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.
As customers hold onto smartphones longer, Apple, Samsung could challenge carriers with upgrade programs
U.S. consumers are upgrading their handsets less frequently as carriers move away from two-year contracts and toward leasing programs and equipment installment plans. The decoupling of those contracts with the price of the phone itself has provided consumers with added transparency about what they're really paying for their phones, so they're often holding on to them longer. This could create headaches for carriers trying to hold on to their subscribers.
Nine years ago when I started my tenure as editor in chief of FierceWireless, I'd already been covering the wireless industry for more than 15 years. I'd seen the end of analog phones, the battle between CDMA and GSM (particularly in the U.S. market) and was carefully monitoring this growing phenomenon called "mobile content" that was making the flashy Hollywood studio types take a closer look at the cross-marketing and promotional potential of SMS and feature phones. 3G networks were deployed and we were just beginning to see the enormous power of the wireless Internet.
BARCELONA, Spain -- As I wrap up my fourth day of meetings, press events and booth visits at Mobile World Congress 2016, one very obvious theme has emerged -- the push for some operators to deploy what many are calling "pre-5G" gear by late 2017 or early 2018, well in advance of the previously projected date of 2020.