Monica Alleven

Lawmaker raises alarm bells over 5.9 GHz, C-band

Concerns about the 5.9 GHz band came up again during a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg gave testimony. But that wasn’t all. Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) reiterated his concerns about potential interference from 5G in the C-band – the very band where the likes of Verizon and AT&T just pledged over $80 billion for access to airwaves for 5G.

Concerns grow over Verizon’s acquisition of TracFone

TracFone is the largest wireless reseller in the U.S., with about 21 million subscribers and prepaid brands including Straight Talk and Simple Mobile.

States push for Lifeline protections in Verizon/TracFone deal

The attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia sent a letter to the Federal Communications urging the agency to request additional information from Verizon about its planned TracFone Wireless acquisition. “The potential for Verizon to pursue additional profits by reducing the access and/or quality of Lifeline services could shut out millions of low-income Americans from adequate communications services,” they wrote.

T-Mobile to buy Shentel wireless assets for $1.95 billion

T-Mobile and Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) settled their dispute over the purchase price of Shentel’s wireless assets, with the final price coming in at $1.95 billion. Shentel was a Sprint affiliate since 1995 and was still using the Sprint brand post-merger. Shentel had about 1.1 million subscribers as of June 30, 2020. Shentel also offers cable and wireline services. T-Mobile and Shentel expect the transaction will close in the second quarter 2021 after satisfying customary closing conditions and obtaining required regulatory approvals.  

Facebook Connectivity aims high with SuperCell for rural coverage

Engineers at Facebook Connectivity have been quietly working for the past two and a half years on a solution to economically provide coverage in rural areas, and what they’ve come up with is SuperCell, an alternative to macrocell sites. In a nutshell, they’re using taller towers and high-gain, narrow-sectored antennas to increase mobile data coverage range and capacity.

Verizon gives a few more clues about Tracfone acquisition

For years, Verizon appeared to bend over backwards to avoid the prepaid wireless segment, where service plans traditionally targeted the cheaper end of the market and customer turnover runs higher. But with the nearly $7 billion agreement to buy prepaid leader Tracfone from América Móvil, Verizon is jumping in with both feet.

Elon Musk dials up FCC Chairman Pai to discuss 12 GHz band

The battle over the 12 GHz band – one that some say could provide much-needed mid-band spectrum for 5G in the US – is heating up, including among a group of unlikely collaborators. SpaceX disclosed that CEO Elon Musk was among those on a conference call with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai that included discussion of the 12 GHz band.

Dish marks progress on 5G network build

Dish Network is making progress on its one-of-a-kind open radio access network (RAN) in the US. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said “we’re just going to go do it,” rather than try to convince skeptics about what they’re doing. Dish needs to get through the RF planning, permitting and site acquisition processes and the actual installation of gear like antennas, but it’s still looking to launch one market before the end of the year. Dish is supposed to build a 5G network that covers 70% of the U.S. population by June 2023.

Tech bigwigs drive new global Wi-Fi roaming initiative

The Wireless Broadband Alliance trying make Wi-Fi roaming as easy as cellular roaming with the acceptance of Cisco Systems’ OpenRoaming technology. WBA is inviting organizations in the Wi-Fi ecosystem to join the WBA OpenRoaming program and become part of a globally available Wi-Fi federation that offers automatic and secure connection to millions of Wi-Fi networks. The idea is to create a world where Wi-Fi users move from one network to another without needing to constantly re-register or sign in.

Alphabet’s Loon gets partner in AT&T to extend global coverage

Alphabet-owned Loon will be able to respond more quickly and effectively to disasters worldwide thanks to a new partnership with AT&T. Under the deal, Loon has integrated its system with AT&T’s network, which happens to be pretty big since it has roaming partners around the world.