Place your thoughts into the comment section below. Front page news will return on January 20. Until then, show us something interesting.
Last Spring, paywall-loving tech news outlet The Information floated a rather vague
rumor that Google was considering a very serious jump into the wireless industry. Eight months later and the news outlet is back with some additional information
, claiming that Google's essentially going to be operating an MVNO that utilizes, at least in part, the T-Mobile and Sprint networks:
Google is preparing to sell mobile phone plans directly to customers and manage their calls and mobile data over a cellular network, according to three people with knowledge of the plans...The new service is expected run on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks, two people familiar with the product say.
Google is of course considering whether or not to deliver Google Fiber to a possible 34 potential cities
, of which only a few are likely to be chosen. Right before Christmas Google delayed the announcement
of the next city (or cities), but stated they'd be announcing the next Google Fiber city early next year.
Hoping few would notice, AT&T's filing with the SEC last Friday
notes that the telecom giant will be taking a $10 billion hit on fourth quarter earnings. According to AT&T, $7.9 billion of that total is "related to actuarial gains and losses on pension and postemployment benefit plans." The specific nature of those losses? The company's ex-employees are living longer than company projections estimated (or as AT&T puts it, they've had to "update mortality assumptions").
Preparing for a protracted fight over net neutrality and municipal broadband, FCC boss Tom Wheeler has been making a significant push to redefine the baseline broadband definition at 25 Mbps
. Why? To justify legal action on both fronts, the agency needs to fall back on its Congressional mandate to ensure that broadband is deployed in a "reasonable and timely basis." That's why the FCC has been highlighting that two-thirds of the public can't get access to 25 Mbps from more than one carrier.
As we noted yesterday
, news reports indicate that Google's longstanding interest in being a wireless provider may soon be coming to fruition. The search giant appears to have struck deals with both T-Mobile and Sprint to operate some form of MVNO that likely fuses Wi-Fi and cellular service.
Speaking on the company's earnings conference call this week, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo stated that customers waiting for Verizon to follow the industry trend of roll over data plans shouldn't hold their breath. Long a seemingly common-sense idea, Southern carrier C Spire was the first to offer the option of pooling and keeping unused bits and bytes in early December
Customers happy with T-Mobile's more consumer-friendly disruption of late may not be thrilled by recent comments by the CEO of T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom. Speaking to Recode
at the DLD conference in Munich, Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges stated he was disappointed that regulators didn't approve Sprint's merger with T-Mobile, and expressed concern that the recent spectrum auction just widened the gap between Verizon, AT&T and everyone else in the States.
A new bill introduced in Congress this week would aim to overturn the kind of state protectionist broadband laws this site has written about for roughly fifteen years. The Community Broadband Act
, introduced by Sens.
Verizon's MyFioS Android App
contained a bug that exposed some Verizon customer information and could allow a hacker to view customer e-mails and send e-mails from those accounts. Randy Westergren, senior software developer with XDA-Developers, states in a blog post
that the bug has existed since at least June 2013 when the app was created.
With their new exclusive deal with the NFL
driving up DirecTV's costs, it's now time for the satellite provider to pass those higher costs on to you. The company is informing customers that it's hiking the price of its Sunday Ticket NFL packages
from between 5 and 7.3 percent for the 2015 season. The company's basic Sunday Ticket plan will now cost $251.94, up from $239.94 for the 2014 season, a five-percent bump. DirecTV's Sunday Ticket Max plan jumped from $329.94 in 2014 to $353.94, a 7.3 percent increase. DirecTV's exclusive arrangement with the NFL costs them an estimated $1.5 billion annually.
According to a blog post by T-Mobile CEO John Legere
, 63% of Americans have a less than perfect credit score. Bad credit, the CEO argues, keeps most consumers from being able to qualify for most of the best wireless service and device deals made available.
Unsurprisingly, President Obama ambiguously touched on two key broadband issues in his State of the Union Address
given last night. In recent months Obama has finally given his belated support to both meaningful Title-II based net neutrality rules, but also to dismantling state protectionist laws that protect the nation's entrenched broadband duopoly from community broadband efforts.
New York State has announced a $1 billion plan to improve the state's broadband infrastructure. According to the government's announcement
, the State plans to use $500 million in "capital funds from bank settlements to incentivize the private sector to expand high-speed broadband access in underserved and unserved areas." Companies interested in gaining access to this money will need to contribute a 1:1 funding match.
AT&T might dump the DirecTV brand name if AT&T's acquisition of the satellite company is approved, says AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. "We haven't decided yet on how we are going to brand it," Stephenson told reporters
at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We're testing the DIRECTV brand. We're testing the AT&T brand, so we're doing a lot of thinking." Of course that's assuming regulators approve of AT&T's elimination of one of its biggest competitors in the television space. That's certainly not a given, though Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable appears to be getting the lion's share of media attention.
In what's either a great bit of comedy or ridiculous treatise over at the company blog
, Blackberry CEO John Chen this week gave his two cents on net neutrality (or as he puts it, "app neutrality"). Blackberry, which currently sees around a 2% market share versus iOS and Android, hasn't had a particularly great few years as new products have struggled to resonate with the marketplace.
Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton are spearheading a new attempt to pass weak net neutrality rules before the FCC can vote to craft tougher, Title II based rules on February 26. The press is being incredibly polite about this effort, often painting it
as an honest, bipartisan solution to net neutrality from two gentlemen that have changed their tune.
As part of the company's effort to improve the reputation of its online streaming TV Everywhere initiative, Comcast and NBC Universal say they'll be broadcasting this year's Superbowl online, for free. In very un "TV Everywhere" fashion, NBC's eleven hour stream
won't require proof of a traditional cable subscription to watch. A study last year found that 82% of consumers have no idea what TV Everywhere even is
, something NBC and Comcast hope to remedy by what will likely be more than a few pitches for the concept during the big game.
For some time broadcasters have been trying to claim that Dish's Hopper auto-ad-skipping DVR violates copyright, and for just as long the courts haven't agreed. Dish won yet another ruling this month, U.S. story continues..
As we noted earlier this week
, CEO of T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom made a few comments recently casting doubt on T-Mobile's survival chances in the market. Tim Hoettges stated he wasn't comforted by AT&T and Verizon's likely haul of spectrum at recent auction, and didn't see T-Mobile as a sustainable enterprise long term given the money they're having to spend to keep up with the nation's duopoly. Traditionally outspoken T-Mobile CEO John Legere apparently wasn't too impressed with these reports
Of course it's not really clear what's "bullshit" about the owner of the company Legere works for clearly stating he doesn't think T-Mobile's expensive war on the wireless duopoly is sustainable long term, but Legere tried to repeatedly downplay the comments when asked about them on Twitter:
Reporters like Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin have offered to interview Legere on the subject
to clear up what Legere believes is being misinterpreted, but the wise-cracking CEO doesn't appear to have replied to the offer yet.
Verizon's fourth quarter earnings
were certainly nothing to laugh at, but they continue to indicate that Verizon's feeling increasing competitive pressure on the wireless front. The company added a whopping 2.1 million new wireless connections during the fourth quarter, though Verizon did see its contract customer turnover (or "churn") rate increase 18 basis points from last year to 1.14% (it historically never heads above 1%). On the wireline front, the company's financial sheet
(pdf) notes that while Verizon added 387,000 net new FiOS TV customers and 544,000 net new FiOS Internet customers, they continue to heavily hemorrhage (quite intentionally) unwanted DSL and POTS customers.
Hi there! Come here often?
In late 2013 Motorola, then under the Google umbrella, unveiled plans
for a modular smartphone by the name of Ara. The idea is to allow users to buy a base platform for their smartphone, then buy, mix and match a variety of upgrades for the device they can switch in and out depending what they need.
by Revcb 06:38AM Monday Jan 19 2015
Dish Network has been found guilty of violating the Federal Do Not Call Registry more than fifty million times. According to an FTC notice
, Dish Network ignored consumer opt opt preferences in millions of cases, calling customers with sales pitches who had clearly stated they didn't want marketing calls. The report notes Dish also violated the "abandoned-call" provision of FTC rules some 49,738,073 times (read: Dish's automated service called, but then hung up on the user before connecting them to an agent, resulting in those users being tossed back into the system again for more errant calls). Given that the FTC penalty for each instance of DNC violation can be up to $16,000, Dish may be looking at a sizable fine for interrupting your dinner.
Initially in flight broadband providers had a lot of trouble selling Wi-Fi connectivity to customers that expected Wi-Fi to be free. Now the New York Times
is running a profile piece that notes as more people sign up for in-flight service, the technology is having a hard time keeping up with demand.
"Freemium" wireless carrier FreedomPop
has announced a new plan that offers consumers unlimited access to a network of 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for $5 a month. Noting that 90% of data consumed by mobile devices is over Wi-Fi networks, FreedomPop says the 10,000 hotspots
will cover roughly 120 million people and between 65% and 90% of the 100 largest metro markets. The company has released an Android app
, and an iOS app is in the works. "iOS is far more closed, whereas Google has committed to make Wi-Fi as seamless as possible, something else that should scare carriers," states the company.
states that Google is getting close to a $1 billion investment in Elon Musk's Space X -- with a specific aim of funding that project's exploration of broadband-providing micro satellites. The deal would be just the latest in a myriad of Google efforts to bring low-cost Internet (and ultimately, advertisements) to billions of unserved users in lower-income countries. A follow up report by the Wall Street Journal
confirms Google's investment plans, but the project is obviously still new new for any meaningful technical specifics to emerge. Space X's plan involves micro-satellites orbiting the globe at around 750 miles.
Amazon is getting into the movie business. In addition to the company's foray into original TV programming, Amazon is joining Netflix in dipping a big toe into film creation and digital distribution. According to the Amazon announcement
, Amazon will be taking aim at the traditional film release window. Amazon Original Movies will "focus on unique stories, voices, and characters from top and up-and-coming creators," and will be made available to Amazon Prime subscribers four to eight weeks after appearing in theaters.
by Revcb 07:02AM Wednesday Jan 21 2015
by Revcb 07:02AM Tuesday Jan 20 2015
by Revcb 06:29AM Friday Jan 23 2015