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Sprint's new ownership by SoftBank hasn't born much fruit yet here early on, with Sprint continuing to flounder in most speed, latency and consumer satisfaction studies, while playing second fiddle to T-Mobile's recent bout of aggressive pricing promotions. But SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son has taken aggressive steps to shore up what the Japanese industry titan has declared is a "loser" mentality at the company.
A Wall Street Journal Report
is chock full of relatively funny (if you're not employed at Sprint) criticisms by Son of the way Sprint has historically done business:
For now at least, that leaves Mr. Son to fix what he calls a "loser" mentality at Sprint and complacency at the mobile carrier's headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., a person close to him says. "We need to change Sprint's culture," he told The Wall Street Journal after a news conference last month....In private, SoftBank's CEO has compared Sprint to the feudal lords of pre-modern Japan who wielded absolute power in their territories but little influence elsewhere. "Sprint is a daimyo in Kansas," said Mr. Son, according to one SoftBank official. "That's not enough."
To turn things around, Son is an almost constant presence on the back of Sprint executives, so annoyed with Sprint market, he recently demanded that Sprint executives fire absolutely all
of their ad agencies (no more black and white Dan Hesse ads, I guess).
While AT&T has been winning most of the recent LTE speed tests
, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray has recently been promising that will soon change. The company is in the process of migrating to 2x10MHz channels to speed up LTE connectivity, and early indications were that they were starting to nip at AT&T's heels in terms of speed, after spending the last few months hitting AT&T in terms of pricing.
By this point, most of us are familiar with the concept of COWs
, or cellular towers on wheels. They're usually brought in either during major events like the Superbowl -- or during natural disasters to quickly shore up cellular infrastructure.
The Center for Disease Control has long been an excellent source of statistics on cell phone and POTS usage, since they collect that data to maintain accurate polling statistical information (in large part because those with no landlines trend younger). The latest data from the CDC
(pdf) indicates that nearly 40% of American homes rely solely on wireless phones.
It appears that Deutsche Telekom is heeding warnings that the company's attempted sale of T-Mobile to SoftBank/Sprint would have a tough time getting past regulators. Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges told directors yesterday that a sale of T-Mobile is "less likely in the near term" because of steep regulatory opposition
While selling its 67 percent holding in the fourth-largest U.S. wireless operator to SoftBank remains the preferred option, Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom is open to alternatives, said the people. Options include selling a part of the stake on the market, they said.
DT has long been eager to exit the states and sell their 67% stake in T-Mobile, but regulators worry a sale to Sprint would lessen competition at a time when T-Mobile is only just starting to make waves in wireless sector policies and pricing. About a month ago SoftBank stated they'd decide in weeks whether to keep pushing for a deal
, but every indication is they won't "pull an AT&T" and try and bully and bluff the deal through.
A new study by wireless performance measurement firm Rootmetrics has declared that while AT&T has the fastest network across the country, Verizon has the most reliable. According to the company's findings
for the second half of 2013, Verizon took the top overall performance spot with an overall score of 89.7, which factored in speed and reliability data for data, text messaging, and voice.
In June of last year Comcast announced
that the company was launching a new, Fon-like effort that involved new router firmware that turns your gateway into a publicly-accessible hotspot. More specifically, update routers would now offer two signals: one being yours, and the other being a "xfinitywifi" SSID signal providing free Wi-Fi to other Comcast users in your general area.
Verizon today announced that the company is making a few tweaks to their prepaid data options, in the process providing users with roll over data. According to the Verizon announcement
, the company's new "AllSet" prepaid pricing plans lower prices, but also lower the data allotments of their previous prepaid offerings.
Some time back C Spire wireless raised net neutrality eyebrows by requiring that some users pay an additional sum if they wanted to stream video on their wireless connections. The company's $80 per month for Unlimited Lite plan, for example, offers users unlimited voice, text and picture message, but restricts data usage by content type -- allowing you to browse the Internet and play online music, but not video. story continues..
In addition to Google Fiber, Google has been quietly spending a lot of time pushing Wi-Fi in a number of new locations around the country including San Franciso parks
. However, hometown locals have been complaining the company has been neglecting the health of the network that started it all: the Wi-Fi operation they launched near their Mountain View, California headquarters back in 2006.
Surprising absolutely nobody, Dish should announce this week that the company is the big winner in the FCC's H Block auction, which officially closed today after meeting the $1.56 billion set reserve price exactly. The "win" wasn't hard; other potential suitors for the spectrum dropped out months ago
Wireless operators and vendors haven't really truly even defined fifth generation wireless networks (5G) yet, but that's certainly not going to prevent them from hyping their deployment of it
-- even if they're not really even sure what it is yet. South Korea is expected to take the lead in the technology (whatever it winds up being), the government there investing $1.5 billion in an attempt to have the ultra-fast networks deployed by 2020
One of the more notable benefits of faster LTE speeds was supposed to be the higher quality phone call audio made possible by VoLTE, though carrier interoperability and battery/performance problems appear to have hindered deployments on numerous fronts. AT&T, who originally stated they'd be launching the service in some capacity by late last year
, this week admitted that their deployment of VoLTE would be delayed
. AT&T's offering now timeline now for when the improved voice quality platform will reach consumers, though they claim the project is in "the final stages of optimization." Verizon has also seen several delays in implementation.
Droid Life directs our attention to a new scam making the rounds
that attempts to nab personal login information from Verizon Wireless users. The scammers, hiding behind a spoofed number that appears to be coming from Verizon technical support ((800) 922-0204), call potential victims and promise them a $54 reward if they visit a fraudulent Verizon website. Google appears to have already flagged the phishing site and should give users a warning should they visit it, though that obviously won't stop many susceptible users. You can listen to a recording of the scam call here
, with the scammers proclaiming at the end of the call that "because at Verizon, we care about you."
For years we've noted how broadband ISPs have tried to pass off the idea of usage caps as one of "fairness," with it "only being right" that heavier users should pay more money. While logical on its surface, the problem with that rhetoric of course is that when you actually look at the "creative" pricing that gets introduced again and again (especially usage caps), it ends with everybody paying more, regardless of usage. story continues..
Last November the FCC released a new speed test for wireless
devices that is intended to provide the FCC with real-world data on network performance. Originally only available for Android
, the agency yesterday announced that they've now released the app for iOS as well
. "The data collected by the app is useful in informing users regarding their own performance and also supports the Commission’s open broadband data program, contributing to the information made freely available to the public on the nation’s mobile broadband performance in reports, maps, datasets and other forms," notes the agency.
Back in October T-Mobile unveiled the latest part of their "uncarrier" PR strategy: free international data
while traveling (it's EDGE speeds, but still welcome). As their latest attempt at countering T-Mobile's punches, AT&T today announced that they're adding free text messaging to 190 countries as part of their Mobile Share Value Plans. According to an AT&T announcement
that includes free picture and video messaging as well, though to a smaller total of 120 countries. A new AT&T World Connect Value option ($5 monthly) is also promising penny per minute calls to "over 35 countries" including Canada and Mexico.
Snarky CEO Tweets and ad campaigns for disruptive pricing don't come cheap, you know. T-Mobile today unveiled the company's fourth quarter earnings report
, which indicates that the company posted a $20 million loss on the quarter, up from the $8 million loss posted one year earlier.
For a while there the United States consistently mediocre showing in the fixed-line broadband rankings (speed, price, penetration and usage caps) was seemingly excused because at least we were building the LTE networks of tomorrow
. Except as a study by Open Signal indicated last week
, the United States offers the second-slowest average LTE streams among they countries they track (and dropping).
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