Articles by Roger Entner
There is no dispute that Congress' objective to attract more small businesses to the wireless sector is a laudable one; however, there is some debate over whether offering such entities discounted access to spectrum is the best too to reach the goal. And the results of the recently concluded AWS-3 auction have put the debate over bidding credits for small businesses front and center on DC's policy agenda.
The Pew Research Center recently published a report called US Smartphone Use in 2015, which provides some interesting survey data on how Americans are accessing the Internet. When looking at the survey results, it becomes apparent that zero rating data--the practice of exempting data usage charges when accessing certain websites or apps--is a viable, market-driven opportunity that improves the affordability of access to everything from health information, to job applications, to encyclopedias, to music and more.
Apple launched their watch and from everything we hear it's the best attempt that anyone has made to create a device that doesn't merely replicate the smartphone experience on an inferior form factor. Is this Apple Watch the final iteration? We all surely hope not, but that shouldn't be a barrier to adoption.
The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines Thursday week to apply "public utility" style regulations to the Internet. This is a dramatic turn away from the more nuanced regulatory framework the FCC had been considering before President Obama asked the agency to flex its regulatory muscles under Title II of the Communications Act. There has to be a better way to achieve net neutrality than through Title II as life under Title II has been an extremely litigious one.
All the while when we were trapped in the Title II News Blizzard that made any other topic seem small and irrelevant, the FCC has been conducting an auction of wireless spectrum. This wasn't supposed to be the big auction--that honor was reserved for the incentive auction, in which broadcasters would sell spectrum they hadn't deployed since the digital TV transition consolidated things. This was just an auction for "AWS-3" spectrum, Advanced Wireless Service frequencies in a high band that wasn't expected to pique much carrier interest. The FCC had set a reserve price of $10.6 billion.
President Obama's foray into broadband policy could represent a major turning point in telecommunications and internet policy both for the United States and the world as a whole, if the FCC adheres to what the President requested. In a world where prices decline, services improve, and choices increase, this country's most senior leader has decided that a heavy-handed regulatory framework developed 80 years ago is the right vehicle to grow jobs, attract investment and catalyze innovation in the digital economy.
The U.S. mobile broadband experience is the stuff of lore around the world, in part due to the smartphone revolution that started here, enabled by large, reliable wireless networks and innovative pricing strategies. The U.S. was also the first to roll out fully commercial large-scale LTE networks that offered significantly higher speeds than ever before, and still leads the world in LTE subscribers and deployment.
We should have seen it coming: Just as we have watched the majority German-owned T-Mobile USA and the majority Japanese-owned Sprint contemplate walking down the aisle in slow motion, a new, dashing suitor has appeared on the stage and who else could it be? It's a French company that thinks it's a better match than the Japanese.
Though off a bit from the fourth quarter of 2013, the industry continued to expand strongly with total wireless subscriptions up 3.529 million as T-Mobile blew the doors off with record gains. AT&T also was strong, while Verizon had a rare off-quarter and Sprint had another setback on the road to recovery.
Q4 2013 saw robust growth across the industry with subscriptions climbing by 4.688 million thanks to gains from all the providers other than Leap and U.S. Cellular. Sprint offered the biggest surprise with 58,000 contract additions. By taking the AT&T playbook to the next level offering an aggressive tablet promotion, the company turned another contract loss into a surprising win.