The mobile and wireline industries are set to collide as some cable companies appear to be gearing up to launch wireless services. But there's little reason to expect the mobile landscape to be radically overhauled anytime soon.
Just as the term "mobile" generally refers to on-the-go connectivity, discussions about 5G often focus on faster and more reliable services for users as they move from place to place. But speakers at the Wireless Infrastructure Show this week reminded me not to dismiss the importance of indoor usage as carriers prepare to enter the 5G era.
There is clear battle brewing between the wireless industry and the cable industry. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and the rest of the nation's top wireless carriers are increasingly developing products and services that stand as a direct challenge to cable operators like Comcast and Charter Communications. Such actions are doubtlessly causing headaches in the cable industry.
The FCC today announced it will be able to offer a whopping 126 MHz, or 10 paired blocks, of licensed spectrum on a near-nationwide basis in the forward portion of its 600 MHz incentive auction. That's a huge victory for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and it potentially creates an opening for a new wireless carrier to launch in the United States.
Verizon this week launched a promotion in support of Android Pay, offering subscribers free additional data when they use Google's payment service at the point of purchase. The move follows last month's news that Verizon is the only major carrier that doesn't allow Samsung to preload its own mobile payments offering on Verizon's phones. Like its fellow carriers, Verizon has something of a history of favoring certain apps, services and technologies over others, or even overtly blocking offerings at will.
There's no doubt that competition in the wireless industry is heating up: A market that once held dozens of major regional wireless carriers like Alltel and Leap Wireless now only counts a few. Meantime, nationwide carriers like AT&T and Verizon continue to gobble up most of the high-value wireless customers in the country with the promise of near-ubiquitous coverage and a huge array of smartphones and other devices. That's why Terry Addington's MobileNation, and its Twigby MVNO, is so interesting.
The wide range of topics affecting the nation's smaller carriers are on clear display in the agenda for the Competitive Carriers Association's upcoming Mobile Carriers Show in Nashville next week. On the schedule is everything from how to repair a smartphone to how carriers can position themselves for the Internet of Things.
FierceWireless won't be publishing tomorrow in honor of Good Friday, but we'll be back in your inbox Monday, March 28. Enjoy the holiday and have a great Easter.
TV broadcasters must tell the FCC which specific TV channels they are interested in selling by next week, which will kick off the incentive auction of 600 MHz spectrum that will be a key focal point for the mobile industry for at least the next several months. The FCC will then reconfigure those airwaves via optimization software to make them more easily usable for carriers before announcing in a few weeks how much spectrum it hopes to make available to bidders. Officials hope to provide as much as 126 MHz.