Wireless Telecommunications

Communication at a distance, especially the electronic transmission of signals via cell phones

Verizon Wireless disconnects some heavy data users in rural areas

Verizon Wireless said it is disconnecting a small group of customers who use vast amounts of data in rural areas where Verizon relies on roaming agreements with smaller network operators. "Earlier this month we notified a small group of customers who are out of contract and primarily use mobile data on other wireless companies’ networks that we won’t be their service provider after July 30, 2017," a Verizon spokesperson said. "This only affects a few people who primarily roam on other networks and does not affect customers who primarily use Verizon's own network."

The customers who are affected "are using vast amounts of data—some as much as a terabyte or more a month—outside of our network footprint," the company said. Verizon gave the customers several weeks notice so they have time to port their numbers to new providers. Verizon provided no option to switch to different plans. "We regularly review accounts with data use that primarily takes place outside of the Verizon network," Verizon also said.

Sprint is getting sued for sabotaging RadioShack’s comeback

RadioShack is going down swinging. With nearly all of its stores now out of business, the retailer’s creditors have sued Sprint and are accusing the wireless carrier of backstabbing RadioShack and destroying any hope of a great American comeback story. The creditors are seeking $500 million in damages, and are alleging that Sprint used a co-branding partnership formed between the two companies in 2015 to its own selfish benefit — and to RadioShack’s eventual doom.

Assessing the Impact of Removing Regulatory Barriers on Next Generation Wireless and Wireline Broadband Infrastructure Investment

This study evaluates the estimated impact of the Federal Communications Commission’s recent efforts to remove barriers to investment into next-generation wireless and wireline broadband networks, and thereby to accelerate the transition from legacy copper networks to next-generation services.

We estimate that these proposed changes could have a significant impact not only on new wireless and wireline broadband infrastructure investment, but could also positively impact job creation, economic output and consumer welfare. Our models forecast that with these new rules in place, up to an incremental 26.7 million premises would become economical to serve with next generation networks, driving up to $45.3 billion in capital investment. This investment would be made by incumbent service providers across the country and is expected to take place over at least five years.

Rep Doyle Draft of Bill Would Promote 5G

Rep Mike Doyle (D-PA) has circulated a discussion draft of a bill to accelerate the rollout of 5G wireless. The 5G Acceleration Act would mandate action items and deadlines for the Federal Communications Commission. They include: Auctioning 200 MHz of new spectrum below 7 GHz, with the auction required to begin by July 1, 2025; submitting a plan in coordination with the National Telecommunications & Information Administration by Jan. 1, 2024, to balance licensed and unlicensed spectrum; submitting a report to Congress by Jan. 1, 2018 identifying 300 MHz of different below-7 GHz spectrum. And in the near term, the FCC must issue a Notice of Inquiry on making spectrum available below 12 GHz.

Michigan may consider Rivada's bid alongside FirstNet

Rivada Networks said it received the top score among three bidders to build Michigan’s statewide public safety broadband network. But that doesn’t at all mean it will beat out FirstNet for its first statewide win.

Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget recommended that the state analyze Rivada’s bid alongside FirstNet’s proposal “to determine the best value bid for the state,” the company said this morning in a release. Michigan is the second state to select a vendor for a potential alternative to FirstNet, Rivada said, following the lead of New Hampshire, which is also considering Rivada’s offering. “We are honored that our alternative plan for public safety broadband in Michigan will have the chance to be placed side-by-side with the federal government’s offering,” said Declan Ganley, Rivada’s co-CEO, in the announcement. “By putting out this RFP (request for proposal), Michigan has given its governor a real choice, as envisioned in the legislation that created FirstNet.”

T-Mobile could join a Sprint tie-up with Comcast and Charter

Reports of a potential wireless partnership between Sprint, Charter and Comcast have quieted speculation about a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. But analysts say T-Mobile could play a role in any such arrangement.

Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son struck a exclusive two-month deal to hold discussions with Charter and Comcast through July focusing on potential partnership arrangements. One such deal could include the cable companies taking an equity stake in Sprint and investing in the carrier’s network, through which they could presumably launch a branded service. But T-Mobile could join such an effort, Jonathan Chaplin of New Street Research wrote in a note to investors. A model that complex would be difficult to pull off, but it could benefit all stakeholders. “Actually, the best-case scenario (for T-Mobile) would be a four-way deal; however that seems tough to get across the goal line,” Chaplin wrote. “The worst-case scenario would see a Sprint/cable deal that leaves T-Mobile out in the cold entirely; we don’t think this is the most likely outcome either. And then there are a host of scenarios in between, where T-Mobile would benefit, potentially greatly, but without the negotiating leverage that many have assumed.”

10 Facts About Smartphones as the iPhone Turns 10

10 findings about smartphones:

1) About three-quarters of U.S. adults (77%) say they own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011.
2) Half of younger adults live in a household with three or more smartphones.
3) Mobile devices aren’t just for calling or texting. Americans are using their phones for a variety of nontraditional phone activities, such as looking for a job, finding a date or reading a book.
4) The smartphone is becoming an important tool for shoppers.
5) Growing shares of Americans – especially those who are lower-income – rely on smartphones to access the internet. Overall, 12% of U.S. adults were “smartphone-only” internet users in 2016 – meaning they owned a smartphone but did not have broadband internet at home. This represents an increase from 8% in 2013.
6) More than half of smartphone owners say they get news alerts on their phones, but few get these alerts frequently.
7) While smartphones are becoming more integrated into our lives, many users aren’t taking the necessary steps to secure their devices.
8) Smartphone ownership is climbing in developing nations, but the digital divide remains. Median smartphone adoption in developing nations rose to 37% in 2015, up from 21% in 2013, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 21 emerging and developing nations conducted in 2015. But with a median of 68%, advanced economies still have considerably higher rates of smartphone adoption, with the highest rates among surveyed countries found in South Korea, Australia, Israel, the U.S. and Spain.
9) Americans have different views about where it is and isn’t appropriate to use a cellphone.
10) The smartphone is essential for many owners, but a slight majority says it’s not always needed. Some 46% of smartphone owners said their smartphone is something “they couldn’t live without,” compared with 54% who said in a 2014 Pew Research Center survey that their phone is “not always needed.”

What’s at Stake in the Discussions Between Comcast, Charter and Sprint

[Commentary] Comcast and Charter are negotiating with Sprint to offer wireless services to their cable and high-speed internet customers. The real disruption may be how Sprint’s negotiations with the cable companies put a potential merger with T-Mobile USA in limbo. The parent companies of Sprint and T-Mobile, SoftBank of Japan and Deutsche Telekom of Germany, have been in negotiations to merge their American wireless companies. If Comcast and Charter are bidding for a stake in Sprint, then those Sprint and T-Mobile negotiations will be affected.

Sprint’s talks with Comcast and Charter could ramp up competition in the already ailing wireless industry

[Commentary] Sprint needs a deal. With a market value roughly equal to its $33 billion in net debt, a tie up may be the only way for Sprint to get the resources to invest enough in its network to remain competitive. A deal with cable would be bad for Sprint’s wireless competitors because it would reduce the likelihood of industry consolidation through the hoped-for merger of Sprint and T-Mobile . It also would lower the cost of offering wireless service for the two cable companies, further exacerbating wireless competition. The optimistic view is that Sprint is talking to the cable guys to get T-Mobile and its majority owner Deutsche Telekom to agree to a deal on more favorable terms.

Deloitte Calls for $150 Billion Fiber Infrastructure Investment for U.S. to Reach Full Digital Potential

A $130 billion to $150 billion fiber infrastructure investment is required in the US to unleash innovation, close the digital divide, and fully prepare the country for 5G, according to a report from management consulting firm Deloitte. The report says the investment is needed over the next five to seven years to enable ‘deep fiber,’ or fiber infrastructure closer to the end user.

Much of the premise behind the report focuses on 5G, which requires a dense fiber network for backhaul and fronthaul. But it also stresses the discrepancy between rural and urban broadband options. Deloitte is calling on regulators and the broadband carrier community to address this issue, or risk losing leadership for the global digital economy opportunity. The report says the US currently lacks the fiber infrastructure necessary to take advantage of 5G. Many tier one carriers, including Verizon, have expressed their plans to ramp up fiber investments. Deloitte seems to suggest it’s not enough.