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T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Teeters Between FCC Approval, DoJ Rejection
May 23, 2019
United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai this week gave the green light to a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, currently the third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers respectively. The nation's top telecom regulator agreed to the $26 billion merger, but with some conditions -- the most notable being that Sprint would sell off its Boost Mobile prepaid cellphone brand.
US Mobile: Another Bait-and-Switch Disappointment
May 16, 2019
I just dumped US Mobile after less than four months, setting a new speed record for hitting my tolerance-for-b.s. ceiling. I'd had high hopes for this relatively new mobile virtual network operator, but it turns out I chose poorly. Switching wireless service providers is one of those things I don't relish doing, but every few years I find that I'm in a one-way relationship with my carrier.
What Happens to Sprint if T-Mobile Merger Fails?
May 9, 2019
Sprint's best shot at success is to merge with T-Mobile. Without the merger, I see the company continuing to struggle as a weak player in the competitive wireless battle. Then again, this is nothing new. Sprint has been limping along for decades, for many different reasons. If this merger fails, will Sprint carry on as before? The reality is that Sprint is in trouble.
What Matters Most in the Race to 5G Wireless
April 11, 2019
With 5G knocking on our door, a growing number of wireless competitors have been getting on their high-horses and trying to knock down the current leaders. All I have to say is, cut it out! No customer or investor is interested in all this meaningless industry-wide jibber-jabber. If you keep this up, you may pay a price when you do begin to offer 5G. Does it really matter which company is first?
5G Is Key to T-Mobile, Sprint Merger
February 11, 2019
Over the last several quarters, I have heard opinions of the pending T-Mobile, Sprint merger from every corner. Those who are pro-merger focus on all the benefits it woud bring. Those who are anti-merger focus on what would be lost and how it would harm different segments. Amid the chaotic debate, what really matters is whether the regulators are going to say yes or no.
Wireless Carriers Caught Playing Fast and Loose With Location Data
February 8, 2019
AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have sold access to subscribers' real-time location data to aggregators, which in turn have sold it to about 250 bounty hunters and related businesses, according to a report. In some cases, the data allowed users to track individuals to their specific locations inside a building. Some companies made thousands of location requests to data brokers.
Verizon Trying Its Hand at Cloud Gaming
January 17, 2019
Verizon has a new cloud-based gaming service that is in the alpha testing stage, being tested on Nvidia Shield set-top boxes. The Shield devices, which were unveiled in 2015, were updated two years ago when Nvidia rolled out its own streaming service. Verizon Gaming will give greater software support to the Nvidia Shield, but it also will be opened to Android smartphones in the near future.
Lenovo, Verizon to Reincarnate Motorola Razr as Foldable Smartphone: Report
January 17, 2019
The Motorola Razr -- once the hottest flip phone available -- is being revived as a smartphone with a foldable screen, according to reports. It will be offered exclusively through Verizon in the United States, possibly in February, although the device is still being tested and the launch date is not firm. Its starting price reportedly will be $1,500.
Cable One's Bright Sparklight Idea
December 21, 2018
The cable TV industry has been changing over the last decade and lately has been penetrating the wireless space. Brands like Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile and Altice Mobile have emerged. Cable One, a smaller cable television company, has announced its new brand, Sparklight. Could this be its first step toward offering a wireless service? That's the direction I think it could be heading.
AT&T to Switch On 5G in 12 Cities
December 19, 2018
AT&T is poised to activate its 5G network in parts of 12 U.S. cities. A select group of users will receive a 5G hot spot that connects to AT&T's 5G+ network. AT&T's 5G service will roll out in parts of Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Oklahoma City; New Orleans; Raleigh, North Carolina; and San Antonio and Waco, Texas.
Can Sprint Get Out of Its Own Way?
November 7, 2018
There has been so much water under the wireless bridge. Sprint has tried to keep up with the big players, but even though it has a good quality mobile product and plenty of spectrum, it seems it just can't catch a break, win market share, and become more relevant. Based on its latest earnings report, Sprint is in better shape today than it has been in recent years, but it is still struggling.
Despite Emmys, Road Ahead Is Bumpy for Streaming Services
September 18, 2018
Netflix had a very good showing on Monday, winning 23 Emmy Awards and tying longtime Emmy-winning powerhouse HBO. Netflix, an over-the-top streaming service, claimed 112 nominations this year, four more than its premium pay-TV channel rival HBO, which had dominated the Emmys for nearly two decades. Although the Emmy wins were good news for Netflix, other recent news has been far less rosy.
The Wireless Industry's Two-Horse Race
May 30, 2018
There has been a lot of noise in the wireless industry in the last few years. Between the competition among existing wireless carriers and the challenges of new players, the industry has been growing and transforming. However, despite all the chaos, one thing has remained unchanged: Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility are still the top two competitors in the space.
FTC Signals Tougher Stance on Mobile Privacy Protection
March 29, 2018
Mobile device makers and telecom service providers need to make significant privacy protection improvements for their customers, says the FTC. Its recent report could become the basis for agency enforcement actions -- not only for smartphones, but also for other mobile devices. "The report is a clear signal to the industry to focus on this issue," said Gerard Stegmaier, a partner at Reed Smith.
Vendors Await $50B 'Tsunami' of US Telecom Contracts
February 20, 2018
The U.S. government has modernized telecom and supporting IT twice within the last 20 years -- but not without controversy, delays and costly project management. A third modernization currently is under way, under the direction of the federal GSA. The potential value of contracts issued to vendors under the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions program is $50 billion over 15 years.
Top 5 Data-Driven Mobile Services for a Competitive Edge
January 12, 2018
The mobile data market has been approaching saturation in major industrialized nations. Mobile data consumption has increased steadily over the past several years, but consumers have found new ways to avoid paying extra for services they don't need or use -- and intense competition among mobile carriers has allowed consumers to switch from fixed-data to unlimited plans and pay less in the process.
T-Mobile Starts Building Low-Band Wireless Network in the Sticks
August 22, 2017
T-Mobile last week announced that it has begun the long-anticipated rollout of its new 600-MHz LTE premium low-band spectrum network in Cheyenne, Wyoming, kicking off a massive rollout designed to provide wireless coverage to rural communities across the U.S. T-Mobile also plans to use the low-band spectrum to accelerate deployment of next-generation 5G mobile service.
Major Tech Firms Pressure FCC to Stay the Net Neutrality Course
July 18, 2017
The Internet Association, which represents 40 leading technology companies -- including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others -- on Monday filed comments with the FCC, urging it to maintain Net neutrality regulations enacted during the Obama administration. The rules have created a level playing field that has helped fuel innovation in the broadband Internet space, according to IA.
The Best Wireless Service and Smartphone
June 8, 2017
During a recent grocery checkout conversation, the cashier asked me which was the best wireless service and best smartphone. This is a question I get frequently, and though it seems straightforward, it's difficult to answer. As I told the cashier, it depends. "On what?" she asked. That's when I realized that the industry's marketing doesn't answer the big question: "Which carrier is best for me?"
Verizon Wakes Up to Join Mobile TV Race
March 17, 2017
Following decades of slow movement due to cable companies facing no competition, the television world is changing rapidly. Lots of challengers have arisen in the pay-TV space in recent years. One of the latest comes from Verizon, which has improved its FiOS mobile app to offer data-free streaming. AT&T's DirecTV started this ball rolling with its wireless TV, or mobile TV, offering.
FCC Head Champions FM Radio for Smartphones
February 27, 2017
Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, last week issued a call for activation of the FM chips in smartphones. The vast majority of smartphones sold in the U.S. have FM chips, but they're activated in only about 44 percent of the top brands, Pai said. Although that's nearly twice the 25 percent figure of two years ago, it's not good enough, he suggested.
Verizon Caves, Launches New Unlimited Data Plan
February 13, 2017
Facing growing pressure to respond to growing wireless data demands in the U.S. mobile phone market, Verizon finally relented. The company on Sunday announced its own unlimited smartphone option while keeping alternatives open for lighter data users. Verizon's new introductory plan provides unlimited data on smartphones or tablets, along with unlimited texts and phone calls, for $80 per month.
Which Wireless Carrier Is Best for You?
January 5, 2017
Which wireless carrier is best? Many studies are undertaken every year, and while they are interesting and accurate, they often are not that useful in selecting the best carrier for you. Why? Simple. They are generic studies, but you are not a generic customer. If wireless performance were the same for every customer in every location, then the studies would be helpful -- but that's not the case.
Pay TV's Newest Innovation: Giving Users Control
November 21, 2016
With the launch of Stream Saver, AT&T Mobility has given users control over their streaming video quality. Stream Saver is similar to Sprint's video optimization and T-Mobile's Binge-On plans. Now, the only major carrier not offering a video optimization service is Verizon Wireless. Stream Saver lets users choose. They can use it or not depending on their particular circumstances.
Samsung Down, Galaxy Note7 Out
October 11, 2016
Samsung shares fell sharply on Tuesday after the company confirmed reports that it had halted production of its flagship Galaxy Note7 smartphone, just launched this summer. The move came after several replacement phones reportedly smoldered or caught fire. Shares fell 8 percent in the Korean market. Samsung had been working with the U.S. CPSC on a voluntary recall and replacement program.
Samsung's Galaxy Note7 Assembly Lines Grind to Halt
October 10, 2016
Samsung has stopped production of its problematic Galaxy Note7 smartphones, according to multiple press reports Monday. The company had been offering replacements of the phone after issuing a recall due to defective batteries, but all four major carriers have stopped doing so, presumably because several of the replacements exhibited similar problems, including smoking and catching fire.
Comcast Takes the Wireless Plunge
September 21, 2016
CEO Brian Roberts on Tuesday announced that Comcast will enter the wireless phone market by mid-2017 as a mobile virtual network operator. A 150-strong Comcast Wireless team, headed by Greg Butz, is "getting ready next year ... to launch a WiFi and MVNO-integrated product," Roberts said at the Goldman Sachs Annual Communacopia Conference in New York.
Verizon Toys With Risky App Revenue Plan
August 23, 2016
Verizon's reported consideration of a plan to preinstall mobile apps from major retailers and financial firms on users' smartphones has drawn sharp criticism. The carrier reached out to numerous retail and finance brands with an offer to preload mobile apps on its Android phones for between $1 and $2 per device, according to unnamed ad agency executives.
Verizon Customers Get No Respect
July 15, 2016
Why do customers seem to overreact when Verizon announces changes? Verizon's latest price hike has been causing angst in the marketplace -- at least on social sites like Twitter. Why does Verizon keep shooting itself in the foot? The short answer is poor marketing. Verizon's marketing moves show no care for the customer base, and that comes with at cost to Verizon.
Verizon's Mission of Self-Destruction
June 27, 2016
Customers and investors increasingly are wondering why Verizon and Verizon Wireless are hurting themselves with their actions. For starters, Verizon decided to battle its own striking workers on the public stage. That battle shed lots of bad blood, and it will be tough to close those wounds. Many companies experience strikes, but most are settled quickly and quietly.
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How important is a candidate's knowledge of technology in winning your vote?
Extremely -- technology is at the center of most of the world's big problems and solutions.
Very -- a candidate who doesn't understand technology can't relate to young people.
Somewhat -- a general understanding is sufficient.
Not very -- choosing good advisers is more important than direct knowledge.
Not at all -- technology is often a distraction from more important issues.