In the mobile communications industry, we often talk about the "scissors chart," which shows revenue reaching a plateau while demand for data continues to grow. Everyone can see that these combined trends are a problem for mobile operators. The mobile operator must feel like a father that brings home his paycheck, to find that his family has already spent it. Here's the good news: Encouraging signs are emerging now that there's a new source of capital available for the mobile industry.
Verizon Wireless is quietly building a major business around tablets, one that could help the carrier maintain its leading position as rivals undercut its prices and overcome its LTE coverage advantage. Verizon's tablet strategy has become significantly clearer during the past several months, and it's definitely an important strategy.
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T-Mobile US is launching a new family plan promotion that undercuts similar plans from other carriers by around $60 per month for a family of four.
Apple will soon support in its stores the handset upgrade programs from three of the four Tier 1 U.S. carriers, according to a report from 9to5Mac. The report, which cited unnamed sources, said starting in late August "many" U.S. Apple retail stores will launch a pilot program to let customers buy new iPhones via AT&T Mobility's Next program, Verizon Wireless' Edge and T-Mobile US' Jump. It's unclear if or when Apple will support Sprint's Easy Pay program.
The wait for the first commercial Tizen-based smartphone will go on. Samsung Electronics said it would delay sales in Russia of the Samsung Z, the first Tizen smartphone, presumably because there are not yet enough apps on the platform.
The House on Friday passed legislation that makes it legal for consumers to unlock their cell phone and take it to another carrier, and President Obama indicated he will sign the bill into law.
Verizon Wireless hit back hard against the Find Me 911 Coalition, arguing to the FCC that the group was spreading "misleading" information about how often Verizon provides the most precise location information needed for dispatchers and first responders to find callers. Verizon told the FCC that it "does not take lightly such allegations and undertook an internal review of its own performance data in response to the claims."
Nortel Networks Inc., the U.S. unit of bankrupt Canadian vendor Nortel Networks Corp., has agreed to pay U.S. creditors as much as $1 billion to cover interest that investors claim has built up since the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
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We all knew the 5G pendulum was going to swing back pretty hard post-Mobile World Congress this year. Sure enough, come mid-year 2014, it's suddenly fashionable for people in the telecom industry (media, analysts, etc.) to push back on the 5G hype. You probably know the messages I'm thinking of: "There are still plenty of 2G networks supporting M2M and voice in operation." "3G will be with us for years, so keep investing in those networks." "LTE and LTE-A are more than capable enough to support millions upon millions of people watching million upon millions of streaming video sessions."
With ample deployments based on DOCSIS 3.0, Comcast is still very much committed to its hybrid fiber coax network. But the MSO's proposal to build a fiber-to-the-home network supporting 530 homes in Sun Valley, Fla., shows it also has plenty of interest in competing with Google and Verizon for fiber-based broadband services.