Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!
3G’s not quite dead yet
CHICAGO – What’s that old saying: I can’t miss you if you won’t go away. That seemed appropriate for day 1 of the 4G World 2009 event held this week in Chicago where while the focus of the conference is obviously on “4G” technologies, those pesky 3G networks remained a major topic of speakers and attendees. Keynote speakers from both domestic (AT&T Mobility’s Kris Rinne) and international (Michael Rocca from Australian operator Telstra) operators laid out coherent arguments as to the continued operating benefits of 3G technologies while at the same time making sure to acknowledge the future benefits of 4G technologies. AT&T Mobility, which has come under increased pressure from competition and consumers to upgrade its current network, touted its recent announcement that it planned to upgrade its current 3G HSPA network to the 7.2 standard beginning later this year with plans to cover 90% of its network with the enhancement by the end of next year. This came on top of the installation of a HSPA channel in its 850 MHz spectrum to help both capacity and coverage. However, AT&T Mobility’s plans to install HSPA 7.2 across its network by the end of 2010 bump into its plans to begin trialing LTE around the same time with an eye on commercial deployments beginning in 2011 that seem to indicate the HSPA 7.2 plans are the end of its upgrade plans for its 3G network. Rinne said the carrier was looking at HSPA+, but that it had no specific time in mind for deployment. When questioned further on those comments Rinne indicated that the carrier would shift its focus to LTE and away from HSPA enhancements in the 2011 time frame. … Read more
DT thinking of buying Sprint Nextel? Rumors abound
News this week that German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom AG was looking at making a play for beleaguered U.S. wireless provider Sprint Nextel Corp. caused a stir amongst industry observers as well as the expected impact to the companies’ respective stock prices: DT down; Sprint Nextel up. While no official word was forthcoming from either party, the innuendo was not the first involving both companies. It also was further proof that foreign carriers have a high interest in U.S. operators and are willing to spend big bucks for a piece of what is seen by many as a slowing market. DT’s presence in the U.S. market is already filled by its ownership in the nation’s No. 4 operator T-Mobile USA Inc., which it acquired when it purchased VoiceStream Wireless Corp. earlier this decade for $30 billion. The reported bid for Sprint Nextel was rumored to be for something in the neighborhood of $15 billion — drop in the bucket compared to the nearly $70 billion in market cap the company enjoyed for about 1 second following Sprint Corp.’s $35 billion acquisition of Nextel Communications Inc. — and would propel the combined operations into a near dead heat in terms of customers with current heavyweights Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility. Of course there is the issue of both Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA current struggles in the market in attracting lucrative postpaid customers with both operators relying on less attractive prepaid customers to fuel their operations. Oh, and there is also the problem of the combined operations having to run virtually every network technology currently known to man: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA/HSPA for T-Mobile USA; CDMA2000 1x/EV-DO/WiMAX/iDEN for Sprint Nextel. That might look good for a game of Scrabble. Not so good if network efficiencies are your game. … Read more
The future of FLO TV
LOS ANGELES–FLO TV President Bill Stone is moving beyond carrier agreements with Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility to try to drive awareness to the mobile TV space and increase consumer adoption of the nascent TV service. Stone, who took over the reins of FLO TV in January, is pushing for new pricing strategies, new customers and new devices to drive customer growth. In an interview with RCR Wireless News in late August, Stone touched on a number of strategies the Qualcomm-owned operator is pursuing to further drive adoption. Stone likens FLO TV’s evolvement to that of soda pop. Coke comes in 12-ounce cans, 2-liter bottles, soda fountain syrup and the like, but it’s the same product regardless of the package. Stone can envision daily, weekly, monthly and annual passes to FLO TV, as well as packages that center on sports or family-based TV. Exactly how the service evolves has yet to be seen. In an interview with GigaOM at Mobilize ‘09, Qualcomm COO Len Lauer said the mobile broadcasts service could be a way for operators to offload their video content, thus freeing up capacity on their own networks. “FLO TV is all about scale for us. One easy way to scale has been with Verizon and AT&T,” Stone said. The company finally got access to spectrum to offer service in another 39 markets in June, after the transition to Digital TV was completed, which should help customer awareness. But FLO TV is also working to sell the service as part of an automobile package, using rear-seat entertainment screens equipped with a credit-card-sized device made by Audiovox. Much like the way Sirius satellite radio and LoJack car security systems are sold today, Stone envisions FLO TV sold at the auto dealership. … Read more
Bringing telecom to San Diego
SAN DIEGO–A self-admitted “somewhat arrogant” vision to make San Diego the center of the telecom universe took shape in 1998 with the formation of the San Diego Telecom Council. Today, called CommNexus, the 100 or so member companies of the group are now aiming to take advantage of the convergence of the telecom and life sciences market to drive business to the region. Drawing on a rich history of military communications at the U.S. Navy at the turn of the century (the last century) San Diego has communications in its genetics with the Department of Defense, said Rory Moore, director and CEO of CommNexus. The nonprofit focuses on three core areas: access to capital, access to talent and access to business development opportunities. The group offers a service called MarketLink, which Moore likens to high-tech speed dating, except for businesses, not people. CommNexus connects large companies looking for technology and business opportunities, and lets those companies connect with startups in the area to vet technology ideas. Of the companies that make it through the vetting process, about 50% who get to pitch their product to the large companies take the next step in the process.
The group also offers a “tough-love” service, Moore said, encouraging companies to present their business plans to group members who critique the technology, business plan and ask questions that venture capitalist firms would ask. This approach helps companies refine their plans before actually presenting to the VC community. “Most of the times, companies don’t even know why they didn’t get funding. This helps them find the flaws in their plans.” … Read more
Motorola launches its first Android device: The Cliq
T-Mobile USA Inc. will be the exclusive carrier to offer Motorola Inc.’s first foray into the smartphone segment using Google Inc.’s Android platform. The device is aimed at the consumer and prosumer markets and streams together information from the user’s social-networking, e-mail and photo sites automatically syncs all of that information. Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha noted that its MotoBlur technology offers broad applications abilities, like Apple Inc.’s iPhone, but also allows the user to go deep into those applications, similar to Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry device and operating system. Pricing was not mentioned for the device but it is expected to be available for the holidays. “T-Mobile’s highly social and always-connected customers have a natural affinity for mobile social networking, and we’re excited to feature the Motorola Cliq with MotoBlur prominently in what’s shaping up to be our most innovative holiday product lineup ever,” said T-Mobile USA’s Cole Brodman. … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.