The shift to handset leasing and smartphone upgrade plans is dramatically altering the financial models of wireless operators and significantly lengthening the lifespan of the smartphone. It's also creating some confusion in the industry. During every third-quarter earnings call, analysts have peppered wireless executives with questions about their equipment installment plans (EIP) and, in the case of Sprint and Apple, their device leasing programs.
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AT&T is reportedly using equipment from Australia's NetComm Wireless and services from Ericsson for its fixed wireless local loop (WLL) technology tests. AT&T confirmed recently it is testing fixed WLL technology in select areas of the country with local residents who want to try the service, including in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Virginia, and is seeing speeds of around 15 to 25 Mbps.
Nikesh Arora, the former Google executive who is now president of SoftBank, said that he's not worried about the continued concerns over the future Sprint, of which SoftBank is the majority owner. "I'm very relaxed," Arora told Bloomberg. "I'm here for at least the next 10 years."
In a new, lengthy filing with the FCC, AT&T reiterated its proposed changes to the agency's Lifeline program. Specifically, AT&T urged the FCC to offload most of the management functions of the program to the Universal Service Administrative Company, and to also allow Lifeline recipients to use the program to pay for their Internet access, whether that's wireless or wireline.
Samsung Electronics flatly denied a recent report that the company is considering the sale of its wireless networks business.
AT&T predicted to dominate 600 MHz incentive auction with $10B in bids, outshining T-Mobile's $8B spend
The financial analysts at Wells Fargo predicted that AT&T will outspend its rivals on licenses during the FCC's incentive auction next year of TV broadcasters' 600 MHz spectrum, dropping up to $10 billion on a 2x10 MHz block of spectrum with nationwide capability. The analysts predict T-Mobile will come in second with bids of up to $8 billion, while Verizon will clock in last among the nation's largest wireless carriers with a total of $5 billion in bids.
As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, T-Mobile US, Verizon and other carriers are moving to cut prices and introduce promotions to goose their fourth quarter subscriber additions. Among the most interesting offerings is T-Mobile's offer to give $200 to every Sprint customer who switches to T-Mobile, a promotion that does not require a handset trade-in and stands in addition to the $650 that T-Mobile offers to cover the cost of early termination fees.
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AT&T has joined the growing chorus of ILECs that say requiring them to give wholesale customers a year-plus notice before they discontinue service will delay the IP transition.
Windstream may be in the process of selling off its data center business, but the service provider will still play a prominent role in that industry segment by providing fiber and related wavelength services via its Carrier Solutions group.