US

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.

Skype pushes mobile video; buys Qik

Internet telephony player Skype has agreed to acquire Qik, a US-based mobile video sharing platform, which will give the VoIP firm greater capabilities in the mobile telephony market.

Verizon launches M2M management centre

Verizon has launched its Machine to Machine Management Center, giving enterprise customers near real-time access to monitor M2M wireless devices. Customers can access the platform directly through Verizon’s MyBusiness or the Verizon Enterprise Center, or through customers’ business-specific applications, developed using nPhase’s unified web services SDK. The solution is a product of nPhase – the joint venture between Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless.

T-Mobile USA extends wifi calling to Android

T-Mobile USA is to make wifi calling available on a wide selection of its Android-powered smartphones including the recently announced T-Mobile myTouch and Motorola Defy. Customers wifi access points are powered by Kineto’s Smart Wi-Fi Application. T-Mobile said it hosts approximately 40 million wifi calls per month.

Verizon details US LTE launch plans

US carrier Verizon has unveiled plans to launch commercial LTE services in 38 major metropolitan areas, providing coverage for around 110 million Americans by the end of the year. The 4G technology will also be deployed in 60 or so airports nationwide by other key cities.

FCC moves to open up ‘white spaces

US regulator the FCC has taken the first steps to opening up the vacant airwaves between TV channels, so called ‘white spaces’. This is the first significant block of spectrum made available for unlicensed use in more than 20 years. The Second Memorandum Opinion and Order adopted this week resolves numerous legal and technical issues, eliminating the requirement that TV bands devices that incorporate geo-location and database access must also include sensing technology to detect the signals of TV stations and low-power auxiliary service stations.

Clearwire mulls LTE options

US operator and WiMAX pin up Clearwire is to trial LTE and examine coexistence scenarios between the 4G technologies. The announcement was accompanied by much bravado about how Clearwire is better placed to do LTE than any other US carrier.

Icahn boosts Motorola stake amid TV tablet rumours

Billionaire investor and corporate activist Carl Icahn is once again making his presence felt at US handset vendor Motorola, after buying up enough stock to become the company’s biggest shareholder.

Polls

With Amazon and Google launching smart home initiatives, have the telcos missed out on their chance to cash in on this market?

  • Yes, Google and Amazon will now dominate this space (65%, 40 Votes)
  • Consumers won't have made up their mind (19%, 12 Votes)
  • No, Google and Amazon will not be able to replace the telcos in the mind of the consumer (16%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 62

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