RCS Standard Will Bring Multimedia Capabilities to Messaging

SMS messaging is popular, be it Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. But these messaging services aren’t interoperable: a Facebook user can’t use Messenger to reach someone on iMessage, for example. A solution is on the horizon with RCS — Rich Communication Services — an online protocol adopted by the GSM Association to replace SMS, and one that adds significant multimedia capabilities. The GSMA, a trade group that represents 750+ mobile operators and others in the mobile ecosystem, came up with Universal Profile, a standard that underlies RCS. Continue reading RCS Standard Will Bring Multimedia Capabilities to Messaging

Sprint Plans 2019 5G Hotspot Launch With HTC, Qualcomm

Sprint, the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S., plans to deploy a 5G mobile smart hub in the first half of 2019 developed with HTC and Qualcomm Technologies. Sprint says the “device will deliver multimedia and connected data capabilities in a compact and portable design,” featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem for 5G in addition to Gigabit LTE capabilities. The Kansas-based telecom will introduce its mobile 5G network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Additional markets, the device name and feature specs will be announced at a later date. Continue reading Sprint Plans 2019 5G Hotspot Launch With HTC, Qualcomm

CES: Understanding the 5G Ecosystem in 2019 and Beyond

CES 2019 in January will highlight discussions about what we can expect with 5G next year and beyond. Fifth-generation mobile communications brings faster speeds, lower latency and the ability to connect more devices, meaning it will not simply speed up mobile phones but power nascent digital technologies from VR and IoT to autonomous vehicles and smart cities. CES 2019 offers a Wednesday 5G summit, and the first 5G products will be sprinkled across the show floor. The ETCentric team will be in Las Vegas reporting on a number of companies in this space. Continue reading CES: Understanding the 5G Ecosystem in 2019 and Beyond

T-Mobile Teams With Pandora and Live Nation for Music Perks

T-Mobile announced it is partnering with music streamer Pandora and concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment to offer its customers free music, concert deals, special seating and other perks. As competition ramps up to attract new customers, wireless carriers are looking for new ways to reach those consumers without discounting their regular prices. T-Mobile will offer customers a free year of Pandora Plus ad-free music streaming. Customers can also enjoy “Rockstar Status” with discounted tickets, access to last-minute seats, and reservations at sold out shows through Live Nation. Continue reading T-Mobile Teams With Pandora and Live Nation for Music Perks

Essential Kills Next Smarthone and Is Reportedly Up for Sale

Android creator Andy Rubin’s startup, Essential Products, born out of his incubator Playground Global, may be on the sales block. The startup, which raised about $300 million from Amazon, Tencent Holdings, Redpoint Ventures and Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn), ceased development of a new smartphone, say sources, and hired Credit Suisse Group to advise on its sale. Reportedly, Essence has already piqued the interest of one potential buyer. The original Essential smartphone, manufactured by Foxconn, debuted last August. Continue reading Essential Kills Next Smarthone and Is Reportedly Up for Sale

T-Mobile, Sprint Announce All-Stock Deal for $26 Billion Merger

Wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint on Sunday announced they have entered into a merger agreement for an all-stock transaction. The $26 billion merger would reduce the U.S. wireless market to three major players and give Japan’s SoftBank (Sprint’s majority owner since 2012) a greater presence in the U.S. If approved, the newly combined company would keep the name T-Mobile, and would be run by current T-Mobile U.S. CEO John Legere and T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert. The $146 billion entity would be controlled by T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom. Continue reading T-Mobile, Sprint Announce All-Stock Deal for $26 Billion Merger

AT&T Plans to Introduce New Sports-Free Streaming Service

AT&T chief exec Randall Stephenson announced last Thursday that the company plans to introduce the AT&T Watch live TV service in the coming weeks. The streaming service will offer a sports-free, skinny bundle of channels to general consumers for $15-per-month and for free to AT&T Wireless subscribers. “At this price point,” explains TechCrunch, “the service would be one of the lowest on the market — less than Sling TV’s entry-level, $20-per-month package, and just a bit less than Philo’s low-cost, sports-free offering, priced at $16 per month.” Continue reading AT&T Plans to Introduce New Sports-Free Streaming Service

Google Aims to Replace SMS with an Android Messaging App

Google is at work creating consensus among every major global cellphone carrier to replace SMS with “Chat,” based on a standard dubbed the Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services. Chat is the consumer name for RCS (Rich Communication Services) and is not actually a new texting app but rather a new set of features inside an app (Android Messages) already installed on most Android phones. Google is leading development to ensure interoperability of Chat on every carrier’s service. Continue reading Google Aims to Replace SMS with an Android Messaging App

Sprint Working On AI Software to Assist Its Call Center Reps

Sprint is currently developing AI-powered software to help call center representatives better handle customer service. Sprint plans to use data related to customer calls to create “interaction assistants” that provide employees with best next steps. This effort is part of the company’s digital transformation project, which involves a partnership with Adobe Systems Inc. “Our focus has been about evolving and really becoming a digital company across all facets,” said Sprint CIO Scott Rice. Data has “become core across all our infrastructure and we really are changing our mindset.”

Continue reading Sprint Working On AI Software to Assist Its Call Center Reps

Qualcomm Inks Partnerships With 5G Device Makers, Carriers

For 5G to take off, manufacturers have to produce devices that integrate the technology. To that end, Qualcomm has partnered with 19 device makers, all of which will be relying on the chipmaker’s new Snapdragon X50 5G-compatible modem in at least one of their devices. Qualcomm has inked additional partnerships with global carriers, which will also be using the X50 modem for their 5G trials. All four major U.S. networks will begin their rollout of 5G networks by the end of this year, with full nationwide coverage by 2020. Continue reading Qualcomm Inks Partnerships With 5G Device Makers, Carriers

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Further Plans to Roll Out 5G Networks

Sprint plans to launch a 5G network by early 2019, joining its competitors in rolling out the new technology and spending $5 billion to $6 billion annually on its network. Verizon and AT&T plan to roll out their 5G networks later this year. Although today’s smartphones can already stream HD video with the current 4G networks, 5G networks will enable other devices and technologies, including autonomous vehicles. Sprint’s parent company, SoftBank Group, also has a significant investment in Uber Technologies. Continue reading AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Further Plans to Roll Out 5G Networks

Verizon Teams With Samsung to Deploy 5G Wireless This Year

Verizon Communications has selected Samsung Electronics to be a major supplier of network equipment as the telecom readies the first commercial launch of its 5G wireless service in Sacramento, California later this year. Verizon will first offer high-speed Internet over its wireless network in California before expanding to other U.S. markets. Verizon began its 5G trials in 11 U.S. markets last year. AT&T also just announced that it plans to roll out commercial 5G service in late 2018, while Sprint and T-Mobile are expected to introduce 5G technology in late 2019 or 2020. Continue reading Verizon Teams With Samsung to Deploy 5G Wireless This Year

T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

T-Mobile US is buying Layer3 TV, a streaming pay-TV distributor, to launch its own pay-TV streaming service. In doing so, T-Mobile, the third largest wireless carrier (by subscribers) in the U.S., joins a growing host of other companies, such as Sony, Dish and YouTube, that aim to lure cord-cutters to their streaming services. Some of those efforts have been successful; AT&T, for example, now has one million subscribers to its DirecTV Now streaming service, which debuted last year and is priced as little as $35 per month. Continue reading T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

Verizon Plans to Introduce 5G Residential Broadband in 2018

In late 2018, Verizon Communications will begin to sell 5G home broadband services in three to five cities, first in Sacramento, California. All these cities are expected to be outside the Northeast U.S. region where it has a landline business and also offers its FiOS high-speed fiber-optic Internet service. To access the 5G signal, customers will have a box in their windows to convert it to Wi-Fi inside the house. If Verizon succeeds, it could compete in cities where most users have access to only one broadband provider. Continue reading Verizon Plans to Introduce 5G Residential Broadband in 2018

SoftBank Suspends Negotiations to Merge Sprint and T-Mobile

After nine months of merger talks, SoftBank has reportedly suspended its plans to combine Sprint with T-Mobile US. This marks the second time in three years that Sprint has backed out of negotiations. According to those familiar with the matter, directors of SoftBank Group Corp. (Sprint’s parent company) met in Tokyo and opted to suspend the merger plans. Insiders indicate that the news came as a surprise to T-Mobile officials. While discussions could be revisited in the future, the same insiders note that the two sides could not agree on the valuation of Sprint’s shares, and SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son had concerns about relinquishing too much control. Continue reading SoftBank Suspends Negotiations to Merge Sprint and T-Mobile

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