T-Mobile Plans to Buy Most of U.S. Cellular in $4.4 Billion Deal

T-Mobile has agreed to buy most of U.S. Cellular in a deal worth about $4.4 billion that would bring the self-proclaimed “un-carrier” more than 4 million new customers as well as its retail stores and about 30 percent of U.S. Cellular’s wireless spectrum. U.S. Cellular would hang on to 70 percent of its spectrum and towers and lease much of it back to T-Mobile, which was already leasing its infrastructure. T-Mobile says it plans to use the added spectrum to improve its service in rural areas, which constitute the bulk of U.S. Cellular’s footprint. Continue reading T-Mobile Plans to Buy Most of U.S. Cellular in $4.4 Billion Deal

CES: Experts Discuss the Path Toward a National Privacy Law

In a conversation with CTA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Rachel Nemeth during CES 2024 in Las Vegas, a group of experts on consumer affairs and federal regulatory policy delved into the impact of existing and recent legislation on various sectors. Interestingly, they all agreed on one thing: the need for a national privacy law to replace the patchwork of differing state laws. T-Mobile Director of Federal Regulatory Affairs Melanie Tiano noted that currently 13 states have comprehensive privacy laws and that, two weeks into the new legislative session, she’s tracking more than 30 privacy-related bills. Continue reading CES: Experts Discuss the Path Toward a National Privacy Law

Ergen Completes Dish Merger with EchoStar for 5G Moonshot

Satellite television pioneer Charlie Ergen has reunited his empire, having on December 31 completed the merger of Dish Network Corp. and EchoStar Corp. Ergen co-founded both companies and served as chairman of each prior to the merger. He now becomes executive chairman of the combined operation. Former EchoStar chief Hamid Akhavan was named president and CEO of the two companies in November and continues as operational head. Ergen feels his satellite infrastructure is well-situated for 5G. He plans to move the unified firm away from pay TV and into wireless services, competing with Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. Continue reading Ergen Completes Dish Merger with EchoStar for 5G Moonshot

Humane’s $700 Ai Pin Is Positioned to Replace Smartphones

Former Apple designers Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno last week officially launched the Humane Ai Pin they’re positioning as a smartphone replacement. The $700 wearable magnetically attaches to clothing. A $24 per month T-Mobile data subscription is required for connectivity. Described as “a download device and software platform built from the ground up for AI,” it’s got an ultra-wide RGB camera, depth sensors and motion sensors, and a speaker that creates “a bubble of sound” that can be loud or soft. Preorders for the Ai Pin begin November 16, with shipments scheduled to begin in early 2024. Continue reading Humane’s $700 Ai Pin Is Positioned to Replace Smartphones

Netflix Boosts Features After Year One of Ad-Supported Tier

Netflix is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its ad-supported tier by giving binge viewers every fourth consecutive episode ad-free. It is also making downloads available on its ad-supported plan, claiming to be the first streamer to do so in an advertising environment. While the binge perk won’t be available until 2024, downloads for both TV series and films are said to start immediately. Netflix said that in year one its bargain-priced tier with ad support has hit 15 million global monthly active users, touting its partnership with Microsoft as helping “to shape the future of advertising.” Continue reading Netflix Boosts Features After Year One of Ad-Supported Tier

Dish, EchoStar to Merge in Play for Next-Gen Wireless Market

Charlie Ergen, founder and chairman of the Dish and EchoStar satellite broadband companies is merging the two units in an all-stock deal he says will better position his empire to compete with AT&T and Verizon in the market for next-generation wireless services. Dish, which operates Boost Mobile, currently has a deal with T-Mobile for 5G. FactSet places Dish’s current market value at just above $4 billion and EchoStar at nearly $2 billion. “This is a strategically and financially compelling combination that is all about growth and building a long-term sustainable business,” said Ergen. Continue reading Dish, EchoStar to Merge in Play for Next-Gen Wireless Market

Netflix Expands Crackdown on Password Sharing to the U.S.

Netflix introduced a password sharing option for non-household members in the United States this week. Netflix subscribers can “buy an extra member” for an additional $7.99 per month for streaming users who live outside the home. Simultaneous with the rollout, Netflix said it will start blocking unauthorized users of borrowed passwords. “Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with — your household,” Netflix emailed its U.S. customers, providing instructions on how to “check who is using your Netflix.” The company is also making paid sharing available in additional international territories. Continue reading Netflix Expands Crackdown on Password Sharing to the U.S.

T-Mobile Will Pay Up to $1.35B for Mint Mobile Owner Ka’ena

T-Mobile has agreed to purchase Ka’ena Corp., whose subsidiaries include the Mint Mobile prepaid wireless brand in which actor Ryan Reynolds holds a 25 percent stake, in a deal worth up to $1.35 billion. Terms of the agreement include celebrity spokesman Reynolds continuing in his creative role at Mint, while co-founders David Glickman and Rizwan Kassim remain onboard to manage the brands, which include the Ultra Mobile international wireless offering and wholesaler Plum. Under Glickman and Kassim those adjuncts “will generally operate as a separate business unit,” according to T-Mobile. Continue reading T-Mobile Will Pay Up to $1.35B for Mint Mobile Owner Ka’ena

Google Unveils Its First Smartwatch and New Pixel 7 Phones

Google debuted its new flagship smartphones, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, powered by updated Tensor G2 processors. The company also showcased a new Pixel Watch with built-in Fitbit. The devices were touted at Thursday’s Made by Google event in Brooklyn, following months of leaks after a developer conference preview in May. The phones run on the updated Android 13, which was rolled out to the Pixel 6 in August. The new gear ships October 13, and Google says the new phones pack five years of security updates. With 8GB of RAM, the entry level Pixel 7 phone costs $599, while Pixel 7 Pro pricing starts at $899 with 12GB of RAM (with configurations up to 512GB). Continue reading Google Unveils Its First Smartwatch and New Pixel 7 Phones

Cox Launches Its New Mobile Service Pilot in Three Markets

Cox Communications has finally launched its long-awaited mobile offering. Cox Mobile is officially piloting in three markets where it is available only to Cox broadband customers: Las Vegas, Nevada; Hampton Roads, Virginia; and Omaha, Nebraska. Customers will initially be offered two plans, each featuring unlimited talk and text — Pay As You Gig and Gig Unlimited, with coverage including 4G LTE and 5G, in addition to 4 million Cox Wi-Fi hotspots. The company plans to expand Cox Mobile in new markets through the rest of the year. Continue reading Cox Launches Its New Mobile Service Pilot in Three Markets

Dish Loses Subscribers in Q2, Preps Launch of Boost Infinite

Dish Network posted a Q2 subscriber loss in both the satellite TV sector and among customers of its virtual multichannel video programming distributor Sling TV. Sling shed 257,000 traditional satellite video subs while Dish lost 202,000 net satellite subscribers. Regarding Sling TV, the vMVPD lost subscribers for the third consecutive quarter, down 55,000 in Q2, a marked improvement over Sling’s Q1 net loss of 234,000 subs. Dish ended Q2 with 7.79 million satellite TV subscribers, while Sling closed the April through June period with about 2.19 million customers. Meanwhile, Dish announced its Boost Infinite postpaid wireless service will launch later this year. Continue reading Dish Loses Subscribers in Q2, Preps Launch of Boost Infinite

Tech Spots Are the Talk of Super Bowl, from Crypto to Quest

One team was crowned champion at Super Bowl 56, but all the advertisers were winners, with an average of 112.3 million total viewers tuning in across TV and streaming. Typically the most-watched television event in the U.S., the Super Bowl is an opportunity for deep-pocketed advertisers to make an impression on consumers. This year, the post-game spot talk was all about tech. Returning sponsors Amazon, E-Trade, T-Mobile and Verizon were joined by big game debutantes, including four crypto firms, Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten, Meta Platforms’ first national commercial for Meta Quest 2, and several electric vehicle ads. Continue reading Tech Spots Are the Talk of Super Bowl, from Crypto to Quest

Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

In the midst of troubling press attention as the company faces antitrust claims and ongoing criticism of its App Store business model, Apple unveiled its iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 during a streaming event yesterday. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared live on a virtual set rather than the traditional in-person stage as a precaution during COVID-19. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro features a new camera system that promises a new cinematic mode, improved low-light capabilities and an updated ultra-wide lens. The Apple Watch 7, touting a revamped look, includes new features such as a larger screen, softer corners, more support for e-bikes and fall detection for cycling. Continue reading Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

Dish Signs 10-Year $5 Billion AT&T MVNO Deal to Go Mobile

Dish has inked a 10-year agreement to use AT&T as its primary network provider as part of the company’s transition to becoming a nationwide wireless operator. Effective immediately, the deal replaces T-Mobile as Dish’s principal partner and is a potential forerunner to an eventual DirecTV-Dish merger. Dish will pay AT&T at least $5 billion over the next decade to use the latter’s 4G and 5G networks. Dish founder Charlie Ergen nearly sold his company to AT&T in 2007, but his push for last-minute changes squashed the deal. Continue reading Dish Signs 10-Year $5 Billion AT&T MVNO Deal to Go Mobile

Nielsen to Invest More in Streaming, Live TV Ratings Product

Nielsen Holdings will increase spending to improve how it measures TV audiences, especially its new Nielsen ONE product, said chief financial officer Linda Zukauckas. The news follows Nielsen’s $2.4 billion sale of Global Connect (since renamed NielsenIQ), which measures retail shopping for packaged goods companies, to Advent International Corporation. Nielsen ONE combines streaming and live TV ratings and is due to unveil next year. Nielsen hopes it will be a U.S. ratings standard by 2024 and, soon, a global standard. Continue reading Nielsen to Invest More in Streaming, Live TV Ratings Product