As noted recently
, the most interesting thing about Apple's latest round of announcements was probably the AppleSIM
, which allows users to use their new iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 on different services without swapping out the SIM card. As also noted that's an idea that likely terrifies the biggest carriers, as keeping people's devices locked down goes a long way toward keeping real competition at bay.
Apple didn't much talk about the AppleSIM at their recent media event, only stating the technology should work on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile -- but not Verizon. When used, it lets you select a carrier and presents you with data prices for whatever carrier you select.
Except users today realized AppleSIM effectively won't work on AT&T, with users required to install a different SIM card to switch carriers. AT&T doesn't really explain why they're taking this innovative new technology and crippling it by locking the SIM to one carrier, only telling ReCode
this is "simply the way we've chosen to do it":
"With us you can change carriers with this iPad any time you want," he said. "It is an unlocked device.
All [you] have to do is switch out the SIM in the device so it works on another carrier." As for why AT&T is locking the SIM card to its network while other carriers are not, Siegel said that “it’s just simply the way we’ve chosen to do it.”
Surely it's a coincidence that "the way AT&T chose to do it" cripples a technology that would have made competition easier and simpler on the consumer end?
Bruce Kushnick laments
how cable promotional offers can very quickly become costly, illustrating how his $90 Time Warner Cable Promotional bundle quickly ballooned to $190.77. Most readers will quickly and correctly state that this is how promotional offers work
Speaking on Comcast's earnings conference call this week, Comcast NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke stated that he was "surprised" by HBO and CBS recently announcing they would provide what customers wanted and make it easier to acquire their content online. HBO's announcement for a 2015 streaming service
came after years of consumer clamoring for a service that didn't require a traditional cable TV subscription.
Verizon's latest earnings
were released this morning, the company seeing a net income of $3.79 billion on revenue of $31.6 billion. While Verizon slightly missed Wall Street estimates, competition from T-Mobile didn't dent big red much: the company added 1.5 million wireless customers in the third quarter, 1.1 million of which were tablets.
Dish customers are the latest to lose access to channels they're paying for thanks to yet another retransmission fee dispute. Turner Broadcasting channels including CNN, Cartoon Network and Headline News were pulled from Dish's lineup yesterday after the two sides failed to agree to terms. story continues..
Some AT&T U-Verse users in our forums
say that an emergency alert warning appears to have hijacked their cable boxes, preventing them from changing the channel. Users say the alert switches them to a local channel to receive the alert, but the alert doesn't appear to deliver any information of note.
Critics of Comcast's proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable have heated up their assault on the merger, with more than thirty economics and antitrust law experts this week warning the FCC that the proposed merger would hurt competition and be a detriment to consumer welfare. According to the sixteen-page letter
, the Comcast merger would give the cable giant control of 40% of the broadband market, and the leverage necessary to wage an aggressive anti-competitive war on both large and small competitors alike.
Sources tell The Information
that HBO's recently announced
streaming service will likely cost consumers at least around $15 per month. More specifically, the report claims the service will match HBO's existing cable price tag of $15, seemingly implying it could easily be more. As the report notes, a 2013 survey of broadband-only customers by the Diffusion Group found that only 6% were "moderately or highly likely" to sign up for a broadband HBO service priced at $15. Depending who you ask, this week's announcements of streaming services by HBO means either content prices are dropping
, or prices for these services ultimately won't be that much different from traditional TV
For years many of our more "serious" rural users have chosen to give their business to Verizon Wireless reseller Millenicom
, since they've continued offering larger data allotments and unlimited options (they're a "no drama
" company to quote one of our forum users). The plans were particularly popular among more rural users, whose only alternative is often very expensive and heavily capped satellite service, heavily capped LTE, or dial-up.
Last November we noted story continues..
that Time Warner Cable, historically a bit sluggish when it comes to next-gen broadband upgrades, was considering a brand refresh named "Maxx" that would include significant speed and TV improvements. In addition to bumping select markets
to 300 Mbps (Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Hawaii, Kansas City, Raleigh, San Antonio and San Diego), that will include a fancy new DVR that the company unveiled this week in Los Angeles and New York City.
Over the last few years, arguably the biggest factor for rising cable bills can be attributed to the price of sports programming. DirecTV is spending close to $1.5 billion annually
to offer the NFL Sunday Ticket.
The Broadband Forum's G.fast certification program has offered up more testing schedule and testing details for G.fast, a standard many hope will be able to deliver 1 Gbps speeds over copper lines. At the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam this week, it was announced that the University of New Hampshire InterOperablity Laboratory (UNH-IOL) will be the first and only testing lab for the Broadband Forum's G.fast certification program. story continues..
Last year, Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter stated that people don't really need 1 Gbps, and that the 3 to 6 Mbps most of her customers can get was just fine for most people
. Last summer, trying to downplay the fact said 3-6 Mbps is painfully uncompetitive, Wilderotter called Google Fiber "hype" that "confuses customers
," and that even talking about 1 Gbps services was something that was "disrespectful" to the customer base.
South Korea's SK Telecom today is showing off 10 Gbps connectivity SK Broadband at the Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union. According to Akamai’s Q2 2014 The State of the Internet report, South Korea tops the charts by delivering an average Internet connection speed of 24.6Mbps, significantly faster than the fourteenth place 11.4Mbps seen by the US. story continues..
Please carefully deposit your most interesting thoughts into the receptacle provided below.
As we've covered in the past, Comcast has promised to adhere to the FCC's now-defunct net neutrality rules until 2018 in the hopes of getting their $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable approved by regulators. The problem? As we've noted time and time again -- those rules, largely written by AT&T, Google and Verizon lobbyists -- were intentionally crammed with loopholes permitting everything but the most heavy-handed fiddling with website and service access. story continues..
Broadcasters got their wished-for death blow to Aereo this week as NY Judge Alison Nathan approved an injunction and denied the company's request to be licensed as a cable company. The Supreme Court's shutdown of Aereo
effectively declared Aereo a cable company -- provided as it was willing to pay retransmission fees like a cable company.
While T-Mobile's tactics may not yet be truly hurting Verizon
, AT&T's latest earnings report indicates they're feeling the pesky upstart's assault. AT&T's latest earnings
missed Wall Street estimates, and the company had to lower growth projections due to what has largely been superficial price competition
with T-Mobile. Still, AT&T posted net income of $3 billion on revenues of $32.9 billion, adding a healthy 785,000 postpaid wireless subscribers. AT&T also sports a 0.99% churn rate, suggesting that the majority of the company's customers are staying put, unswayed by John Legere's sultry advances.
The FCC today announced that the regulatory agency is pausing the 180-day "shot clock" on both the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers. According to the FCC's order
, eight content companies including Disney, Time Warner, CBS, Twenty First Century Fox and Viacom raised opposition to competitors and other companies being able to see confidential carriage agreement details, even though companies that view this information must sign non-disclosure agreements.
Already under investigation in West Virginia
for possible mishandling of government subsidy money, Frontier Communications is now facing a new class action in the state for failing to offer the services they advertised. According to the Charleston Gazette
, the suit complains of frequent outages and accuses Frontier of failing to deliver speeds paid for.
If at first you don't succeed, try again. And again. And then again for good measure. Feeling bolstered by the Supreme Court ruling against Aereo
, Fox recently took another legal shot
at trying to argue that Dish's "Hopper" automatic ad-skipping DVR violates copyright. That's something the courts haven't been buying, both in a ruling back in July
, and again today in a tentative ruling
that found Dish didn't violate FOX copyright, but may have been guilty of breach of contract.
32 cities in nineteen different states have formed a coalition aimed at building networks in those cities that private ISPs have so far refused to. Dubbed the Next Century Cities
coalition, the organization will aim to share knowledge and resources that aid the delivery of next-generation 1 Gbps networks. "The leaders whose communities participate in Next Century Cities know that reliable, affordable, and fast Internet is no longer a luxury," states the organization. "Like electricity and plumbing, it is now essential infrastructure." The group arises as the FCC looks to dismantle
portions of ISP-written protectionist state laws that prohibit towns and cities from building their own networks -- even if nobody else will. The full city member list can be found here
Back in January, a Sprint SEC filing
stated that the company would be launching "workforce reduction plan to reduce costs and better meet the changing dynamics of the marketplace." Those reductions have been ongoing throughout the year, with a recent SEC filing
indicating that Sprint intended to take a $160 million hit in the second quarter due to severance packages. A filing last Friday indicated that the latest round of layoffs include the elimination of 452 jobs at the company's headquarters
-- on the heels of 477 job reductions at HQ earlier this year.
Back in May Cox Communications announced
that the company would be launching faster 1 Gbps services. While the company said the majority of the company's footprint wouldn't even begin to see 1 Gbps until sometime in 2016 (when DOCSIS 3.1 sees broader deployment), Cox will start delivering 1 Gbps speeds to some new housing developments in portions of Phoenix, Las Vegas and Omaha well before that.
Anonymous sources tell Benzinga
that Lenovo could announce an acquisition bid for Blackberry as soon as this week. According to the anonymous sources, Lenovo is expected to offer around $15 per share, with a deal being completed at around $18 per share. Rumors of a possible acquisition of Blackberry have circulated for several years, occasionally supported by statements of interest from Lenovo execs. Lenovo of course acquired Motorola Mobility from Google back in January of this year
for $3 billion.
In a new blog post
, the FCC's Gigi Sohn notes that the agency has so far received 3.9 million comments on the agency's net neutrality proceedings to date, filed both through the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) and the agency's dedicated email@example.com email address. If you're in the mood for some light reading this weekend, Sohn notes that the agency has ow released some 2,444,672 of those comments in one zipped XML file
. "As before, we encourage those with the requisite technical skills to analyze the raw data and build visualizations or other tools and to share them with the public," states Sohn.
Comcast this week stated that the cable giant has deployed around 5 million of the company's shiny new "X1" set top boxes after beginning the deployment two years ago. Comcast says they're on target to have X1's in the majority of homes within the next three years
, though that doesn't include potentially-acquired Time Warner Cable customers who are getting new set tops of their own
. Comcast's 5 million deployed X1's are only a fraction of the company's 22.3 million video subscribers, however. Comcast states that those customers on X1 are 20% less likely to leave the company.
If you've followed the recent net neutrality debate, you'll recall that most consumer advocates believe the most sensible way forward is to reclassify ISPs as utilities and regulate them under Title II. Combined this with forbearance, argues groups like the EFF
, and you've got a system that will protect consumer effectively while at the same time keeping the FCC from aggressively over-reaching.
Comcast's latest earnings
indicate the company's third-quarter net income jumped nearly 50% courtesy of income tax "adjustments," leading to profits of $2.59 billion on revenue of $16.79 billion on the quarter. Comcast lost 81,000 net video subscribers on the quarter, but managed to add 315,000 broadband users and 68,000 voice users. Those voice additions are down from 169,000 the previous quarter, and most analysts expect voice totals to slow then start to reverse as users look for ways to reduce soaring TV costs (read: cut digital voice and go cell only). The average Comcast customer bill climbed 4% to $137.24 per month, largely courtesy of early 2014 price hikes for most users.
While T-Mobile's industry disruption has resulted in some pricing shifts by AT&T and Verizon, most of these changes by bigger players have been cosmetic in nature, focusing on upselling heavy users by reducing prices for bigger data allotments (usually customers on 10 GB plans or above). Today Sprint bucked that trend slightly by announcing some changes to one of their lower-end plans
: upping the 600 MB allotment on their $20 Family Share plan to 1 GB. "That’s double the data offered by Verizon and more than 3 times the data offered by AT&T at the same price point," Sprint crows in their release.
According to a new schedule posted to their website
, CableLabs is prepped to host a DOCSIS 3.1 "plugfest" in "a multi-vendor environment" during the week of December 1. The company also plans to host a follow up interoperability testing session during the week of January 19, 2015. Most of the 1 Gbps promises you're seeing made by companies like Cox
will rely on the DOCSIS 3.1 standard, which isn't expected to see significant commercial deployment until sometime in 2016. Back in September CableLabs said they were slightly ahead of schedule
with development of the standard, which will take significantly less time to deploy than it did to design.
Eager to expand government coffers, Hungarian politicians have pushed forward a new draft bill to be debated in 2015 that would tax Internet service providers for traffic carried. A report in Reuters
indicates that the upcoming proposal sets forth a tax of 150 forints (60 US cents) per gigabyte of data traffic, though the report also notes the laws would allow companies to offset corporate income tax against the new levy.
The news was immediately received poorly, with possible protests planned for Sunday. One firm estimates Hungary's annual traffic to be 1.15 billion gigabytes on fixed line networks and 18 million gigabytes via wireless, which would generate around 175 billion forints (around $725 million) for the Hungarian government annually.
The Department of Justice is taking a very hard look at the anti-competitive impact of the Comcast merger, notes Reuters
. The report notes that the DOJ is "digging deep" into a wide variety of issues, from programming negotiations and interconnection deals, to Comcast's growing overall share of the broadband market and the use of data caps. Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer tells Reuters the DOJ asked a lot of questions about the Netflix peering feud in particular. "The majority of the inquiries are around very technical data showing congestion, the timing, showing the impacts on our customers," said Schaeffer. "They're very in the weeds."
Sprint's latest promotion has the company waiving tablet access fees -- if
you're signing up for enough data. The company has announced they're now selling the Apple iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3
, and interested individuals can add the tablets to the company's Sprint Family Share Pack for an access charge of $10 per month per line. Sprint stated the company will be waiving that $10 monthly fee "throughout 2015" if users sign up for a data plan of 20 GB or larger. It's worth noting the Air 2 supports Sprint's faster Spark upgrades, while the Mini3 does not. User IPPlanMan
writes in to note that users only have ten days left if they want to sign up for Sprint's double data promotion
In December of 2011, right after the cable industry struck their massive spectrum and marketing arrangement with Verizon
, Sprint filed suit against Comcast, Time Warner Cable, CableOne, and Cox
for supposedly violating Sprint VoIP patents. In early 2013 Comcast returned the favor, suing Sprint for violating numerous patents related to core network services, SMS/MMS, and 3G modem technology. After a four day federal trial, this week Sprint was forced to pay $7.5 million
to settle the case. Sprint's original suit, which resulted in this counter-suit, isn't expected to see a court room until next year.
by Revcb 07:52AM Friday Oct 24 2014
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