This is relatively funny (at least the ending is). Hopefully we'll see AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam post similar fireside Christmas video chats soon too, right?
Mexico's competition watchdog has signed off on AT&T's $2.5 billion acquisition of Mexican wireless carrier Iusacell, a deal that was originally announced last month
. According to Reuters
, Mexico's Federal Competition Commission did impose some unspecified conditions on the deal to "avoid risks to the process of competition." AT&T's Iusacell will compete with Carlos Slim's America Movil, in which AT&T owned a minority stake until shortly before this new deal was announced.
In a network build blog update
, Sprint says the company has reached all of its major milestones in 2014. According to Sprint Chief Network Officer John Saw, Sprint finished their Network Vision deployment (consolidating, removing/replacing gear), finished rolling out HD Voice by July, expanded the company's footprint across all 3 bands at 1.9 GHz, 800 MHz and 2.5 GHz and reached 100 million people with 2.5 GHz LTE by the end of 2014.
After months of heated battle between T-Mobile and AT&T over roaming costs, this week the FCC issued a declaratory ruling
that could open the door toward T-Mobile having to pay less to connect to incumbent networks. The FCC says they're not technically changing the rules, but says they'll provide guidance on what precisely constitutes a "commercially reasonable" data roaming agreement.
Time Warner Cable and Boingo have announced that they've expanded a Passpoint roaming agreements the two companies first announced back in June
. According to the companies' press release
, this means that Boingo and Time Warner Cable customers can use and log in to the Wi-Fi hotspots of each company automatically without re-entering credentials for each.
In June of last year Google unveiled Google Loon
, the latest in a long line of similar projects that will use hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas. Project Loon will use hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft.
T-Mobile this morning unveiled their latest "Uncarrier" press salvo, announcing that the company will now be offering customers roll over data. According to a company announcement
, both new and existing T-Mobile customers will be given what T-Mobile's calling a "Data Stash," or a data allotment where they can store unused data at the end of each month.
The $43 billion spent on wireless spectrum and increased pressure to compete on price has Wall Street nervous about the wireless industry. The Wall Street Journal
notes that the combination of the $43 billion spent this month on spectrum and increased competitive pressure resulted in the big four wireless carriers losing an estimated $45 billion in value. Wall Street's worries come on the heels of admissions by AT&T and Verizon that they're starting to feel the pinch of T-Mobile's uncarrier strategy
. Of course should you actually listen to the carriers, all four have made it clear the last thing they want is a price war
T-Mobile today announced that the company's faster "wideband" LTE upgrades have gone live in New York City, the upgrades providing speed bumps of 50% and theoretical peak speeds of up to 100 Mbps downstream. According to a T-Mobile announcement
, the wideband upgrades are now available in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island and Northern NJ.
Verizon, as the company that sued to overturn the FCC's weaker net neutrality rules, has been repeatedly claiming that Title II-based rules will harm investment and innovation. Of course the vocal component of wireless networks are regulated under Title II with nary a hiccup. story continues..
For much of the last year Verizon has stuck close to the company's strategy of fighting price reductions under the premise that a premium network comes with a premium price tag. They've also tried to downplay T-Mobile's market impact wherever possible
, company CEO declaring back in March that T-Mobile's aggressive strategy is "really nothing different than we have seen over the last couple of decades." AT&T's taken a similar approach, doing its best to portray T-Mobile as irrelevant.
But both companies quietly admitted this week that while they won't have to start giving away the store anytime soon, T-Mobile has officially started to make them sweat
Barron’s points out that both AT&T and Verizon have cited increased competition as having an impact on their quarterly churn rates and earnings per share, respectively...Verizon, meanwhile, said that its EPS this quarter could be negatively impacted by a “highly competitive and promotion-filled” market that has forced the carrier to respond in kind.
Again this shouldn't be overstated; most of AT&T and Verizon's promotions continue to be cosmetic in nature, and primarily tend to focus on discounting bigger data allotments to upsell users to costlier plans. It also should be said that while T-Mobile has made great strides on consumer-friendly policies, nobody in the wireless industry (including T-Mobile) actually wants a real price war
Despite making a lot of noise
about the company's "Network Vision" upgrades a few years back, those upgrades were too little too late, with the company still lagging behind the other three large carriers in most LTE speed and latency tests. Still, too hear Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer tell it, with the company's Network Vision plan Sprint is headed in the right direction with the worst of the company's problems (caused in part by their Nextel deal and their WiMax detour) now behind it
"I think from a network standpoint we have been waiting to get to this point of having a network that is substantially complete," Euteneuer said...Euteneuer acknowledged that Sprint's network has been a weak spot for the carrier, saying that the company had been experiencing subscriber losses "associated with the network."...But much of the pain associated with upgrading the network is behind Sprint, and Euteneuer was upbeat about where things are headed. He cited reducing expenses and churn as the key goals for Sprint going forward.
Sprint's also trying harder to compete on price, unveiling a promotion that promises users defecting from AT&T and Verizon a 50% lower bill
if they switch (though Euteneuer then turned around and admitted the savings would be more like 20%
). Meanwhile, T-Mobile CEO John Legere had some fun at Sprint's expense after news broke of Sprint's "completed" network:
Austin's not only getting Google Fiber, they're first in line to check out some of the updated second generation set top box hardware that Google has been cooking up for some time
. According to a product primer
(pdf) sent to me by Google, the company has consolidated their previous network and storage boxes into one device.
Earlier this week Sprint unveiled a new promotion
that the company states will allow current AT&T and Verizon customers defecting to Sprint to save 50% off their current data rates. To hear Sprint tell it, customers can either upload their current bill to the company's website
, or bring their AT&T/Verizon bill into a store, and the company will try to find you a comparable plan with a matching data allotment for half of what you're paying now.
Kevin Fitchard at GigaOM
notes that Verizon has started cannibalizing its old CDMA EV-DO systems for PCS spectrum, effectively farming its 3G network to help build what's technically the company's third LTE network. Verizon confirms the migration of the 1980MHz/1990MHz chunk of frequencies to LTE and confirms they're testing LTE on PCS, but notes the process of migrating 3G spectrum to 4G will be a long one. Verizon was also one of several companies expected to have scored big at the current AWS-3 auction, which this week topped $40 billion in bids. The next thing to worry about apparently? Getting spectrum for 5G
Sprint unveiled the company's latest promo today, which promises to cut the bills of defectors from AT&T and Verizon in half if they switch to Sprint. According to the company's announcement
starting December 5 (aka Friday), customers interested in switching can bring their AT&T or Verizon bill to a Sprint store (or upload their bill online
), and they'll be offered a comparable plan with a matching data allotment for half the price they're currently paying.
For many years people wondered why cellular carriers couldn't roll over mobile data bytes in the same way they rolled over voice minutes. According to a company announcement
, C Spire will now be doing just that, the company offering plans of $40 a month for 2 GB, $55 a month for 4 GB and $65 a month for 6 GB (including unlimited talk and text) with unused data getting rolled over to the next billing cycle. If you're a contract user on a subsidized device, the plans bump to $65 a month for 2 GB, $80 a month for 4 GB and $90 a month for 6 GB. "These plans are truly customer inspired as we want consumers to use their data however they like," proclaims C Spire.
Earlier this month New York City unveiled one of the more aggressive Wi-Fi deployments ever, promising all NYC residents access to free, 1 Gbps Wi-Fi
via 10,000 "LinkNYC
" pylons installed in all five boroughs of the city. Those pylons will be supported by advertising display panels, and will offer users not only access to Wi-Fi, but also access to 911, 311, and touchscreen access to city services.
·more stories, story search, most popular ..
Recent news contributors
, Karl Bode
, Bill Neilson