News Scan: Europe to end mobile roaming charges; Most firms to add mobile apps to BYOD devices; more

>> Europe votes to end mobile roaming charges

The European Parliament approved a telecom package this week that ends roaming charges for mobile phones in EU countries, according to a report by Reuters. The legislative package will phase out roaming fees throughout the EU by December 2015. The package also enshrines net neutrality into law. The European Council, which represents EU member countries, is expected to vote the package into law in October. Read more

[More on mobile roaming: Mobile roaming to generate nearly $90 billion for mobile operators by 2018, says Juniper | Proposed EU roaming charge ban could help business travelers, hurt operators]

>> Most firms to add mobile apps to BYOD devices this year

A full 71 percent of businesses plan to add more mobile apps to employee devices this year, according to a survey of 308 North American enterprise mobility decision makers by Frost & Sullivan. The mobile app viewed as most necessary by businesses is wireless email, followed by mobile sales force automation. Other mobile apps examined in the report include mobile asset tracking and mobile workforce management. "Today's businesses cite increased efficiency and productivity as their top reasons for providing mobile apps to their employees," says Karolina Olszewska, Frost & Sullivan customer research analyst. Read more

[More on mobile apps: Mobile apps dominate mobile web in terms of consumer device time | Rise of anti-social, secretly social apps presents hurdle for marketers]

>> Despite politico-economic trouble, Thailand's smartphone shipments soar

Thailand's smartphone market shipments reached record levels in the fourth quarter of 2013, despite political turmoil and economic downturn, according to IDC stats. The Thai mobile phone market saw a 63.6 percent increase in the number of smartphones shipped. "Not only did the market ship an unprecedentedly high number of smartphones, but it also marked the first time ever that smartphone shipments were neck and neck with feature phones," says Satianporn Suvansupa, associate market analyst for client devices research at IDC Thailand. Read more

[More on Thailand: Akamai on trends in online video consumption | Google Search can hear you (better) now]

>> Chromebook shipments to reach 11 million by 2019, predicts ABI

Shipments of Google's Chromebooks are forecast by ABI Research to reach 11 million units by 2019, up from 2.1 million shipments last year. "ABI Research tracked Chromebooks across six regions and found the average selling price to be US$338. This truly budget-driven device is a disruptive force to the portable PC market," says ABI research analyst Stephanie Van Vactor. Read more

[More on Chromebook: Google's Chromebooks are ready for enterprise prime time, says Forrester | Why your future laptop may just be a Chromebook]

>> Publishers use mobile audio ads to boost revenues

National Public Radio and Tribute Co. are testing audio ads to boost mobile revenue, according to a report by Mobile Marketer. The publishers are using mobile audio ads to tap into the success that music streaming services are having on mobile devices. "NPR, for example, is seeing more than 50 percent of its users coming from mobile and is now in the middle of ramping up its mobile applications and advertising options for marketers," the report relates. Read more

[More on mobile ads: Infographic: Mobile ad spending on the rise | Tips for getting mobile advertising right]