US

Major US carriers unveil VoLTE plans

The evolution of voice continues apace as US carriers Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA reveal plans to launch Voice over LTE, with AT&T expected to follow suit on Friday.

AT&T to acquire DirecTV for $48.5bn

US carrier AT&T has announced plans to acquire US and Latin American pay TV player DirecTV in a deal valued at $48.5bn. The deal will create a service provider with an offering across mobile, broadband and video that is unprecedented in the market, AT&T said. The transaction, which also involves AT&T assuming $18.6bn in debt, should take a year to complete, the telco said.

Telstra expands cloud platform to US, Japan

ollowing its EU and APAC expansion this summer, ICT and backbone network service provider Telstra Global announced Thursday that the company has expanded its cloud and “connected colocation” services to the US and Japan, and is in the process of upgrading existing facilities in Australia.

AT&T strikes tower deal with Crown Castle

US operator AT&T is to sell approximately 600 of its wireless towers to independent infrastructure management firm Crown Castle, and lease the rights to another 9,100 towers, for a combined up-front payment of $4.85bn. AT&T will lease capacity back from Crown Castle, for a minimum of ten years, for $1,900 per month per site, with annual rent increases of two per cent.

US operators to trial Ericsson small cell solution

US operators will begin trials of an indoor coverage solution provided by Ericsson in Q2 next year, based on a small cell product that weighs just 300 grams. While it has not officially named a first trial partner, a comment provided for the product’s launch release puts AT&T squarely in the frame. Sebastian Tolstoy, head of business development and strategy for Ericsson’s radio division told Telecoms.com: “As you can see from the release the first operators we’ll go to market with are American operators.”

HTC to slash US workforce

Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has announced that it will reduce its US workforce as it looks to “streamline and optimise” its operations. The cuts will affect around 30 employees, represent around 20 per cent of HTC’s 150-strong workforce.

Vodafone Verizon deal inches closer

Vodafone put a price on the sale of its 45 per cent share in Verizon Wireless to Verizon in another short statement on Sunday, sizing the deal at $130bn (£83.4bn) in cash and common Verizon stock. While the firm described the talks as “advanced”, and despite reports on Sunday and Monday that the deal is all but done, a formal announcement has yet to be made.

Vodafone confirms talks on sale of Verizon Wireless stake

Vodafone has confirmed that it is discussing the potential sale of its 45 per cent stake in US operator Verizon Wireless to JV partner Verizon Communications. Verizon’s desire to assume full control of the largest mobile operator in the US is well known and the deal has been the subject of speculation for the better part of a decade.

EE launches shared data plans

The UK’s first LTE operator, EE, has announced the availability of shared pricing plans for its LTE customers. The plans, which will become available July 17th, were announced as EE switched on what it is calling “double speed LTE”.

Softbank to acquire 70 per cent in Sprint

Japanese carrier Softbank has announced its intention to acquire a 70 per cent stake in US operator Sprint. Softbank will invest $20.1bn into Sprint; $12.1bn of which will be paid to its shareholders and $8bn will be used as new capital.

Free data service aims to disrupt US mobile market

A US start-up is aiming to disrupt the wireless broadband market with its commitment to deliver free 4G services to its users. FreedomPop has launched the beta version of its service and will be offering 500MB of free data usage to each of its customers using US wholesale operator Clearwire’s WiMAX network.

Vermont Telephone upgrades broadband capabilities

US telco Vermont Telephone has selected a range of solutions from Alcatel-Lucent as it prepares to increase the availability of super-fast broadband and deliver IP video services in its service territory in Southern Vermont

US denies Huawei bid due to fears over national security

Chinese network vendor Huawei has been refused permission by the US government to bid for a contract to work on the nationwide emergency network. A government spokesperson said that permission was refused due to national security concerns. The firm as now asked the government to elaborate on its reasons.

US politicians ask Obama to approve AT&T/T-Mobile merger

US President Barack Obama has received a letter from 15 lawmakers calling for his administration to approve the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. The letter, put forward by member of congress Heath Shuler and 14 other Democrats, said that the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA would help solve America’s jobs crisis by reducing unemployment, encourage private investment and promote new and innovative technologies that will drive job creation.

US DoJ moves to block AT&T/T-Mobile deal

The US department of Justice has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in a bid to block AT&T’s proposed $39bn acquisition of T-Mobile’s US operation, claiming that the deal would “substantially lessen competition” in the US wireless sector. If successful, said Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, the move would result in higher prices and lower quality for consumers.

Verizon taps Payfone for payments network

US carrier Verizon is the latest to jump on the mobile payments bandwagon, announcing on Tuesday a partnership with mobile transaction firm Payfone to bring carrier billing to Verizon Wireless users.

Apps can now be classified as ‘medical device’

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a final rule that reclassifies certain software and hardware products used with medical devices as Class I or low-risk products. Until now, these devices were considered to be either Class III (high-risk) devices requiring pre-market approval or accessories to an existing medical device.

Ahuja seeks to reassure authorities over Lightsquared concerns

Sanjiv Ahuja, the chief of forthcoming US wholesale carrier Lightsquared, has sent a letter to the country’s communications authority addressing concerns that the LTE and satellite-based network may interfere with GPS services. Ahuja is seeking to assure the FCC that “there will be no interference,” in order to keep its rollout plans on track.

CDMA iPhone puts new slant on US carrier competition

There was no great surprise to Tuesday’s announcement that US CDMA operator Verizon Wireless has finally managed to secure a CDMA version of the Apple iPhone 4. The news is a boon for the Verizon network, which is widely perceived as offering the best quality in the country. iPhone pioneer AT&T meanwhile, could lose subscribers to its closest rival.

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