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Internet Heavyweights Lock Arms to Block Fast Lane
July 15, 2014
A trade association including Amazon, Google and Netflix on Monday called on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules banning deals by broadband providers for faster delivery of some Internet traffic. The Internet Association, in written testimony submitted to the FCC, called for simple "light touch" rules to ensure an open and neutral Internet.
T-Mobile's Legere Sputters Over FTC's Cramming Accusations
July 02, 2014
T-Mobile's efforts to market itself as the un-carrier that puts customers first may be impacted by the FTC's allegations that it has engaged in "cramming" -- charging consumers for services offered by third-party companies without their knowledge or consent. T-Mobile's fiery CEO, John Legere, dismissed the FTC complaint as "unfounded and without merit."
Verizon to Chromebook Pixel Owners: We're On It
June 27, 2014
After a hornet's nest was stirred up over the premature termination of some Chromebook Pixel users' free data plans, Verizon apparently has begun trying to make amends. "A very small number of Chromebook Pixel customers may have had a promo end prematurely," said Verizon spokesperson Debra Lewis. "We apologize for this and will work with these customers to address the situation shortly."
Verizon Flips Off Chromebook Pixel Customers
June 24, 2014
Though early purchasers of the LTE model of Google's Chromebook Pixel were promised two years of limited data, it appears Verizon has reneged on those assurances. The WiFi-only Pixel cost $1,299 while the LTE model set back consumers an extra $150. Those who bought the system through the Google Play Store when it went on sale last April were offered 100 MB of free Verizon data every month.
AT&T, DirecTV Merger Could Hamper Cord-Cutting
June 13, 2014
AT&T's planned merger with DirecTV is far from a done deal. Among the objections that have been raised is one stemming from a filing this week with the FCC. There is now concern that the merger would make it more difficult for consumers to cut their cable-TV cords. The companies told the FCC in a public interest statement that the merger is the only way they would be able to compete.
AT&T Catches a Wave
May 22, 2014
Change is good. Industry consolidation seems to come in waves, and the next wave seems to be starting. Together, AT&T and DirecTV will be a strong new competitor in the pay-television space. That's great. Unless traditional cable-TV companies get their act together, this merger could be another nail in their coffin. This is a busy time in the industry.
AT&T Gambles on DirecTV
May 20, 2014
AT&T has agreed to acquire DirecTV in order to expand its consumer offerings across additional platforms and better compete in the ever-evolving telecom industry. The merger of the U.S.' second-largest wireless provider and second-largest pay-TV company would be worth about $48.5 billion. With the inclusion of DirecTV's net debt, the total transaction value would rise to $67.1 billion.
AT&T May Be Suiting Up to Battle Comcast
May 13, 2014
AT&T has been negotiating to buy DirecTV for close to $50 billion, based on reports that surfaced Monday. The deal, which has not been confirmed by the companies, could close within a few weeks. The current option on the table, according to anonymous sources, would be largely a stock trade but it would include some cash, with AT&T offering in the low- to mid-$90s per share for DirecTV.
FCC Chair Changes Tune on Net Neutrality
May 12, 2014
The chairman of the FCC reportedly is changing a proposal for regulating Internet traffic in response to a wave of dissension against the idea. Chairman Tom Wheeler had proposed a new "Net neutrality" plan that would allow ISPs to negotiate with companies that use the Internet to provide services to end customers in order to grant preferential treatment of their data in exchange for fees.
Tech Industry Leans on FCC in Net Neutrality Clash
May 08, 2014
More than 100 companies in the tech industry have come together to battle a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission that they say could irreparably harm the open Internet. Firms including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, and Yahoo signed an open letter to the FCC advocating the benefits of an open Internet.
British Supermarket Chain to Launch Its Own Smartphone
May 06, 2014
Tesco, a British-born multinational grocery store chain, plans to launch its own smartphone later this year. The device will reportedly run on Android software and have specs comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S5. Of course, the Galaxy doesn't come equipped with preinstalled Tesco services; the new phone will. Tesco has been electronically progressive, at least as far as supermarkets are concerned.
Nokia Launches Fund to Invest in Smart Vehicles
May 05, 2014
Nokia has created a $100 million fund earmarked for investing in firms that specialize in connected and smart vehicles. The move comes days after the Finnish firm forked over its handset unit to Microsoft. Nokia already has a mapping-and-location company called "Here." The new fund will be designed to support the growth of the ecosystem around Here's mapping and location products and services.
AT&T In-Flight WiFi Could Soar
May 01, 2014
AT&T just announced it will be getting into and improving the in-flight WiFi business. It will be next year before this service is available, but if it's better than the current GoGo WiFi service, I think it will be a big success. Back in the days before in-flight WiFi, stepping onto an airplane meant we were pretty much cut off from the rest of the world until we landed.
The Ultra High-Speed Internet Race Is On
April 17, 2014
Want to watch a new tech race? Keep your eyes on the new 1 Gbps ultra high-speed Internet race. Over the next few years, it will become one of the hottest races around. So who will the leaders be? Today, entrants like Google, AT&T, C Spire and CenturyLink already have started their race for the gold. First, it's important to understand this race, so let's pull back the camera.
T-Mobile Ditches 'Greedy, Predatory' Overage Fees
April 14, 2014
T-Mobile has decided to end overage fees for its mobile customers. The company is abolishing overage charges for customers on every consumer plan, and its chief executive, John Legere, has laid down the gauntlet to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to kill off such charges as well. Twenty million Americans saw punitive overage charges on their bills in 2013.
Which Wireless Network Is Best for You?
April 10, 2014
Every couple of years, it's time to buy a new wireless phone -- and every couple of years, we go through the same decision-making process. What should be the most important part of that process? The answer is not in the advertising. It's not about choosing a phone. Rather, it's choosing the right network -- and there is a difference between major carriers. Which is best for you?
T-Mobile Kisses Up to BlackBerry Customers
April 04, 2014
After racking up a number of successes, T-Mobile clearly made a misstep earlier this year, when it promoted Apple's iPhone 5 to its BlackBerry customers. BlackBerry this week announced it would not renew T-Mobile's license to sell its products, which expires at the end of April. Now T-Mobile is now scrambling to keep its BlackBerry customers with an offer of a $100 credit.
Net Neutrality Wins Tough Battle in European Parliament
April 03, 2014
The European Parliament on Thursday approved new Net neutrality rules. Net neutrality, both in the EU and in the U.S., refers to the concept of requiring ISPs to treat all traffic the same regardless of its source. In Europe, that means ISPs such as Vodafone or Deutsche Telekom can't deliver content from competitive providers of, say, online videos, via slower pipes or make them pay more.
T-Mobile Won't Have BlackBerry to Kick Around Any More
April 03, 2014
BlackBerry has decided to part ways with T-Mobile. "BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years," said CEO John Chen. "Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers." BlackBerry hopes to work with T-Mobile when the two parties have common business goals once again, Chen added.
Telecom Customer Service: The Wrong Things Stay the Same
March 27, 2014
I started writing about service as a magazine editor back in the last century -- well, 1996, if you want to be specific -- but it might as well have been in the days of hula hoops and big fins on Fords. Service practices for telephone companies -- and for all utilities -- were still rudimentary, and they weren't getting any better. The telecom act of 1996 opened up competition.

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