Untethered is better. We love our smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth headsets, wireless keyboards and mice, wireless speakers, and ever more gadgets that connect us to work, family, friends, entertainment, and emerging applications in areas such as health, education, and energy consumption. With 4G offering fantastic performance, many users are cutting the cord to their wired broadband connection, electing for one monthly broadband bill instead of two.
Mobile World Congress continues to be the must-attend event of the year in the wireless industry. According to the GSMA, more than 85,000 visitors from 201 countries attended MWC this year, outstripping the 72,000 visitors who attended in 2013. In addition to the more than 80,000 attendees at the Fira Gran Via this year, more than 5,000 people participated in a range of partner programs at Fira Montjuïc. And what were some of the main themes of the show this year? Low-cost smartphones were on everyone's mind, which makes sense given the boom in smartphones expected in growth markets over the next few years.
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AT&T Mobility has started using carrier aggregation technology in Chicago and other markets to boost LTE capacity and speeds on its network, but it will be a little while before many customers can take advantage of the upgraded network.
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son is struggling to overhaul Sprint's corporate culture in an effort to make the nation's No. 3 wireless carrier more competitive against larger rivals AT&T Mobility and Verizon and upstart challenger T-Mobile US. According to a detailed profile of Son in the Wall Street Journal, the Japanese billionaire executive is holding repeated meetings with all levels of Sprint's management, both in-person and through video conferencing, and is working to instill a fast-paced, Silicon Valley-style attitude at what he sees as a staid, Kansas-based wireless operator.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the FCC should seize a near-term opportunity to use more of the 5 GHz band for unlicensed wireless use, and also explore ways to make use of guard bands that will be produced in the 600 MHz spectrum auction for unlicensed purposes.
Sprint worked with Facebook to develop a Facebook application that lets customers invite friends on Facebook to join a Sprint "Framily" group plan. The collaboration is novel and an indication that Sprint is putting a great deal of emphasis on the plans, which were unveiled in January.
Research firm IDC thinks the tablet market will grow in 2014 compared to 2013 but at a slower pace than it previously forecasted, with a maturing market, stabilizing prices and a decline in low-cost tablets all contributing to the weaker growth.
Sprint's team of technology and networks executives is receiving a major shakeup, with Steve Elfman, president of network operations at Sprint, and Bob Azzi, the carrier's senior vice president of networks, leaving the company. Meantime, John Saw, Clearwire's former CTO, has been promoted to Chief Network Officer of Sprint. Saw had previously been Sprint's senior vice president of technical architecture.
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Verizon launched a promotion called "double up," which is aimed at driving sales of FiOS triple-play bundles and smartphones that run on its 4G network.
Cincinnati is the latest city to lobby Google Fiber to be the next destination for its 1 Gbps fiber to the home (FTTH) service, reports WLWT News 5.