As recently noted
, Verizon has started using the AWS spectrum won at auction years ago to bolster their existing LTE network, the results on an unloaded network showing 80 Mbps down and 15 Mbps up, improving both overall capacity and per user speed. On the third anniversary of their LTE launch, Kevin Fitchard at GigaOM
notes that Verizon has very quietly launched the upgrades in "dozens" of major cities, with 5,000 AWS sites online by year's end:
These new network upgrades should solve any capacity problems for the next few years. At the very least, they will restore Verizon’s LTE service to its former glory, but most likely customers in bigger cities with AWS-compatible phones will see dramatic speed increases in the near-term. Palmer said Verizon has already completed the upgrade on thousands of cell sites, and by year end it will have 5,000 AWS sites online with an additional 5,000 sites in various stages of completion.
While Verizon's LTE network consistently ranks highly in terms of reliability, the company had been losing ground in terms of speedtest results when running up against both AT&T and T-Mobile's less loaded LTE networks.
DSLReports reader SuperNet9
directs our attention to the fact that AT&T will be launching new "Mobile Share Value Plans" on December 8 that may provide a discount depending on your particular needs. According to the AT&T news release
, the new no contract plans can potentially offer a $15 monthly discount to shared data customers if they get a smartphone with no down payment via the "AT&T Next" early upgrade program, bring a separate off-contract device, purchase a smartphone at full retail price, or switch to a new plan after a phone is no longer under contract.
An anon user submits this story by local Raleigh outlet WRAL
claiming that interference between Time Warner Cable and Verizon LTE services is causing video issues for many Time Warner Cable customers. The culprit, according to the report, is Time Warner Cable's channel placement, unclicensed use of the spectrum, and unshielded hardware, which are now colliding with Verizon's new use of 700 MHz in the triangle area. "We apologize for the inconvenience and are working on a solution that will resolve this problem definitively in the coming weeks," Time Warner said in a statement, though the company stated it would take time to migrate the channels off of 700 MHz to eliminate the interference.
"Competition is our fundamental national economic policy," new FCC boss Tom Wheeler stated in a speech given yesterday
at Ohio State University. "I will not hesitate to invoke the full authority granted to us by Congress to protect competition, and I will not hesitate to use the full authority granted us by Congress where competition is not available to secure the public interest through the promotion of competitive markets," insisted Wheeler.
Back in April, wireless carriers and the government announced
that they'd be collaborating on building a new nationwide database to track stolen phones (specifically the IMEI number, not just the SIM card ID). The goal is to reduce the time that stolen phones remain useful, thereby drying up the market for stolen phones and reducing the ability of criminals to use the devices to dodge surveillance.
Back in January Cox announced
that they'd be offering users access to a network of more than 750 Wi-Fi hotspots (you can find a network of their hotspots here
and their Wi-Fi FAQ here
). In addition to offering users access to their own hotspots, Cox also belatedly joined the "CableWiFi" initiative that allows users to access shared hotspots in Comcast and Cablevision territories.
Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs says that he'd like to see LTE technology deployed on unlicensed spectrum, though he's a bit ambiguous on how exactly they plan to accomplish this. "We’ve been working on this for a while which is, we’re actually putting LTE into the unlicensed bands," Jacobs said in an article at Electronics Weekly
. "Up till now Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have mostly used unlicensed bands. There is a tremendous amount of spectrum that’s been allocated around the world in unlicensed bands." Fierce Wireless
theorizes the technology could use the 3.5 GHz band, which is being eyed for small cells here in the States.
Senator Chuck Schumer has come rushing to the defense of AT&T and Verizon in a letter to new FCC boss Tom Wheeler, urging the agency not to impose restrictions that could cap the amount of spectrum the nation's dominant carriers can obtain at auction. There has been a growing push (in part by T-Mobile and Sprint) to impose new ownership limits on the largest carriers ahead of next year's auction in order to prevent the carriers from spectrum squatting and thereby limiting the number of competitors that can come to market.
According to Schumer's letter
, capping the amount of spectrum AT&T and Verizon can own moving forward would "lower the potential return and disincentivize broadcasters from offering their spectrum for auction."
Back in April, the Department of Justice warned the FCC
that they should potentially cap the amount of spectrum AT&T and Verizon can acquire moving forward to prevent the two companies from hoarding spectrum anti-competitively.
"Today, the two leading carriers have the vast majority of low-frequency spectrum, whereas the two other nationwide carriers have virtually none," wrote the DOJ. "This results in the two smaller nationwide carriers having a somewhat diminished ability to compete, particularly in rural areas where the cost to build out coverage is higher with high-frequency spectrum."
AT&T executives have railed against that recommendation publicly ever since, claiming in an April letter to the FCC
(pdf) that such restrictions would be "unlawful."
Dish has offered up a little more detail on an already-announced plan to offer fixed wireless broadband service. Dish announced back in May
that the company would be offering fixed LTE services in a new partnership with nTelos.
Tablets are among the coolest and most widely-used handheld devices ever created, right up there with electric razors, cordless drills and digital cameras. A Pew report this past summer
revealed one in three adults in America own a tablet. The tablet – just one of many sci-fi items that made its way to reality – made fictional debuts in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey
, novels such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation
, and in several episodes of Star Trek
, in many shapes and forms.
It's cool that tablet technology is here.
Last week reports emerged
that the FCC was considering rule changes that would allow users to have cell phone conversations above 10,000 feet. It didn't take long for a significant public backlash to the idea to emerge, the Washington Post
stating one agency staffer received hundreds of e-mail complaints saying the changes could create "unbearable noise pollution."
A petition has also appeared on the White House Website
complaining about the potential pitfalls of being forced to listen to others "inane" conversations in a confined space:
On the tail of a wonderful move allowing electronics throughout the use of the flight, the FCC seeks to go TOO FAR in this instance.
Following right on the heels of a similar offer announced by AT&T back in October
, Verizon is now offering users the ability to buy an LTE "day pass" for tablets. According to the Verizon announcement
, the company's new $5 Daily Plan provides 300 MB of data to tablets and connected devices (like the Samsung Galaxy Camera). The prepaid allotment expires after twenty four hours or after you've consumed 300 MB, whichever comes first. After that, you can buy additional allotments of 300 MB for another $5.
Earlier this month Blackberry scrapped plans for a sale
and forced out their former CEO, replacing him with former Sybase executive John Chen. Chen recently penned a letter to customers
promising them that Blackberry had enough financial strength to stick around for the "long haul." This week finds Blackberry doing a thorough scrubbing of the executive ranks, the company announcing
they've jettisoned Blackberry's Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Operating Officer.
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell has announced
that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have struck an agreement with forty-five states to stop billing for "premium" SMS services. Such services have long been a source of fraud and cramming, with carriers allowing the annoying services to thrive because they received a cut of the profit (often as high as 40%).
The FAA recently decided to back off of in-flight electronics restrictions
, and now the FCC is contemplating taking take things further and allowing phone conversations in flight. According to a paywalled report by the Wall Street Journal
, anonymous sources say the FCC is working to change rules that would allow wireless phone conversations above 10,000 feet.
Both AT&T and Verizon have been dead silent during the entire Snowden affair, but investor pressure may force the companies to shed a little more detail on their cooperation with the NSA. According to the New York Times
, shareholders are now pressuring both companies to follow the lead of companies like Google and Yahoo and begin issuing surveillance transparency reports, disclosing the volume and type of consumer data being shared with the government.
T-Mobile's "uncarrier" strategy
may be making waves with pricing, but the party will be short lived if the company can't improve network coverage and capacity. To that end, T-Mobile is in the middle of raising $3.65 billion via stock and debt offerings, which the company is expected to use toward a spectrum purchase. Anonymous sources tell Reuters
that T-Mobile has already approached Verizon about buying some of the company's spectrum, quite possibly in the A Block. Verizon has been rather flush with spectrum courtesy of the 2008 700 MHz AWS auction (spectrum that's only just starting to be deployed
) and their 2011 massive spectrum and marketing deal
with the cable industry.
·more stories, story search, most popular ..
Recent news contributors
, Bill Neilson