Archive for the ‘All Stories’ Category

FairPoint’s foggy first quarter numbers show broadband investment payoff

FairPoint Communications issued its first quarterly earnings report since emerging from bankruptcy in late January, and while the news wasn’t all good—overall revenue was down about $16 million, along with landline voice subscriber numbers—it wasn’t all bad either—broadband sign-ups increased and that declining landline voice rate actually declined more slowly than in the first quarter last year. (more…)

Verizon dealt a blow in video-on-demand legal battle

Verizon Communications suffered a legal setback having to do with claims on video-on-demand technology patents. The telco had been sued by interactive TV and cloud video system vendor ActiveVideo Networks for alleged infringement on the patents in question, and Verizon had responded with a countersuit against ActiveVideo and one of its customers, Cablevision Systems. However, a federal judge has ruled Verizon’s infringement counterclaims to be invalid, which sets the stage for the original lawsuit to go to court on July 12. (more…)

As smartphone market booms, Android leaps over BlackBerry in U.S.

While Android devices surpassed Research in Motion’s BlackBerry some time ago in new smartphone sales, RIM had one thing going for it: a huge installed base of BlackBerry users dating back to the time it dominated the U.S. smartphone market. But as of the first quarter, RIM lost that distinction as well. (more…)

‘Top brands’ heavy on mobile, telecom — what’s it all mean?

People love their technology, as evidenced by the tech names at the head of the “top brands” list released today by ad agency Millward Brown. At the very top of the list: Apple (1) and Google (2), both big mobile brands at this point. Pure operators/service providers near the top include AT&T (7), China Mobile (9), Vodafone (12) Verizon (13) and DT/T-Mobile (19). You can see the full top 100 here (PDF). (more…)

AT&T gets its first HSPA+ phone (We told you so)

It seems like a big shock, but with the Samsung Inspire Infuse 4G, AT&T gets its first smartphone capable of taking full advantage of its new high-speed packet access plus (HSPA+) network. Unlike the device’s other 4G-branded predecessors, which were embedded with 14.4 Mb/s chips, the new Inspire has 21 Mb/s silicon making it the only device to qualify as HSPA+.

This seems to have become a bit of controversy today as gadget bloggers and tech media have locked onto it (ThisIsMyNext: High-speed half truth, PCMag: AT&T defines 4G as 14.4 Mb/s). At issue is the fact that AT&T and T-Mobile have not been using the terms interchangeably as we all initially assumed. Rather they both seem to define 4G, at minimum, as a device with a 14.4 Mb/s chip that runs on their HSPA+ networks, even if that device can’t take advantage of the network’s full capacity.

Hopefully, you’ve been keeping up with Unfiltered and Connected Planet, which would have made you aware of this months ago. We first pointed it out when T-Mobile announced its first 21 Mb/s device, the Galaxy S (Unfiltered: T-Mobile driving 4G message home), and again when AT&T officially launched its 4G campaign (CP: How 4G will AT&T’s 4G network be?). This was by no means any great feat of investigative journalism. The chip speeds were on the device spec sheets all along. We only bothered to look at them back in January when T-Mobile pointed out the Galaxy would be its first to support full HSPA+ (that’s a hard clue to miss). Apparently a lot of my colleagues are starting to look at those same spec sheets for the first time themselves. I’m certainly not one to criticize. T-Mobile had ‘4G’ devices out for months before we bothered to question those claims.

We can chalk this one up as a lesson: be wary of the operators’ marketing messaging. T-Mobile and AT&T were careful not say directly that 4G equated HSPA+, but their marketing materials had a sneaky way of announcing a 4G device and then mentioning HSPA+ and 21 Mb/s speeds in the next sentence. I cover this network stuff pretty closely, and I like to think I don’t get fooled on network claims very easily. I have to take my hat off to T-Mobile, though. They had me ‘duped’ for months, right up to the point I walked into a T-Mobile store and bought my first HSPA (no plus) phone.

Comcast video subscriber numbers now second to Netflix

Cable TV giant Comcast reported first quarter 2011 earnings this week and confirmed what many had begun to assume: The company has relinquished the title of “Most Video Entertainment Subscribers” to online video juggernaut Netflix. Comcast lost enough video customers during the quarter that it now sits at 22.6 million total, just behind Netflix’s 22.8 million. Netflix, for its part, said it is not intent on competing with the cable TV sector. (more…)

Telco 2.0 version 2.0 offers six paths to succcess

telco2Our friends at STL Partners and their Telco 2.0 initiative recently published what amounts to the follow-up to their extremely influential “two-sided market” manifesto. At its core: a blueprint on the six key opportunities in front of telecom service providers today as they either navigate their way forward in a re-made telecom market or alternatively face, in STL’s words, a brutal retrenchment. We’ve reached out for more from their analysts, but for now a teaser…

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AT&T files T-Mobile paperwork with FCC, while deal’s opponents mount their offense

AT&T has all of its forms in order, filing its official public interest statement today with the FCC for its proposed $39 billion take-over of T-Mobile. The FCC got proceedings rolling last week (CP: FCC gets the ball rolling on AT&T-T-Mobile review), but AT&T’s filing, once accepted, starts the clock on the 180-day comment period, which is sure to be followed by months of hearings. Now all AT&T has to do is fend off a year of unrelenting attacks from the deal’s critics.

Sprint has already shown it has the chops to attack AT&T mercilessly in every available public forum (Unfiltered: Sprint is baiting AT&T—and AT&T is falling for it), but other operators are now following its lead. The Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG) sounded off against the deal urging the FCC and the Department of Justice to block it on the grounds that it would harm consumers, cost jobs and crush innovation (RTG Statement). The RTG also brought out a laundry list of past complaints against AT&T in an effort to demonstrate the last thing on AT&T’s mind was a competitive marketplace. The RTG accused AT&T of blocking all attempts to re-impose a spectrum cap, prohibit device exclusivity, promote 700 MHz device interoperability and impose data roaming requirements. (more…)

Skype fixes privacy glitch; launches 3G calling on Android

skypeSkype released a new version of its Android app that plugs a privacy hole that had the potential to leak out personal information to hackers – and added 3G calling for good measure. (more…)

Service providers take note: Court Dishes out DVR appeal win to TiVo

The latest court decision in an epic seven-year DVR patent battle has been handed down, with TiVo winning an appeal upholding a lower-court ruling that would force Dish Network to disable potentially millions of DVRs now in service. Dish reportedly will appeal, but the latest ruling should be worth watching for other numerous companies engaged in legal battles with TiVo. (more…)