Sprint Offers New Half-Off Promotion, Expanded LTE Network

Until January 7, any wireless customer switching to Sprint will get half-off the price of the plan offered by his current carrier, as well as $650 in switching costs. For existing Sprint customers, the company offers a free Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 7-inch tablet with 1GB of free data for signing a two-year contract. While Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure says the offer demonstrates the company’s confidence in its improved network, its competitors interpret the latest move in the wireless price wars as closer to desperate. Continue reading Sprint Offers New Half-Off Promotion, Expanded LTE Network

France’s Iliad Concludes its Ambitious Pursuit of T-Mobile US

French telecommunications company Iliad has ended its pursuit of American wireless provider T-Mobile US. While T-Mobile was in talks about a merger with Sprint to launch a more competitive rival to AT&T and Verizon Wireless, Iliad was ambitiously attempting to buy control of T-Mobile for $15 billion (an offer worth nearly as much as its own market value). Yesterday, Iliad issued a statement that it was ending its efforts, despite having increased the proposed acquisition stake and price. Continue reading France’s Iliad Concludes its Ambitious Pursuit of T-Mobile US

AT&T to Pay $105 Million to Settle Accusations of ‘Cramming’

AT&T will pay $105 million to settle accusations that it billed hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus third-party charges to its wireless subscribers. The settlement is the latest in a number of similar moves by regulators to curtail mobile “cramming” — the practice of charging fees for third-party services that subscribers did not order. A similar case against T-Mobile is still pending. The AT&T settlement marks the largest to-date against a specific carrier for cramming. Continue reading AT&T to Pay $105 Million to Settle Accusations of ‘Cramming’

Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

SoftBank’s Sprint unit is reportedly poised to make a $32 billion offer to acquire T-Mobile that could take place early this summer. According to people familiar with the matter, the two telecoms have agreed on the broad outlines of a merger, but are still working on a formal contract. If completed and approved, the deal would combine the country’s third- and fourth-largest wireless operators, and potentially establish stronger competition for industry leaders Verizon and AT&T. Continue reading Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

Verizon Wireless Promises Double the Bandwidth with XLTE

Following months of expanding its LTE data pipes, Verizon Wireless is now offering improved 4G speeds under its new “XLTE” banner. The carrier is introducing improved performance in areas where it has added AWS wireless spectrum. Verizon promises that XLTE regions will feature double the bandwidth and faster peak speeds. The company says that more than 35 percent of devices operating on its network can take advantage of the added capacity of AWS. Continue reading Verizon Wireless Promises Double the Bandwidth with XLTE

Comcast Unveils CDN Service for Content Delivery via Last Mile

Comcast has introduced a commercial content delivery service targeting large and mid-sized content owners that can offer competitive SLA and pricing, since the company already owns the network. Comcast’s CDN allows content owners to go directly to the ISP to store and deliver content via the “last mile.” While this approach can displace traffic delivered by third-party CDNs such as Akamai and Limelight, it should not be confused with a “fast lane” or “prioritization” of content. Continue reading Comcast Unveils CDN Service for Content Delivery via Last Mile

FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

The following is on the schedule for the Federal Communications Commission: whether to approve or block AT&T’s newly announced $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, whether to allow Comcast’s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable, establish rules for next year’s auction of TV airwaves to wireless carriers, and determine whether and/or how to regulate the way broadband providers treat traffic over networks (and possibly face a busier calendar if Sprint makes a bid for T-Mobile). Continue reading FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Late last week, Google added new payment options to the Google Play Store, including the ability to use PayPal for the purchase of apps, music and movies. Paypal can now be used as a payment method for Google’s virtual storefront in 12 countries including the U.S. While this is the first time Google has offered the PayPal option (Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store has featured the option since its inception), the payment method can only be used for digital content, which excludes devices or accessories. Continue reading PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

NPD Report Says Pay TV Subscribers Turn to TV Everywhere

According to NPD Group’s latest “TV Everywhere Report,” cord cutters are not the only ones turning to OTT services. NPD indicates that 21 percent of today’s pay TV subscribers are using TV Everywhere services at least once a month. The report found that three out of four subscription video-on-demand households also have a pay TV subscription. And about 30 percent of SVOD users turn to TV Everywhere weekly, compared to 20 percent of TV Everywhere users who choose not to subscribe to SVOD. Continue reading NPD Report Says Pay TV Subscribers Turn to TV Everywhere

AT&T Could Reach $50 Billion Deal for DirecTV in Two Weeks

AT&T is close to striking a $50 billion deal to acquire satellite TV provider DirecTV, according to people familiar with the matter. An agreement between the two companies involving a mix of cash and AT&T stock could be reached within two weeks. Insiders say the two sides are discussing a share price for DirecTV in the low to mid-nineties (at $95 a share, such a deal would value DirecTV at almost $48 billion). The deal comes as AT&T considers video distribution a potentially key initiative for its future. Continue reading AT&T Could Reach $50 Billion Deal for DirecTV in Two Weeks

NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo is currently planning new wireless trials that could increase the capacity of future mobile networks to 10 Gbps (1,000 times today’s LTE networks). The new radio technologies could become an important part of a future 5G standard. NTT Docomo is working with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia and Samsung to perform lab trials at Docomo’s research & development facility in Yokosuka, which is expected to be followed by outdoor trials in 2015. Continue reading NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

California Senate Passes Amended Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill

Weeks after the California Senate voted down legislation that would require anti-theft tech in all new smartphones, it has now passed a revised version of the bill after Apple and Microsoft withdrew their opposition. While the legislation is applauded by law enforcement groups, it is still opposed by some wireless carriers, and could face an uphill battle in the state Assembly. If passed, kill-switch technology would be required for phones sold in California that are manufactured after July 1, 2015. Continue reading California Senate Passes Amended Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill

Sprint in Talks with Banks to Fund Acquisition of T-Mobile

Sprint is reportedly meeting with five different banks, including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, to expedite its bid for rival T-Mobile. Insiders say that Sprint, which is owned by Japan’s SoftBank, hopes to finance much of T-Mobile’s estimated $50 billion price with corporate bonds. The remaining amount would likely be covered by syndicated loans and convertible bonds. Sprint, which is also working to ease regulatory concerns regarding the deal, is expected to make a formal offer by June or July. Continue reading Sprint in Talks with Banks to Fund Acquisition of T-Mobile

FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

In a blog post yesterday, FCC Chairman and former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler wrote that he is “a strong believer in the importance of an Open Internet.” In response to what Wheeler views as “misinformed” commentaries regarding the Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) currently before the FCC, he offers two points of clarification: 1) This is not a final decision, but a formal request for input on the proposal, and 2) “all options for protecting and promoting an Open Internet are on the table.” Continue reading FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

Carriers and Smartphone Makers Commit to Anti-Theft Tech

Last week, the five largest U.S. cellular carriers and leading smartphone makers announced a voluntary commitment to add new anti-theft tech to devices being released next year. Supporting companies include Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung. The commitment means that devices sold after July 2015 will have the ability to allow users to wipe data remotely, and prevent the device from being reactivated without permission from the owner. Continue reading Carriers and Smartphone Makers Commit to Anti-Theft Tech

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