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!
MetroPCS/T-Mo merger under the microscope
Despite recent objections from a prominent investors and advisors, MetroPCS continues to believe that its pending merger with T-Mobile USA remains the best way for investors to see a financial gain. MetroPCS this morning sent out a letter to investors stating that they should vote in favor of the current deal that will see the carrier gain control of 26% of the combined operations for approximately $1.5 billion paid to MetroPCS investors. MetroPCS shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposed deal on April 12. The letter takes aim at comments from a recent Institutional Shareholder Services report that claimed the proposed transaction does not fully value MetroPCS and that the market has reacted negatively to the proposed terms of the deal. MetroPCS also looked to downplay concern that it was not garnering enough relief on its debt load. Some MetroPCS shareholders filed a lawsuit shortly after the deal was announced in October to block the deal citing claims that MetroPCS’ management was set to receive special payments should the deal be approved and that investors would be short-changed on the value of the company’s stock. … Read more
Smartphone chatter at Facebook and Amazon
Amazon joins Facebook this week on the list of companies hinting that they may be planning a smartphone launch. The company has hired Charlie Kindel, who formerly headed up Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. According to CNBC, Kindel says he’s working on “something secret” at Amazon, and according to Kindel’s Linked In profile, he is hiring developers, program managers and product managers. Amazon does not release sales numbers for its Kindle Fire tablets, but some industry sources estimate that the Kindle products are outsold only by the iPad. The Kindle is primarily a loss leader for Amazon’s vast media inventory, so some have questioned the logic of an Amazon device with a smaller screen. Also, as carriers become more willing to accommodate unlocked phones, the market for unlocked smartphones is booming and Amazon is a major retailer of these. So the company could be competing with itself if it tries to offer its own smartphone. … Read more
Facebook finds a new Home
Facebook says its new mobile interface is all about shifting devices away from apps and tasks, and towards friends and people. Today the company shared the specifics about its new Facebook Home, showing off a user interface that is completely focused on photos, friends, and contacts. The homescreen is a newsfeed of photos posted by friends. Messages from contacts appear at the top of the screen no matter what app is in use. The conversation can be loaded on top of the app, then swiped away when the user is ready to return to their previous task. Text messages and Facebook messages look almost exactly the same to the user. Reports that Facebook Home will debut on an HTC device proved true — the HTC First is a $100 LTE phone that will be available exclusively through AT&T starting April 12. Facebook Home will also be available on the HTC One and the HTC One X, as well on Samsung’s Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note II. The HTC One and the Galaxy S4 are not yet available, but users of the other phones will be able to download Facebook Home from the Google Play store starting April 12. “This is a great experiment for Facebook,” said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum. “It’s much lower risk than developing a phone or an operating system of its own, and if it turns out not to be successful, there will be little risk or loss to Facebook. If it does turn out to be successful, Facebook can build on the model further and increase the value provided in the application over time. The biggest challenge will be that it can’t replicate this experience on iOS, Windows Phone or BlackBerry, the three other main platforms.” … Read more
Samsung launches stores within Best Buy
Samsung says it will launch branded stores at 1,400 Best Buy locations by this summer. Best Buy employees will help customers purchase and activate Samsung devices, but will not service broken phones. So while Samsung hopes to attract customers in the same way that Apple does with its ever-crowded retail stores, it will be missing the equivalent of the Genius Bar. Shares of Best Buy are up more than 12% on today’s news. This is welcome news for the big-box retailer, which has seen its business hit hard by online retailers during the past several years. The kiosks will be called Samsung Experience stores, and Samsung says the rollout should be complete by June. The company said in a statement that its goal is to help ensure that customers can learn “how to leverage their mobile devices across our ecosystem of consumer electronics.” The mini-stores will offer cameras and laptops as well as smartphones and tablets. … Read more
A boom in mobile backhaul
Continued growth in mobile broadband deployments propelled the mobile backhaul market to more than $8 billion in sales last year, according to Infonetics Research. The company cited HSPA/HSPA+ and LTE deployments as driving sales up 7% from 2011 levels. Infonetics noted that microwave solutions accounted for the largest revenue source and is expected to account for 56% of revenues by 2017. “While its revenue growth rate is slowing, macrocell mobile backhaul equipment remains a huge market, with annual spending up in the $8 to $9 billion range over the next years,” explained Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks and co-founder of Infonetics. “Just a few years ago in 2009, the market was worth under $5 billion.” Howard added that with the inclusion of small cell backhaul equipment, which Infonetics said will count $5 billion in sales over the next five years, the overall mobile backhaul market is “massive.” “The key drivers are the ongoing HSPA/HSPA+ onslaught across the 3GPP world and growing LTE deployments by 3GPP2 players,” Howard added. “If you don’t have packet backhaul, there’s no way to handle HSPA and HSPA+. Ethernet and microwave backhaul spending are fueling the whole market.” … Read more
NII Holdings sells Peru operations
NII Holdings, which is based in Reston, Va., announced it has sold its Peru operations to Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ENTel) for $400 million. The deal furthers NII’s plans to focus its efforts on its core operations in Brazil and Mexico. The deal was hinted at earlier this week when a Peruvian newspaper reported that NII was looking to unload its operations in the country for as much as $500 million. NII’s management noted earlier this year that it was looking at strategic alternatives for its operations in Peru, Argentina and Chile. Wells Fargo Securities reported that NII’s Peru operations include a sizeable chunk of wireless spectrum, including 35 megahertz in the 1.9 GHz band, 22 megahertz in the 800 MHz band, 54 megahertz in the 2.5 GHz band and 50 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band. RCR Wireless News recently released a report on the Peru market noting that NII, which operates as Nextel in the market, held just 5.3% market share. NII noted that it is focusing its 3G network deployment investments in Mexico and Brazil to improve results in those two core markets, having launched 3G services in Mexico in September and quietly launching 3G data plans in Brazil in December. … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.