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California this week became the first state in the country to pass a law requiring that cell phones include so-called "kill switch" functionality to deter theft, enabled by default (the full law is here
, pdf). Minnesota passed a similar law earlier this year, but in that version of the law, the functionality is turned off by default. "California has just put smartphone thieves on notice," bill backer and State Sen. Mark Leno said in a statement.
The kill switch push only came about after other efforts repeatedly failed to impact smartphone theft.
Two years ago 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 was 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.
The move came after AT&T was sued for doing little to track or stop theft
, the lawsuit alleging it was more profitable to do nothing and cash in on stolen phone re-activations.
The New York Post
claims that AT&T has struck a deal with the Department of Justice that would allow AT&T's $48.5 billion plan
to acquire DirecTV to move forward. The report fails to specify what precise conditions the DOJ will place on the deal, though it does suggest that regulators are leaning toward approval with DOJ approval coming as soon as October.
AT&T's Sponsored Data -- which exempts a company's content from AT&T's arbitrary caps if they pay AT&T a fee -- so far hasn't seen much interest from major companies
. While a few smaller outfits have signed up, larger companies either don't want to pay -- or don't want to take part in the neutrality controversy surrounding AT&T's idea.
A new report by RootMetrics
effectively declares Verizon the king when it comes to mobile network coverage, reliability, speed, and overall performance. The study, which collected data from 5.6 million test samples while driving some 234,000 miles across the country, gave the crown to Verizon for all metrics except text message performance, which Verizon closely lost to AT&T.
AT&T has announced that the company has officially started selling symmetrical 1 Gbps Gigapower connections in select parts of their home town of Dallas. According to a company press release
, 1 Gbps speeds are only available to residents and small businesses in the Highland Park and University Park neighborhoods.
Mobeen Khan, AT&T's executive director of M2M product management, says the company's plan to shut down their 2G network by the end of 2016 remains on schedule. AT&T will be refarming that spectrum for eventual use on their 3G and 4G networks. "We have an operational team that is engaged with these customers," Khan tells Fierce Wireless
. "It's a closely watched process." Cell phone users are easier to force-upgrade than M2M (machine to machine, or non-phone devices with embedded cellular chipsets) users. AT&T won't state how many 2G M2M users remain connected to their network.
AT&T has been on a bit of a tear the last week or so, announcing that they're deploying their faster 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service to customers in Dallas
and San Antonio
. Now AT&T is announcing that Charlotte too will be getting the faster service
AT&T today confirmed it will expand its ultra-fast AT&T GigaPower network to the City of Charlotte.
Senator Patrick Leahy introduced legislation this week
that would dramatically restrict the NSA's unfettered access to bulk-collected Internet and phone data. "If enacted, this bill would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago," Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on the Senate floor.
Add San Antonio to the list of cities where some select users will have access to 1 Gbps speeds courtesy of AT&T. Like with the announcements on their planned Dallas
deployments, this latest announcement
offers absolutely no detail on overall deployment numbers, pricing, or timeframe for deployment. As noted previously, these deployments will only target a limited number of higher-end developments, MDUs and college campuses, though the announcements omit that fact (something I affectionately refer to as "fiber to the press release").
As we noted last week
, two different cities with their own broadband networks (Wilson, NC and Chattanooga, Tennessee) have formally asked the FCC to declare that laws in their states hindering community broadband aren't enforceable, giving FCC boss Tom Wheeler the perfect opportunity to back up claims that he'd take action. Such bills are written and lobbied for by companies like Comcast, AT&T and Time Warner Cable, and often restrict local citizen rights to determine for themselves what the best course of action for their community is.
Last week, AT&T announced that the company would be bringing its 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service to portions of Dallas
. Now, according to a new announcement
by the company, AT&T states they'll also eventually be offering 1 Gbps connectivity to at least some customers in Nashville, Tennessee. "Specific locations of availability and pricing for the Nashville market will be announced at a later date," notes the company. As noted in detail
, AT&T remains ambiguous about precise deployment numbers because they're only planning to target very select, high-end development communities for this ultra-fast service, but wants the public relations benefit of the perception of a much larger deployment.
back in 2011
both AT&T and Apple were sued for pitching a $30 unlimited data plan for the 3G-enabled iPad, then withdrawing the unlimited data plan option one month after Apple began selling the device. Last year AT&T and Apple settled the lawsuit, and those impacted users are now receiving checks for $40
. Don't spend it all in one place, kids!
Senator Al Franken has been a very vocal opponent of Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and now the Senator is taking aim at AT&T's attempted acquisition of DirecTV. In a letter
(pdf) to regulators concerning the merger, Franken warns to take AT&T promises like offering standalone broadband services with a grain of salt.
While consumers clearly love T-Mobile's more aggressive, consumer friendly policies and pricing, I've seen more than a few people in the industry quietly wonder if T-Mobile CEO John Legere isn't just playing a cartoon character
with the express purpose of helping sell T-Mobile to SoftBank. After all, they argue, while Legere's mocking of AT&T on Twitter
provides great comedy, he seemed to be a different human being entirely during his time at AT&T or as CEO of Global Crossing (and Asia Global Crossing, a SoftBank joint venture).
So why is AT&T rumored to be buying DirecTV in a deal estimated to be worth $50 billion? To hear USAToday tell it
, it's because AT&T wants to bundle satellite TV service with DSL in areas they don't sell U-Verse TV, but somebody apparently forgot to tell the news outlet that AT&T is busy hanging up on most of these users
because they don't want to upgrade them, making that theory less likely.
Perhaps they're just really excited to get into the satellite TV business? Except the satellite business isn't a high growth market, it's a highly saturated market meaning no real subscriber growth in TV user additions in the foreseeable future.
When AT&T first launched their 1 Gbps (which is still actually 300 Mbps
, but whatever) "Gigapower" service in Austin late last year in response to Google Fiber, the company's pricing raised a few eyebrows. In addition to the $350 ETF, installation and activation fees (which Google doesn't charge), AT&T only matched Google's $70 pricing point if you agreed to opt in to the company's Internet Preferences
, which goes beyond Google-esque snooping to use deep packet inspection to track each and every website you visit, and for how long.
Anonymous sources tell the Wall Street Journal
that an AT&T acquisition of DirecTV could be announced in as little as two weeks. The insiders claim the deal will be worth around $48 billion, and AT&T will pay for the transaction primarily with stock.
AT&T's 1 Gbps "Gigapower" product is currently only available in a portion of one market: Austin, Texas. At the moment users pay $70 ($100 if you don't want AT&T monetizing your browsing habits
) for 300 Mbps, though AT&T insists users will be able to get 1 Gbps service later this year.
AT&T today announced that the company is "eyeing" 100 potential target cities as locations they may
deploy faster 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service. According to the company's press release
, this "major initiative" will target 100 "candidate cities and municipalities" across 21 metropolitan areas nationwide.
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