Verizon launches XLTE in 6 new markets; Dish defends $3B in discounts in auction

Quick news from around the Web.

"U.S. court should protect privacy of RadioShack customers -FTC  via @Reuters" --@FierceWireless

> Vodafone showed a return to growth in its latest financial report. Article

> HTC said it still might make "mini" phones. Article

> MVNO GIV Mobile cut the price of its 1 GB data plan to $30 from $35. Article

> Services from MVNO Ultra Mobile are now being sold at 6,000 7-Eleven stores. Article

> Verizon Wireless launched its XLTE service in six new markets. Post

> Apple is reportedly planning to release a software update for its Watch. Article

> MVNO Scratch Wireless introduced a new smartphone for $99. Release

> BlackBerry said it plans to continue to make phones. Article

> Sprint said its Direct 2 You service is now available in Kansas City, Chicago and Miami. Release

> Dish Network defended the $3 billion in small business discounts it hopes to receive in the AWS-3 spectrum auction. Article

> Apple scored a partial victory in its ongoing patent-infringement battle with Samsung. Article

> According to a new report, Apple has canceled plans to make a TV. Article

Mobile Developer News

> Google could introduce A/B testing for apps in its Google Play store. Editor's Corner

> Steve Hegenderfer, director of programs at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, explained how the group plans to help developers make applications and services for the Internet of Things. Hot Seat

Telecom News

> Traditional telcos may be seeing their voice service revenues continue to decline every quarter, but the cost of running and maintaining these aging networks continues to rise. Article

> The turf battle between IPTV provider CenturyLink and incumbent cable operator Comcast just got a bit bigger. The Minneapolis City Council approved CenturyLink's franchise agreement giving the company the go-ahead to launch IPTV service in Minneapolis with the goal of blanketing the entire city with IPTV coverage within five years. Article

Cable News

> Charter Communications and Bright House Networks have agreed to go through with a $10.4 billion merger plan originally announced in late-March. Article

> Audience ratings for linear TV continue to plummet, with the latest Bernstein Research audience tracker revealing an overall year-over-year dip of 11 percent for the week of May 4-11. Article

And finally… President Obama borrowed an iPhone to Tweet. Article