the other being BlackBerry Ghost Pro. 

Either way the company licensed to manufacture BlackBerry phones in India, Optiemus, is yet to launch a smartphone under their banner. Reports and rumours have indicated that status-quo will change in 2018, but the action on that front is yet to be seen. 

  • Leak shows BlackBerry ‘Ghost’ will be launched in India soon
  • Not just one, but two BlackBerry phones to hit the Indian market this quarter
  • BlackBerry KeyTwo takes another step closer to reality

Why shared hosting could be holding you back

Hosting is viewed by many as a commodity purchase – searching out the cheapest and quickest shared package. Providers can seem very similar to one another and the choice is often overwhelming. It’s difficult for customers to tell the difference between the packages on offer from different providers and the intangible nature of the product compounds the apathy of buyers.   

But times are changing, buyers becoming more educated and some becoming savvier with their choice of host – considering all of their options before committing their website to the clutches of the cheapest shared server. 

Tantamount in decision making should be security, reliability and speed. The risk of sharing the same physical server and resources as multiple users, while being commonplace, is nevertheless a concern when your organisation relies on its website and emails to function. 

The majority of websites don’t need much space, bandwidth or server resources, meaning they can fit in a tiny area of a server and that works fine for them. Perhaps they’ll never need to upgrade. But for others, the ability to increase their CPU, RAM and disk space is vital to the growth of their website and business. 

  • Check out our list of the best VPS hosting providers of 2018

For those in the know, virtual private servers (VPS) have become the preferred hosting solution, even for small to medium sized businesses. 

Liken it to travelling, a cheap shared hosting package is like being on a double decker bus at rush hour – standing back to back with lots of other commuters with no control over the route. By comparison, VPS is a private coach transfer – air conditioned, spacious and although shared by a couple of other people, there’s plenty of space and they aren’t affecting the quality of your journey. 

A VPS bridges the gap between the limitations of shared hosting and the flexibility of a dedicated server. Every website is hosted on a virtual private server with more powerful hardware. It’s shared hosting with root access and dedicated resources in an isolated environment. While other websites might share the same physical system, yours will have its own virtual area – with allocated resources which are exclusive to you. The websites sharing your system cannot affect your performance. 

VPS solutions are much less expensive than they were a few years ago. The difference in cost between a shared hosting package and VPS is an increase starting at around £10 per month. And, while shared hosting prices continue to spiral downward, with packages from just £1, evidence is growing that companies are investing more in their hosting. 

According to research by 451, cloud and hosting services are set to outpace total IT spend by 25.8 per cent this year. Cloud and hosting spend will reach 12 percent for the first time. With 88 per cent expecting their budgets to increase year on year. This commitment to the securing of websites, email and data is expected across organisations of all sizes. 

An organisation should keep an eye on its website’s resource usage and upgrade before it outgrows them and risks creating a poor user experience for web visitors, or worse, downtime. You’ll know when it’s time to upgrade from shared to VPS – when your traffic volumes increase, and when you need a stable level of resources and security. 

Power, stability and control are the three key persuaders in the argument for VPS. Outlined below are the three main benefits of VPS hosting over standard shared hosting: 

Power

Shared resources could see you running the risk of a ‘resource drain’ if there is a sudden flow of incoming traffic on your own or the other websites who share your hosting space. A VPS ring-fences your resources, improving the speed and security of your site. Even when you get a surge in traffic – you need a hosting solution that never lets you down. Performance and speed of your site are critical to UX and SEO. If your site is slow to load, you will lose traffic.

Stability

A shared hosting system means you’re sharing a security certificate and an IP address with thousands of other websites. That doesn’t leave you with much control over your own. 

High profile cyber-attacks over the last few months have put online security at the forefront of IT decision makers’ minds. Through virtualisation, a VPS ensures that you are isolated in your own private server environment. There’s a minimal risk of unauthorised access from hackers or other users sharing the same system. In the unlikely event of a hardware failure, the high availability VPS options can guarantee 100% uptime. 

Control

VPS will put you in control of your hosting. Complete root access to your environment means custom software packages can be installed without having to wait for your host to support it. Shared servers that are optimised for security and performance often don’t allow all software packages due to security. Having control of your own virtual environment means you can bypass all of these restrictions, gain access to the underlying operating system and perform administrative tasks.

Dedicated resources allow you to grow instantly with access to more RAM, faster CPU and more disk space for storage. 

Who can use VPS?

You don’t need to be a VPS or even a hosting expert, especially with a managed VPS where you’ll have help with all aspects of the server, configurations, and installations. If you opt for unmanaged, you are going to require a mid-level knowledge of server administration.   

Like any purchase, determining whether to host using VPS should be based on research, cost analysis and aligned to the strategic goals of your website. 

People generally switch to a VPS hosting environment, because they want more customisation and control options. Sometimes website owners will end up using the same settings that they were using with a shared host, but they enjoy having more control over their hosting environment. A VPS is also less technically heavy than a dedicated server, and can be a great bridge into an eventual dedicated hosting setup. 

If you’re already watching the speed of your site, the chances are you’re ready to get off the bus and start using a private coach. With a website such a crucial part of any organisation, hosting practices must evolve to protect digital assets. 

Jeremy Rose is director at Certa Hosting.

  • The best web hosting service of 2018

How to watch the Celtics vs Cavs: live stream the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals live

The 2018 NBA Playoffs have reached the Conference Finals stage where four teams will go up against one another to see which two teams will proceed to the Finals starting at the end of the month. 

This will be the second consecutive year that the Boston Celtics will go up against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The two teams will play a best of seven series to decide who will face off against the winner of the Western Conference Finals in the 2018 NBA Playoffs Finals. And if you want to live stream the Celtics vs the Cavs, you’ve come to the right place.

The Celtics are entering the series with a higher seed though the Cavaliers are being led by LeBron James who is hoping to take the team along for his eight straight trip to the NBA Finals. The first game of the series will take place on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden in Boston and the match is set to start at 3:30pm ET (8:30pm BST, 12:30pm PST). Will the LeBron James be able to lead the Cavaliers to victory or will the Celtics go to the Finals?

Whether you’re rooting for the Celtics or the Cavaliers will show you how to tune into all the action either on your TV or online. If there is no local option to watch the 2018 NBA Conference Finals in your country, don’t worry as we’ll walk you through the steps needed to watch the event from anywhere in the world.

Keep reading to see how you can stream the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals online.

How to watch the Celtics vs. the Cavaliers in the US 

If you happen to live in the US and have a television, then you’re in luck as ABC will be showing the first game of the seven game series between the Celtics and the Cavaliers for free over-the-air. The network’s coverage starts at 3:30pm EST (12:30pm PST) on Sunday May 13. 

After the first game though, you’ll need a cable subscription with ESPN to watch the rest of the games in the series on TV. However, if you want to stream the Eastern Conference Finals online without signing up for a cable package then you’re best bet is to use NBA League Pass with a VPN. 

Unfortunately the Eastern Conference Final won’t be shown in the US until three hours after it’s finished due to an NBA blackout but if you use a VPN to change your IP address to one in another country you’ll be able to stream the game online. Keep reading and we’ll show you how.

How to watch the Celtics vs Cavs online 

If there is no local option to watch the NBA Eastern Conference Finals in your country then your best bet to catch the Celtics vs. the Cavaliers is with a VPN. By using a VPN, you can change the IP address to one in a different country which does have a stream so that you can watch the NBA Conference Finals from anywhere in the world.   

How to watch the Celtics vs. the Cavaliers in the UK 

Basketball fans in the UK will be able to tune into the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals on BT Sport 2. The network will air the Boston Celtics vs the Cleveland Cavaliers at 8:30pm BST on Sunday May 13. Alternatively if you’re not a BT Sport subscriber, you could sign up for NBA League Pass to watch all of the action online.

When it comes to streaming basketball online our first choice is NBA.com.  With the NBA League Pass you you can watch hundreds of Live and On-Demand games on all of your favorite streaming devices including Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, Playstation and even on mobile.  

With NBA League Pass you’ll be able to watch every game during the regular season (all 1,230 of them) and the playoffs, including all the finals games. The service costs £24.99 a month or £6.99 for a single day pass.    

Other ways to watch the NBA Eastern Conference online 

SlingTV $20 per month

With SlingTV’s $20-per-month Sling Orange package you get 30-plus channels, including ESPN and ESPN2 which will show 19 games throughout the first round and semifinals. You’ll also be able to watch the Eastern Conference Finals as ESPN holds the exclusive rights to those games. SlingTV will also give you access to TNT which will be broadcasting the NBA playoffs as well.

Sling TV is compatible with Apple TV, Roku, Xbox One, Chromecast as well as lots of other devices and its easy to get started with a 7-day free trial.

DIRECTV NOW $50 per month

DirectTV Now offers many of the same channels as SlingTV and Playstation Vue including ABC, TNT, ESPN and ESPN2 but it’s Just Right package also includes ESPNews as well as access to 80 other channels. If you want a lot of content to choose from and don’t mind watching the games live as the service doesn’t include cloud DVR, then DIRECTV NOW’s 7-day trial will let you test out the platform.

Playstation Vue $44.99 per month

Playstation Vue is another option to watch the MLB playoffs and its basic Access package offers over 45 channels including ABC, TNT, ESPN and ESPN2. The service provides top-notch streaming quality as well as unlimited cloud DVR storage so you’ll never miss a game. A 5-day trial to Playstation Vue is also available to help you get started and most of the popular streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast are supported.

YouTube TV $40 per month

YouTube TV is a great option for NBA fans as it includes NBATV along with TNT, ABC and the three ESPN networks you need to follow all the playoff action. The service also comes with a 7-day free trial so you can test it out for yourself. 

We may not see the iPhone SE 2 until September, with Face ID in tow

Apple is apparently working on an iPhone SE 2, based on reports, but when are we going to actually see it? The latest rumor to filter down from the supply chain in Asia says it won’t be unveiled until September, alongside the iPhone XI and the other 2018 iPhones – and it’ll bring Face ID along with it.

The semi-reliable Mac Otakara has the scoop, based on a clandestine chat with a “Chinese accessory maker”, so adjust your expectations accordingly. Previously, the iPhone SE 2 had been tipped to arrive earlier in the year, as the original iPhone SE did.

Not so, says Mac Otakara’s sources. Apparently, Apple has yet to even settle on a final design for the device, which makes us think that even a September release is pushing production timings a little fine. The phone display could be as small as 4 inches or as big as 6 inches, the insider sources suggest.

Best face forward

What does seem (almost) certain is that the iPhone SE 2 will come with a TrueDepth camera that enables Face ID, as well as a notch in the display, and no Home button. Apple looks set to be going all in with the face unlocking, so you can give your fingerprints a rest as soon as you upgrade.

Previous rumors have pointed to a glass back and wireless charging for the iPhone SE 2, other features that it’ll borrow from the iPhone X. What we might be looking at is a phone that looks just like a shrunken down version of Apple’s flagship handset.

We find the idea that Apple is still playing around with iPhone SE 2 designs a little hard to swallow, but as we’re already half way through May the rumor of  September launch seems more plausible. The next event in the Apple calendar is the WWDC 2018 developer conference in June, where we should get to hear all about iOS 12.

  • Leaked iPhone SE2 renders suggest what the compact Apple phone could look like

Via AppleInsider