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T-Mobile, MetroPCS Merger Gets More Wind in Its Sails
March 07, 2013
The T-Mobile-MetroPCS merger has moved one step closer to the finish line now that the Department of Justice has signaled it doesn't oppose the deal. The department allowed a required waiting period to pass without objection, Deutsche Telekom said Wednesday, bringing the deal to an "important staging post."
Samsung Shores Up Security to Pluck BlackBerry Biz Users
February 28, 2013
Having established its credentials as a key player in the consumer smartphone world, Samsung is bolstering security to take a stab at business users, a demographic traditionally dominated by BlackBerry. For the past year, Samsung has been beefing up the Android software that powers its smartphones to protect it against malware.
Consumer Signal Booster: An Electronic Gadget Grows Up
February 26, 2013
There's a little-known electronic gadget -- one that's generally not available alongside the colorful big-screen TVs and bass-pounding sound systems in seductive, sparkly urban consumer-electronics mega-stores -- that can be a life-changing device, nonetheless. For some people, it's much more important than the latest 4.7-inch smartphone.
Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over Like Button
February 12, 2013
Rembrandt Social Media is suing Facebook for its use of the Like button, according to the BBC. Rembrandt claims that Facebook's success is owed, at least in part, to patents belonging to Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer, who died in 2004.
DoJ Tosses Monkey Wrench Into Sprint-Softbank Merger Plans
January 30, 2013
Citing national security concerns, the Justice Department on Tuesday asked the FCC to put the brakes on the pending Sprint-Softbank merger. The DoJ, FBI and DHS are reviewing the buy for national security, law enforcement and public safety concerns, according to a letter Justice sent to the FCC.
Google Plans Mysterious Wireless Network Project
January 24, 2013
Google has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for a new or modified radio station for an experimental radio service other than broadcast. The initial base station will be deployed on Google's campus in Mountain View, Calif. It appears the company intends to build a dense, hyperspeed wireless network.
AT&T Wheels and Deals to Fend Off Spectrum Squeeze
January 22, 2013
AT&T has reached an agreement with Atlantic Tele-Network to buy its wireless assets for $780 million. The deal will add approximately 585,000 subscribers -- mainly in Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina -- to AT&T's user ranks. Perhaps more importantly, AT&T's acquisition of the Alltel brand will bring in spectrum complementary to AT&T's network.
FCC Aims to Expand WiFi Highway
January 10, 2013
The FCC plans to open up a new batch of wireless spectrum to bring faster and more reliable access to public WiFi hotspots, its chairman announced Wednesday during a talk at the 2013 CES, although it will have to overcome some obstacles. The commission seeks to free up 195 Mhz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band, the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be made free for WiFi expansion since 2003.
Boeing Uses Sacks of Spuds for In-Flight WiFi Tests
December 20, 2012
Using potatoes as an analog for humans, Boeing has come up with a new way to test for in-flight wireless signal strength. Signal strength is everything when it comes to effective wireless connectivity, whether it's on the ground or 35,000 feet up in the air. Passengers on board a wireless-enabled plane want to access the network whether they're in first class or the middle seat in the back of the plane.
Apple Pushes Out WiFi Fix for iOS 6
December 19, 2012
Apple on Tuesday began pushing a fix to a WiFi bug in iOS 6 that targets the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. Apple has released very little information about the fix. Its support site simply describes the 6.0.2 update as "fixes a bug that could impact WiFi." This latest fix for iOS 6 is the second since the software was released in September.
Sprint Chases Clearwire Buyout Deal
December 13, 2012
Sprint Nextel has made a $2.1 billion offer for the shares of Clearwire that it doesn't already own, according to a regulatory filing. The news comes after rumors surfaced earlier this week that the company was in talks with Intel and Comcast to buy out their stakes. The offer, which works out to $2.90 per share, also comes with interim financing of $800 million for Clearwire, if it agrees to the deal.
FreedomPop Dishes Up Free Data in Broadband Offensive
December 12, 2012
FreedomPop is looking to disrupt the cable and DSL business model by offering free wireless Internet service to home users. The startup on Wednesday began taking orders for an $89 modem that will provide online access to as many as 10 WiFi-enabled devices in the home, at speeds faster than digital subscriber lines.
The Skies Have It: Affordable Broadband Internet for All
December 05, 2012
The rural broadband delivery business is rapidly changing. When Dish Network's super-cheap broadband-via-satellite service, dishNET, went live in October, it prompted a satellite Internet price-war. dishNET download speeds reach 10 Mbps. Service starts at $39.99 a month for 10 GB of data at 5 Mbps if you bundle it with Dish Network's television service.
CR's Cellphone Service Rankings May Help Businesses More Than Consumers
December 03, 2012
It's that time of year again: Consumer Reports has published its annual list of best cellphone carriers. Verizon is at the top, having received the most favorable scores for voice and data service quality. It also scored well for staff knowledge and resolution of issues. Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T each got middle to low marks, especially in the voice and text service quality categories.
An All-Occasion Mobile Signal Booster in a Backpack
November 29, 2012
A simple AM radio can keep you abreast of events during a disaster. However, a smartphone is ideal for two-way communications, as well as for news and government messages via text message and social networks like Twitter. I've been using a signal booster kit while backpacking around network-sparse, sunny Southern California.
No-Sweat Windows 8 Networking
November 15, 2012
Easy sharing and streaming of media and other assets among computers at home or in the workplace is a good reason to get networked. Other benefits include sharing Internet connections. If you've been using email as a method for distributing files among family members or a small business, or are simply taking the Windows 8 plunge, Microsoft has never made it easier.
US Is King of the 4G World
November 08, 2012
Perhaps the United States was not the first to get into the 4G LTE wireless data game, but today it may be the most aggressive in rolling it out. The U.S. has more miles of network, more devices, and more subscribers than any other place on Earth. If you listen to the advertising, it seems every carrier offers 4G, and every customer uses it. Do you? If so, great. If not, when?
AT&T to Plow More Billions Into Spectrum Hunt
November 07, 2012
AT&T on Wednesday announced that it will boost capital spending by as much as 16 percent to $22 billion a year for the next three years to upgrade its wireless and wireline networks. The increase is necessary to compete with Verizon Communications, which is currently upgrading its own network.
FCC Draws mHealth Road Map, Part 2
November 02, 2012
The U.S. government's efforts to advance health technology include work taking place at two obvious agencies: the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, an unlikely player in the healthcare arena has emerged -- the Federal Communications Commission, which finds itself at the center of the mobile health, or mHealth, sector.
FCC Draws mHealth Road Map, Part 1
October 30, 2012
Smartphones can perform all kinds of neat tasks, such as instantly directing owners to the nearest sushi bar, or providing inning-by-inning updates of the World Series. Beyond these eye-catching consumer conveniences, the potential for more substantive uses for mobile telecom is enormous. One such area is healthcare, including a wide range of services.
Can Apple Get By With 'Nobody's Perfect' Defense?
October 02, 2012
The new iPhone 5 has a bigger screen, a faster chip and a thinner display. It also has a share of problems, including complaints about WiFi performance. However, this weekend Apple reportedly fixed an iPhone 5 bug that had caused the handset to use Verizon mobile data when the phone should have been connected to a WiFi network.
FCC Chips Away at Spectrum Problem With Incentive Auction Plan
October 01, 2012
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved a notice of proposed rulemaking that will lay the groundwork for the agency to auction television spectrum to mobile carriers. The NPRM establishes proposed rules and asks for public comment on the auctions. Under the proposal, U.S. television stations would give up spectrum in exchange for proceeds from an "incentive" auction -- a world first.
iOS 6 Triggers Wonky WiFi Woes
September 28, 2012
Maps aren't the only thing causing grumbling among the Apple faithful these days. Complaints are piling up about WiFi performance, too. Customer grousing about WiFi problems has filled 93 pages at one Apple forum with beefs about disabled options, failure to link to corporate networks and logy connections.
Bump Up Your Carrier's Lousy Signal With a Femtocell
September 27, 2012
If you've been experiencing choppy voice quality or dropped calls from your mobile provider at your home or workplace, there are steps you can take to correct the problem. Cellular phones use radio signals to communicate, and like any other radio, signal propagation issues -- including topography, obstructions, distance to tower and interference -- affect quality.

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