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Google to Add Mobile Carrier Hat to Its Collection
January 23, 2015
Google reportedly is planning to set up shop as an MVNO, purchasing bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile in order to offer its own wireless service. Details are sparse, but Sprint is said to be putting a volume trigger into its contract that would allow for renegotiation if Google's customer volume should exceed a predefined number. The project, led by Nick Fox reportedly bears the code-name "Nova."
FreedomPop's $5 WiFi Plan Whittles Wireless Bills
January 22, 2015
FreedomPop on Wednesday announced a new plan that provides Android smartphone users with access to 10 million WiFi hotspots across the U.S. for $5 a month. That sum will give any smartphone or tablet -- regardless of any carrier service it might have -- unlimited talk, text and data on FreedomPop's WiFi hotspot network. Users will have to download FreedomPop's Android app.
AT&T's Iusacell Deal Could Change Mexico
January 22, 2015
AT&T recently completed its acquisition of Mexico wireless carrier Iusacell -- so what does that mean for the future of AT&T? The growth potential is enormous. The first step is over. AT&T has closed the acquisition. It was one of the quickest deals ever, taking roughly two months from start to finish. The second step is also complete, with AT&T's Thaddeus Arroyo being promoted to CEO of Iusacell.
Verizon Offers Connected-Car Service Even Beaters Can Use
January 21, 2015
Verizon last week unveiled a new connected-vehicle service at the Detroit auto show. Verizon Vehicle, which will go live this spring, will be compatible with nearly every vehicle made since 1996. It will be available directly to consumers regardless of their mobile carrier. Designed to enhance driver safety, Verizon Vehicle will provide diagnostic technology and live assistance with GPS accuracy.
Verizon's Cookies Never Crumble
January 16, 2015
Verizon advertising partner Turn is using the carrier's Unique Identifier Header, or UIDH, to maintain tracking cookies on smartphones even after privacy-minded users have deleted them, Jonathan Mayer, a computer scientist and lawyer at Stanford University, reported this week. Turn shares the cookies with dozens of major websites and advertising networks.
Wireless Data Plans Are on a Roll(over)
January 15, 2015
Great news: Rollover is back and can save you money. Just in case you haven't heard about it, three wireless carriers have kicked off this new competitive battle with rolling data plans. The good news is rollover data works and saves customers money. During the last month or so, three wireless carriers -- AT&T, T-Mobile and C Spire -- have introduced programs in this space.
Feds Pounce on Sprint for Phone Bill Cramming
December 18, 2014
The United States government is delivering a one-two punch to Sprint over the practice of cramming -- allowing third parties to place unauthorized charges on customers' bills. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau on Thursday filed a civil suit against Sprint over the issue. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission reportedly is planning to hit Sprint with a $105 million fine.
NSA's Auroragold Mining Operation
December 10, 2014
The United States National Security Agency, which is known for monitoring landline, Web and cellphone communications worldwide, reportedly also targets wireless carriers. Documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden show the NSA has monitored more than 1,200 email accounts associated with major cellphone network operators worldwide since 2010.
No One Has Privacy Now, Thanks to Super Cookies
December 10, 2014
Does anyone really think that we have any privacy? Probably not. Between GPS tracking and our favorite app, most of us gave up on privacy long ago. Some privacy advocates claim that cell carriers have not been transparent about what personal data they have been gathering and using, although we now know that in order to use a cellular device, we must agree to give it away.
Everything's Coming Up Broadband
December 04, 2014
Comcast and AT&T. Broadband started as a service for people to surf the Web. Generally, it was a separate service offered by the telephone and cable television companies. However, things are changing and growing. The changes that are occurring in the industry are groundshaking, but they don't get as much attention as they should. Understanding these changes is important.
FCC's Spectrum Cash Cow Produces Rich Milk
November 25, 2014
Bidding for wireless spectrum in the United States Federal Communications Commission's latest auction has gone through the roof, raising more than $36 billion as of Tuesday morning. A total of 70 qualified bidders are seeking 1,614 licenses in the 1695-1710 Mhz, 1755-1780 Mhz and 2155-2180 MHz bands. The auction almost certainly will raise even more money over the next few weeks.
AT&T Paves the Wireless Future's Way
November 13, 2014
AT&T shared plenty of powerful information and insights about growth for the company and the industry in general at last week's industry analyst meeting. The wireless, telecom, television and Internet businesses will continue to grow and to change in 2015 and beyond. Whether you are a customer, a worker, an investor or a partner, understanding how change will come will be key to success.
Texting Drivers Willing to Play With Fire
November 10, 2014
Texting while driving is dangerous. We know that intuitively; we know it because the statistics say so; we know it because we have seen any number of public service announcements warning of its hazards. A whopping 98 percent of respondents in a recent survey of people who text at least once a day acknowledged the danger of texting while driving -- yet most admitted to doing it anyway.
Gadget Ogling: Garish Walkie-Talkies, Slick Cameras and Mini 3D Printing
November 08, 2014
Welcome to another installment of every tech-loving optimist's and misanthrope's favorite look at the week's most wondrous and pitiful new gadgets. Ahead, for your delight and dismay, are studies of a wearable walkie-talkie-type communication device, a 360-degree action camera, a tiny 3D printer, a smart camera attachment, and a clever mobile roaming solution.
Verizon, AT&T Are Watching You
November 05, 2014
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week renewed its protests against Verizon Wireless' and AT&T's use of supercookies that can't be deleted or disabled to track customers' mobile Web-browsing activities without their knowledge. The carriers' tracking isn't new -- Verizon has been using these supercookies for two years. However, that has not been generally known.
AT&T: We Told Our Customers 'Unlimited' Doesn't Mean 'Unlimited'
October 29, 2014
The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday filed a complaint in a California federal court against AT&T, seeking compensation for customers who were told they had unlimited data plans but in reality did not. The legal action stemmed from a practice AT&T began in 2011 of throttling data delivery to customers with unlimited data plans when their data usage reached a specified amount during a billing period.
Divvying Up the US' Crucial Wireless Spectrum
October 23, 2014
The U.S. government is about to hold another wireless spectrum auction. Why is spectrum so important? If you owned a brand new car with brand new tires, you would still need air in those tires in order to drive, right? That's wireless spectrum. It's the air inside the tires that lets you drive. Without spectrum, you can't use mobile apps. The problem is, wireless spectrum is not unlimited.
No More Wireless Mergers? No Problem
October 16, 2014
Big news: The new wireless world in the United States, which has been led by AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, will stay exactly the same. That's right -- Iliad no longer is interested in T-Mobile. There will be no changes -- for now, anyway. So can we finally forget about all the merger distractions and focus on competing again? Please!
FCC Chews on the Mobile Net Neutrality Question
September 17, 2014
The FCC on Tuesday hosted a roundtable discussion on the possibility of Net neutrality rules being applied to mobile networks. Participants in the talk included representatives from The Center for Media Justice, Consumers Union and CTIA. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler earlier this year suggested that the 2010 rules, which exempted mobile services from Net neutrality provisions, should be reconsidered.
Rise of the Smartwatch
September 15, 2014
Taken separately, last week's announcements from Apple, Intel and T-Mobile were impressive. Intel and T-Mobile basically announced they were going to explode the existing mobile market, changing it dramatically. Apple embraced some slow-moving technologies, which should speed them up dramatically. I don't think what Apple announced is in the same league, but it also will drive change.
Smartphone Kill Switch Law Reaches California Governor's Desk
August 12, 2014
California is poised to enact a consumer-friendly law requiring smartphone manufacturers to install "kill switches" -- that is, antitheft technology that would be activated by the carrier when a consumer alerts it that a device has been stolen or lost. The technology not only wipes the device of personal data but also renders it inoperable. The state legislature passed the bill on Monday.
What's Next for Sprint?
August 12, 2014
There's a New Sprint in town. Last week the earth shook twice in Kansas City -- once when Sprint decided not to end its pursuit of T-Mobile, and then again when it replaced CEO Dan Hesse with Marcelo Claure. What can we expect next? First, Sprint is going to be a very different kind of company going forward. New CEO Marcelo Claure and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son will take Sprint on a new path.
Carrier Software Flaws Imperil Smartphones: Report
August 08, 2014
Wireless carriers pose a threat to mobile phone security, researchers have disclosed. Mathew Solnik and Marc Blanchou of Accuvant this week told an audience at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that Android, BlackBerry and some iOS devices are vulnerable. The problem lies in a device management tool using the OMA Device Management Standard, which carriers embed into mobile devices.
Sprint Sheds Hesse Along With T-Mobile Hopes
August 07, 2014
Softbank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son has announced sweeping changes for subsidiary Sprint. Effective Aug. 11, Sprint President and CEO Dan Hesse is being replaced by Marcelo Claure, founder and CEO of Softbank subsidiary Brightstar. Also, Sprint has dropped plans to purchase T-Mobile. Hesse's replacement was expected, as Sprint has been hemorrhaging customers and piling up losses for some time.

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