Report: Sprint lines up 8 banks for T-Mobile bid; T-Mobile: 12,000 people signed up for iPhone test drive

Quick news from around the Web.

> LinkedIn launched a stand-alone mobile app, LinkedIn Job Search, for job seekers. Article

> Nokia released a launcher for Android called the Z Launcher. Article

> A balloon from Google's Project Loon crashed in New Zealand and was mistaken for an airplane. Article

> Gemalto lost a court ruling on its patent-infringement claims against Android. Article

> Wells Fargo plans to challenge Apple's iBeacon and Qualcomm's Gimbal in offering technology that would allow retailers to interact with shoppers. Article

> Philip Falcone resigned from LightSquared's board as the company works to reorganize in bankruptcy. Article

> Exfo announced it acquired Aito Technologies, a provider of "customer experience analytics for mobile network operators." Release

> The FCC said it plans to issue the largest fine in its history against C.T.S. Technology Co., a Chinese electronics manufacturer and online retailer, for allegedly marketing 285 models of signal jamming devices to U.S. consumers for more than two years. Release

> Facebook said its Android app now starts 50 percent faster than six months ago and uses 50 percent less data than a year ago. Article

> T-Mobile said that 12,000 people have already signed up for its iPhone test drive promotion, which will allow them to use a new iPhone 5s on the T-Mobile network for free for a week. Post

> "I'm really determined to bring about better service at a lower price in the United States," SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said during the Japanese carrier's annual shareholders meeting. "We could inspire other carriers in the United States." Article

> According to Reuters, Sprint has agreements with eight banks to finance its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile US. Article

> Google quietly acquired Alpental Technologies, a Seattle startup headed by former Clearwire executives that was reportedly working on 5G technologies. Article

> Google and Microsoft promised to add technologies to their respective mobile platforms geared toward deterring theft. Article

Wireless Tech News

> Startup traffic-management vendor Vasona Networks scored its first announced customer win with regional wireless operator Cellcom, which is deploying Vasona's SmartAir1000 edge application controller and SmartVision analysis suite across its footprint in Wisconsin and Michigan. Article

Telecom News

> AT&T has identified the town of Cary as the next destination in the state of North Carolina where it will bring its 1 Gbps-capable fiber to the home (FTTH) "U-verse with GigaPower" platform. Article

Cable News

> The National Cable & Telecommunications Association took issue with a Los Angeles Times report claiming that set-top boxes are among the leaders in energy consumption. Article

> In a speech to The Media Institute on Thursday, FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly compared the commission to an ostrich, suggesting the FCC is putting its head in the sand by not quickly reacting to market conditions and modifying antiquated rules that do not reflect new realities. Article

European Wireless News

> Weve, the mobile marketing and payments venture set up by Vodafone UK, EE and O2 UK, is seeking a new CEO just over a year after appointing David Sear as its permanent chief executive. Article

> Bouygues Telecom this week announced the launch of commercial LTE Advanced (LTE-A) services in a number of towns and cities across France, and SFR and Orange also took the opportunity to provide an update on their LTE-A rollout strategies. Article

And finally… John Legere Tweeted: "I know I have an Rated R vocabulary, but even I can go too far.  Sincere apologies to anyone offended last night."