Samsung and Verizon Close Major Deal for 5G Network Gear

Samsung Electronics inked a $6.65 billion contract for 5G gear with Verizon Communications. With the agreement, which lasts until the end of 2025, Samsung will provide Verizon with network equipment, installation and maintenance, a boost to the South Korean company’s efforts to become a major 5G supplier. According to Dell’Oro Group, Samsung supplies 13 percent of the total 5G network market sales. Meanwhile, T-Mobile, which has launched a 600MHz 5G network, debuted 2.5GHz mid-band 5G towers in almost 90 locations. Continue reading Samsung and Verizon Close Major Deal for 5G Network Gear

Niantic Gathers Telecom Dream Team to Advance AR Content

Niantic, the company that successfully created augmented reality experiences of Pokémon, Harry Potter and other intellectual properties, revealed its plans to offer its own consumer AR platform, with hardware, software and support for third-party developers. The Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance is a coalition of cell phone partners, including Deutsche Telekom, EE, Globe, Orange, SK Telecom, SoftBank Telus and Verizon that will distribute “exclusive 5G-ready AR content,” publicly demonstrating 5G consumer AR experiences. Continue reading Niantic Gathers Telecom Dream Team to Advance AR Content

Microsoft Launches Dual-Screen Foldable Surface Duo Device

Microsoft is reentering the mobile phone market with the Surface Duo, a dual-screen Android device priced at $1,399 and up. According to Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay, the company is accepting preorders for the phone that will ship on September 10. The phone will be sold on Microsoft’s website, and at AT&T and Best Buy. The Surface Duo’s screens completely unfold to act as a phone or a book to provide more space for apps. The Surface Duo may appear before Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2, which currently has no official release date. Continue reading Microsoft Launches Dual-Screen Foldable Surface Duo Device

Google Presents Three Phones: Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5

Google recently unveiled three new Pixel phones — the $349 Pixel 4a, available for preorder and shipping on August 20; the 5G-enabled Pixel 5, shipping in the fall; and the Pixel 4a with 5G, priced at $499 and also shipping in the fall. According to Google, issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Pixel 4a from debuting significantly earlier. The Pixel 4a, $50 less than last year’s Pixel 3a and the iPhone SE, stands apart from several competitors with its camera and “clean version” of Android. Continue reading Google Presents Three Phones: Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5

T-Mobile Introduces First Nationwide End-to-End 5G Network

T-Mobile announced it has launched what it claims is the world’s first nationwide standalone 5G network. Up until now, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have all offered a version of 5G that is really 5G radios deployed on top of 4G LTE gear. T-Mobile’s new 5G network is completely “next-generation” and will enable new features as well as faster data speeds. T-Mobile stated that its 5G network is 30 percent larger than before, available in 2,000 more towns and cities in the U.S. Its network currently covers 1.3 million square miles. Continue reading T-Mobile Introduces First Nationwide End-to-End 5G Network

Brands Send Message to Facebook, Industry With Ad Boycott

Major advertisers including Verizon, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, The North Face, Eddie Bauer and REI have decided not to advertise on Facebook during the month of July. The action was urged by the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP and other civil rights groups to force Facebook to reexamine its policy of refusing to remove political ads containing “blatant lies.” In response, Facebook is taking steps to persuade its top advertisers not to join the boycott, including assurances that it takes civil rights concerns seriously. Continue reading Brands Send Message to Facebook, Industry With Ad Boycott

Snap Introduces Its First Shoppable Original Show: ‘The Drop’

At Snap’s first Digital Content NewFronts presentation, VP of sales for the Americas Peter Naylor announced “The Drop,” the platform’s first “shoppable” original show, highlighting “exclusive streetwear collabs” from celebrities and designers. It also debuted the Verizon-sponsored “Fake Up,” in which make-up artists compete to create optical illusions and greenlit the second season of original series “Driven,” about custom cars. Naylor, a former Hulu executive, said his two Gen Z daughters are “big Snapchat users.” Continue reading Snap Introduces Its First Shoppable Original Show: ‘The Drop’

Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 Will Enable Mid-Tier 5G Phones

Qualcomm unveiled its next step towards widespread availability of 5G-enabled smartphones. The Snapdragon 690 is a more economical mobile platform with 5G connectivity, and support for cameras with up to 192-megapixel photos and 30-frame-per-second 4K HDR videos, the latter two based on AI chip enhancements for high bitrates. Snapdragon 690 incorporates the X51 modem, which offers global 5G band and global multi-SIM support, although it’s only capable of connecting to sub-6GHz 5G networks, excluding millimeter wave. Continue reading Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 Will Enable Mid-Tier 5G Phones

YouTube Is Pursuing Upfront Ad Deals for its Pay-TV Service

YouTube is pitching its pay-TV service to advertisers with the aim of getting them to spend money they ordinarily allocate to traditional and, increasingly, streaming TV platforms. Marketers, however, still think of YouTube as a mobile (and desktop) video platform with a lot of lower-quality user-generated content rather than a TV service such as Hulu. YouTube and YouTube TV garner 100 million U.S. viewers each month, with watch time up 80 percent year-over-year in March. Continue reading YouTube Is Pursuing Upfront Ad Deals for its Pay-TV Service

Executive Spotlight: A Talk with Albert Lao of Verizon Business

ETC continues its Executive Spotlight series, in which we interview leaders from our member companies about how they are adapting operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a fascinating discussion with Albert Lao of the Verizon Business Group. As the Americas leader of Verizon’s Global Presales Organization, Lao leads tech strategy, solution architecture, CPE design, pre-sales engineering and more with Verizon’s enterprise customers. We sat down with Lao who described his company’s plans for continued growth during the pandemic and after; addressing collaboration tools, security and troubleshooting remotely; and new ways to support customers as well as first responders and healthcare workers. Continue reading Executive Spotlight: A Talk with Albert Lao of Verizon Business

Pay-TV Providers Feel the Impact of Increase in Cord-Cutting

The COVID-19 pandemic is speeding up the ongoing trend of cord-cutting, according to industry experts. The major reason that consumers still hold on to pay-TV subscriptions is to watch live sports. Now, with all professional and college sports events on hold, that reason has disappeared. Additional reasons to cut the cord are high unemployment and an increasing number of free streaming options for entertainment. Cable, virtual cable and satellite TV companies have posted significant losses at the end of the last quarter. Continue reading Pay-TV Providers Feel the Impact of Increase in Cord-Cutting

Facebook, Google and Others Challenge Zoom’s Dominance

The group video chat app Zoom has been No. 1 in the Apple store for more than a month, growing 740 percent in the last month, according to App Annie. The company, valued at $47 billion, now boasts 300 million daily participants. Success spurs competition, and Zoom is now in the crosshairs of Big Tech and telecommunications companies. After Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg urged a focus on completing its video chat projects, the company launched Messenger Rooms for as many as 50 people. Continue reading Facebook, Google and Others Challenge Zoom’s Dominance

NBCUniversal Launches Peacock Service for Comcast Subs

NBCUniversal debuted its streaming platform Peacock to more than 10 million subscribers of parent company Comcast’s cable service using Xfinity X1 and Flex devices. Peacock is slated for a wider rollout this summer. With the coronavirus pandemic forcing many in the U.S. to stay at home, TV and streaming services have seen skyrocketing usage, according to Nielsen. Streaming via Comcast Xfinity was up 50 percent in March from February. NBC had planned to promote Peacock during the Tokyo Summer Games, which have since been postponed. Continue reading NBCUniversal Launches Peacock Service for Comcast Subs

Apple Preps for Release of New iPhones, HomePod Speaker

Apple is readying the fall release of its new iPhone line-up, including the redesign and the addition of 5G to two high-end phones and two less expensive models to replace the iPhone 11. Sources report that among the redesign of the top-tier phones are flat stainless-steel edges and flat screens. Yesterday, the company delivered a virtual unveiling of its new iPhone SE, featuring a design similar to its older iPhone 8. Apple also plans to release a new version of its HomePod speaker that is smaller and cheaper than the original, in addition to Apple Tags for tracking keys, wallets and other objects. Continue reading Apple Preps for Release of New iPhones, HomePod Speaker

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

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