News Scan: Smartphones overtake feature phones; Facebook ends mobile ad relationships; more

>> Smartphone sales overtake feature phone sales for first time

Smartphone sales surpassed features phone sales for the first time in 2014, according to the latest Gartner stats. Smartphone sales worldwide reached 968 million units, or 53.6 percent of mobile phone sales in 2013. This was up 42.3 percent over 2012 smartphone sales. Gartner said it expects "smartphones to continue to drive overall sales in 2014 and an increasing number of manufacturers will realign their portfolios to focus on the low-cost smartphone sector." Read more on Gartner's smartphone stats.

[More on smartphones: California wants kill switches on all mobile devices | Windows Phone is fastest growing smartphone platform, says Canalys]

>> Facebook ends mobile ad relationships over privacy concerns

Facebook has ended relationships with two mobile advertising partners over privacy concerns about their data retention and app tracking, reports Mobile Marketer. Facebook cut HasOffers and Kontagent from its mobile ad platform because they failed to abide by Facebook policies concerning retention of customer data and concealing information about how developers track in-app activities. The two firms provide app developers a way to install software development kits into their apps to track downloads, the report explains. Read more on Facebook's decision.

[More on Facebook: Time is ripe for mobile analytics | Facebook Home adds Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr support]

>> Airlines have huge revenue opportunities with mobile commerce

Airlines have huge revenue potential in selling tickets and other products and services to consumers via mobile and in-flight media, argues a new eMarketer report. Two-thirds of senior airline execs surveyed by SITA/Airline Business last year said they planned to invest in passenger services via mobile devices. However, "technological impediments and consumer skepticism are causing carriers to face significant barriers, eMarketer notes. Read more on the eMarketer report.

[More on mobile commerce: Mobile commerce is on the move | Retailers put mobile efforts as their top priority]

>> Second-hand phones pose security threat to enterprises

The sales of phones by employees could pose a data security risk to companies if their devices are not wiped of data properly, warns Kroll Ontrack. "Data destruction should be a top concern for all businesses, as safeguarding sensitive company and consumer information is not only a public liability issue but can also lead to severe data breaches," writes Kroll Ontrack in a blog. V3 recently reported a number of cases where second-hand phones being sold with sensitive business information still on them. "As a result, it is imperative all firms ensure stringent data destruction policies are in place for all BYOD users," the blog notes. Read more on second-hand phone risks.

[More on BYOD risks: Infographic: BYOD drivers and barriers | New IBM study offers insights into mobile strategy leaders]

>> Spectrum sharing discourages mobile broadband investment

Spectrum-sharing agreements discourage mobile operators from investing in mobile broadband, concludes a study by Deloitte sponsored by mobile operator association GSMA. Spectrum-sharing agreements often have short terms, build obligations, lack of certainty and small allocations, the study warns. Instead, government agencies should allocate spectrum exclusively to mobile broadband in order to realize fully the economic benefits of the technology, the study argues.  Read more on the GSMA-sponsored study.

[More on spectrum: Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile reach AWS spectrum agreement | When lives are at stake, proceed cautiously]