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FCC Plan to Boost Inflight WiFi Takes Off With Turbulence
May 11, 2013
As more airlines begin to offer WiFi, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is proposing to increase the bandwidth available for inflight wireless broadband. The FCC is essentially basing its proposal on Qualcomm's submission to the government from July 2011. This raises the question of whether the FCC is perhaps too closely tied to one company in this area.
MetroPCS Shareholders Bless T-Mobile Union
April 25, 2013
T-Mobile can breathe a sigh of relief: After an initial show of reluctance by MetroPCS Communication investors, 80 percent approved its sale to T-Mobile at a special shareholder meeting held on Wednesday. T-Mobile reportedly sweetened its bid for the company to bring on board those shareholders who felt the original offer undervalued MetroPCS.
India to Get a Smartphone for the Blind
April 25, 2013
A company in India has developed a smartphone for the blind. The device will be equipped to read text messages and emails, and it will then convert the text to Braille. It will utilize shape memory alloy technology, which exploits a metal's ability to "remember" its original shape. The phone's screen is not a screen so much as a grid of pins that move up and down to form Braille characters.
Preparing for a Disaster: Keeping Communications Alive
April 19, 2013
Disaster communications tech has become a hot topic, spurred in part by last fall's Hurricane Sandy, where major swaths of New York City were rendered without some business-level communications such as those provided by cell networks. Just how does a business approach mid- to long-term communications continuity in the event of a natural disaster?
Samsung Under the Gun for Alleged Anti-HTC Rumormongering
April 17, 2013
Taiwan authorities have launched a probe into charges that Samsung hired students to post disparaging comments about HTC online. If the false advertising accusations are upheld, Samsung and its local advertising agent could be on the hook for about $835,000. The complaints sprouted earlier this month when Internet users claimed that Samsung had contracted students to write online content attacking HTC and lauding Samsung.
Texting Instead of Talking Helps Keep Lines Open in a Disaster
April 16, 2013
Following Monday's tragic terror attack at the Boston Marathon, it was reported that cellular phone service was intentionally shut off to prevent any possible remote activation of other explosive devices via mobile phones. As details emerged, it became clear that no shutdown was actually ordered. Although heavy usage did overload cellular systems, service did remain available throughout the day, the carriers said.
Mali Kicks Off Internet Domain Giveaway
April 09, 2013
It was time to try something new. The western Africa nation of Mali, whose .ml domain current has fewer than 50 active websites, will let people around the world register .ml sites for free. Less than half of Mali has mobile phone coverage, and just 4 percent of the population is online. Nevertheless, it will give away its domain starting in July.
North Korea's 3G Experiment Might Be Over
March 27, 2013
North Korea's Internet liberation has hit a snag -- it's still North Korea. One month after announcing that it would grant tourists and visitors 3G Internet access, North Korea appears to have revoked its 3G services. Tourists reportedly no longer have 3G access. There is a chance that the 3G service is merely busted, but given North Korea's history, the consensus at the moment is that the plug has been pulled.
Apple Takes the Maps Fight Inside
March 27, 2013
Apple has slammed the door on WiFiSLAM after acquiring the Android indoor location positioning developer. However, even though it has closed the startup's shop, Apple will likely use its technology to get mapping again. After last fall's humiliation over its bungled outdoor maps app, Apple's acquisition of WiFiSLAM could be an important step in the right direction.
T-Mobile Finally Gets Some Respect
March 26, 2013
After six years of watching helplessly as competing providers basked in the iPhone's glory, T-Mobile is going to start offering the coveted device as well. The carrier made the much-anticipated announcement at an event Tuesday morning, where it also revealed plans to step up its 4G network rollout. The announcement about the iPhone, though, was the headliner.
Beyond the Grave, Onto the Smartphone
March 25, 2013
A cemetery in Shenyang, the capital of China's Liaoning Province, will become, for lack of a better term, interactive. With mobile devices, people will be able to scan a quick response code on graves of people whose relatives have requested the feature. Scanning this code will allow visitors to learn about the person's life; they can also access a Web page where relatives and friends can upload photos or video.
FCC Chair Genachowski Calls It Quits
March 22, 2013
Julius Genachowski said Friday that he is stepping down as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, a post he has held since 2009. During his tenure, Genachowski faced a number of important issues, including media consolidation, cable and telecom industry competition and cooperation -- and, most notably, a sharp debate over broadband spectrum.
I Want My M-WiFi
March 19, 2013
Looking for an Internet connection when out and about may soon become a lot easier. There's been an uptick in public WiFi availability. Recent public WiFi launches include Google's free WiFi project in New York City, starting with parts of Chelsea. London's tube network went hot in 2012 with 92 underground stations WiFi-enabled; Virgin Media is connecting a further 28 stations by the end of March, 2013.
T-Mobile Deal's Fate Now in MetroPCS Investors' Hands
March 13, 2013
Following Tuesday's final approval by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, the focus now shifts to some MetroPCS shareholders who have raised last-minute objections to their proposed merger with T-Mobile. The wireless carriers announced the deal in October, claiming it would create a "bigger, better, bolder" network that would keep the T-Mobile name.
Google Hit With $7M Fine at the Privacy Tollbooth
March 13, 2013
Google has settled its Street View privacy case with 38 states and the District of Columbia. As part of the settlement, the company will destroy the personal information it collected under the project, train its employees on privacy issues for a 10-year period, launch a campaign to educate consumers on WiFi security, and pay a $7 million fine.
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.

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