T-Mobile & Sprint Complete Merger, John Legere Steps Down

T-Mobile has completed its $30 billion merger with Sprint, creating what the company dubs the New T-Mobile (the formal name will remain T-Mobile). Chief executive John Legere stepped down before the April 30 date in the contract, and his successor, former chief operating officer Mike Sievert, has taken his place. The new business, now with about 100 million customers, plans to use the combined infrastructure to ramp up the transition to 5G, with the capacity to offer speeds up to 15 times faster in the next six years and 14 times the capacity, reaching 99 percent of the U.S. with 5G coverage.  Continue reading T-Mobile & Sprint Complete Merger, John Legere Steps Down

AT&T Continues Its Steps to Create Nationwide 5G Coverage

In the transition to 5G, AT&T has focused on the 39GHz millimeter wave radio band, purchasing sizable blocks of this spectrum from FiberTower. Now, the carrier stated that its 39GHz spectrum holdings have more than doubled to 786MHz, which, in principle, should allow it to offer “at least 3Gbps download speeds” across the U.S. The big “if” in this scenario is AT&T’s ability to build nationwide towers to support this short distance mmWave bandwidth. By betting on 39GHz, AT&T will have 800MHz bandwidth in some markets. Continue reading AT&T Continues Its Steps to Create Nationwide 5G Coverage

Federal Government Considers Plans For Broadband Access

Although millions of Americans are at home, the Senate did not include money for broadband infrastructure in the $3 trillion stimulus package under consideration. However, the current bill does include some funding to deploy mobile hot spots around the country. Proponents of accessible broadband will try to add that to any upcoming stimulus package. Meanwhile, the U.S. government, along with several Big Tech companies, is providing global access to 16 supercomputers to help researchers discover vaccines to combat the coronavirus. Continue reading Federal Government Considers Plans For Broadband Access

Video Game Usage Soaring as People Are Confined to Home

In the wake of the coronavirus and subsequent school closures and remote working policies, more Americans are gaming than ever before. According to third-party database SteamDB, Steam — the most popular PC gaming marketplace — drew a record-breaking 20,313,451 concurrent users. The top game was “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” released by Valve in 2012, which broke its own peak numbers on Sunday with 1,023,2290 concurrent players. Verizon also reported that game traffic soared 75 percent from the previous week. Continue reading Video Game Usage Soaring as People Are Confined to Home

FCC Grants T-Mobile, Verizon Extra Spectrum During Pandemic

As data usage soars during the coronavirus pandemic, the big carriers are seeing their 4G LTE networks stressed to the max. On Sunday, the Federal Communications Commission gave permission to T-Mobile to use 600MHz spectrum on loan from Dish, Comcast, NewLevel and other companies for 60 days. In fact, Dish is allowing AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to utilize some of its unused spectrum to enhance and speed up their 4G LTE networks. AT&T customers, for example, could see an “up to 20Mbps uptick in data performance.” Continue reading FCC Grants T-Mobile, Verizon Extra Spectrum During Pandemic

ETC@USC Announces Winners of Immersive Media Challenge

ETC’s Immersive Media Challenge judges selected four submissions that best meet the criteria of “a great idea, well told.” Jack Vomacka’s Audio-Visual Animation describes a blend of physical objects and projection technologies that would create more believable LBE experiences. Sam Clempson’s Mind Palace is an AR-based memory-improvement tool. Courtney Zhang’s Affa Streaming AI Experience uses mood detection to make content recommendations. And Lance Newby’s MIC (ML for In-game Content) turns non-playable characters into minor characters who participate in and can influence the action of a video game. Pitch videos and answers to challenge questions for all submissions are posted on ETC’s homepage. Continue reading ETC@USC Announces Winners of Immersive Media Challenge

FCC Approves Plan to Pay Satellite Firms to Vacate Airwaves

The FCC, in a 3-2 vote, approved chair Ajit Pai’s plan to pay satellite companies to free up airwaves for 5G usage. Satellite companies will retain enough to continue their TV/radio distribution services. The FCC earlier released a plan to pay Intelsat, SES and other satellite companies $9.7 billion if they left the airwaves quickly, with another $3.3 billion to $5.2 billion to reimburse costs of making the move. Pai suggested that Intelsat receive as much as $4.85 billion, SES about $4 billion and Eutelsat $468 million. Continue reading FCC Approves Plan to Pay Satellite Firms to Vacate Airwaves

T-Mobile and Sprint Clear Another Hurdle to Finalizing Merger

The merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, the nation’s third and fourth largest wireless carriers, is nearly approved after a drawn-out battle. The Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department cleared the merger in June, but the process ground to a halt when attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia sued. This week in Manhattan, U.S. District Court judge Victor Marrero rejected the suit, leaving one last step to navigate. The new company will be called T-Mobile and have about 100 million customers. Continue reading T-Mobile and Sprint Clear Another Hurdle to Finalizing Merger

Disney+ Classic and Original Content Sparks Major Growth

The Walt Disney Company chief executive Bob Iger said that Disney+ has more than doubled its subscription base in three months, from 10 million at its November launch to 28.6 million as of this week, stating that this has “exceed[ed] even our greatest expectations.” He revealed that Disney’s older programming has been as popular as its new original content, adding that 65 percent of subscribers who watched “The Mandalorian” watched 10 other movies/shows on the service. The next season of “The Mandalorian” debuts in November. Continue reading Disney+ Classic and Original Content Sparks Major Growth

Verizon Adds More Wireless Subscribers via Disney+ Offer

Verizon Communications added 790,000 prepaid phone connections during Q4 2019, compared with 653,000 during the same period a year earlier, surpassing the expectations of JPMorgan Chase analysts who predicted 750,000 such connections. A free one-year Disney+ subscription for Verizon wireless customers may have helped lure new customers. AT&T added 229,000 postpaid connections and T-Mobile US added 1,000,000. Postpaid customers typically pay monthly under longer-term contracts and are less likely to change providers. Continue reading Verizon Adds More Wireless Subscribers via Disney+ Offer

Disney+ Service Has Strong Start With 41 Million Downloads

Since its debut two months ago, the Disney+ mobile app has been downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play 41 million times — four times as many as HBO Now — earning nearly $100 million, reports Sensor Tower. That news sent Disney shares up two percent to $146.72. In Q4 2019, Disney+ was downloaded 30 million times, more than twice that of TikTok. According to a YouGov survey, 76 percent of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with Disney+ compared to 48 percent for Apple TV+. Continue reading Disney+ Service Has Strong Start With 41 Million Downloads

Verizon to Drop Cable Bundles in Favor of Customer Choice

To prevent further cord-cutting, Verizon Communications is abandoning traditional cable bundles. Fios customers will be able to select Internet speeds and TV packets separately, at preset rates, and can change their services on a monthly basis. Verizon senior vice president Frank Boulben stated that customers can then avoid promotional pricing that expires — and then skyrockets. Altice USA, Comcast and Charter Communications are offering lower cost wireless plans for Internet/TV customers. Continue reading Verizon to Drop Cable Bundles in Favor of Customer Choice

CES 2020: Innovation Policy and Readiness For 5G Future

CTA senior vice president, political and industry affairs Tiffany Moore introduced a panel on 5G as the first in a series of CES panels focusing on innovation policy. Pete Hoekstra, the U.S. State Department’s ambassador to the Netherlands introduced a governmental perspective. “We want an open, global competitive market for 5G that functions under the rule of law and is a framework we can trust,” he said. “We need to get government to work collaboratively with industry to update rules and regulations.” Continue reading CES 2020: Innovation Policy and Readiness For 5G Future

Deloitte Predicts 5G Will Spark Boom of Smart Home Devices

A new Deloitte study, “Connectivity and Mobile Trends Survey,” found that current U.S. households own “an average of 11 connected devices, including seven with screens to view content.” Deloitte vice-chair/U.S. telecom and media and entertainment leader Kevin Westcott declared that, after AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon roll out 5G, we’ll see “a significant increase in connected devices.” The study further found that 67 percent of consumers plan to upgrade to 5G-compatible smartphones when they become available. Continue reading Deloitte Predicts 5G Will Spark Boom of Smart Home Devices

New Disney Streamer Tops App Downloads, Google Search

In the first month since its debut, streaming platform Disney+ ranked No. 1 every day in Apple’s App Store and Google Play in the U.S., with 22 million global downloads of its mobile app. According to Apptopia, Disney+ has averaged 9.5 million daily active users, 84 percent of whom reside in the U.S. It added that the new streaming service also has 5.8 percent longer average session times on a per-user basis than Netflix and 7.8 percent longer than Amazon Prime Video. Google reported that “Disney Plus” was its top search trend for 2019. Continue reading New Disney Streamer Tops App Downloads, Google Search

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