RCR Wireless News’ 2011 Year in Review: Part 2


Editor’s Note: With 2011 nearly over, RCR Wireless News takes a look back at the top 100 stories from the past 12 months. The stories are in chronological order beginning with Jan. 1. The first part of the list was published Wednesday and runs through the first half of the year, with today’s second half beginning with stories from July 1.

July 1: Apple, Microsoft and RIM group buys Nortel patents for $4.5B
Nortel Networks Corp. announced that its subsidiaries including Nortel Networks, Nortel Networks and Nortel Networks U.K. completed a successful and final auction of all of Nortel’s remaining patents and patent applications. … Read More

July 14: Verizon Wireless blocks online listing of consumer info
Verizon Wireless continued its push for consumer privacy announcing a deal with online telephone directory Phonebooks.com to stop providing information associated with cellphone numbers of Verizon Wireless customers. … Read More

July 19: Isis attracts the big four credit card companies
Mobile commerce gained some considerable momentum when it was announced that the four largest national payments networks would be joining Isis. The national mobile commerce joint venture between Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA will get a significant boost with the help and support of Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Financial Services. … Read More

July 22: Verizon elevates Lowell McAdam to CEO
An 11-year veteran at Verizon Communications and former president and CEO of Verizon Wireless from 2007 to 2010 is talking the helm of the mother ship. Lowell McAdam will be elevated to the position of president and CEO of the parent company Aug. 1. Ivan Seidenberg will step down as CEO and president, but remain chairman. … Read More

July 25: BlackBerry maker cuts 2,000 jobs
Almost 10% of Research In Motion’s workforce will be showed to the door beginning this week as the company attempts to resuscitate the BlackBerry brand. The company plans to lay off 2,000 employees, bringing its total employee count down to around 17,000 people. RIM did note that its workforce nearly quadrupled in the past five years, but the scale of these job cuts personifies the company’s ongoing struggles. … Read More

July 26: Global Tower Partners closes $815M total in new financing
Exactly one week after closing $645 million in financing, Global Tower Partners secured an additional $170 million through a five-year, revolving loan. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company owns 13,000 tower sites in the United States, making it the fourth-largest tower management company behind American Tower, Crown Castle International and SBA Communications. … Read More

July 27: IEEE publishes white spaces standard, targets rural deployments
The IEEE was looking to expand the possibility of mobile broadband services using the controversial “white spaces” with the publishing of the 802.22 standard, which will tap into VHF and UHF television bands to provide up to 22 megabit per second speeds and coverage up to 62 miles from a transmitter. … Read More

July 27: RCR Wireless News MBB Baltimore: LightSquared tackles GPS controversy
LightSquared’s plans to deploy a nationwide mobile broadband network using both satellite and terrestrial components had been a contentious issue since those plans were announced in 2010. The plan was initially viewed by skeptics as being beyond both the financial and logistical scope of LightSquared, as well as questioned for its plans to rely on an exclusive wholesale model. More recently, LightSquared has seen resistance from the GPS industry, which has claimed the proposed network will cause interference to commercial GPS services. … Read More

July 27: VC investment in mobile at an all-time high
Venture capital investments in the mobile sector soared, led by media and applications, commerce and payments and health care, according to a report from Rutberg & Co. Venture investment in mobile is at the highest level ($3 billion in the first half of the year) since Rutberg began covering the sector in 2001. … Read More

July 28: Verizon Wireless to dole out $10B to parent companies
Verizon Wireless said its board of directors approved a “distribution” of $10 billion to parent companies Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group to be paid on Jan. 31, 2012. The distribution was to be paid in accordance to the ownership structure, which has Verizon controlling 55% of the wireless operator and Vodafone controlling the remaining 45%. … Read More

July 28: Sprint Nextel to host LightSquared’s LTE plans
After months of rumors, LightSquared’s plans to speed up its proposed network deployment seemed to have found some solid ground as the company announced a 15-year “spectrum hosting and network sharing” agreement with Sprint Nextel. … Read More

Aug. 9: FCC rules unleash up to 650 MHz for mobile backhaul
The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules designed to increase the use of mobile backhaul, and make up to 650 megahertz of additional spectrum available for mobile backhaul as part of the agency’s commitment to remove barriers to broadband adoption nationwide. … Read More

Aug. 9: FCC to ‘coordinate’ review of AT&T’s Qualcomm, T-Mobile USA proposals
The Federal Communications Commission stopped its formal review of AT&T plans to acquire 700 MHz spectrum assets from Qualcomm as it planned to review that deal in coordination with AT&T’s attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA. The decision came as the proposed AT&T/Qualcomm deal reached its 180-day point on its timeline for consideration. … Read More

Aug. 11: Verizon opens Application Innovation Center in San Francisco
Verizon Wireless officially opened its Application Innovation Center in downtown San Francisco in an event attended by the firm’s top executives, including CEO Dan Mead. … Read More

Aug. 15: Google to acquire Motorola for $12.5B
Google took a more serious position in the mobile space announcing plans to acquire Motorola Mobility Holding for $12.5 billion. The move, if approved, would give Google direct control over a device maker and a direct channel to distribute its Android mobile operating system. … Read More

Aug. 18: HP pulls the plug on webOS hardware, puts PC business on notice
Hewlett-Packard came out with news on rapid fire. The company killed its WebOS device business, leaving the WebOS software destined for an anticlimactic end, and announced that its PC business might be separated into another company or spun off in another transaction as well. … Read More

Aug. 23: Is Dish Networks set for a mobile broadband play?
Dish Networks appeared to be the latest player looking to get in on the burgeoning mobile broadband space. According to published reports, Dish networks has filed for a waiver with the Federal Communications Commission to consolidate its spectrum assets with those of recently acquired TerreStar Network. TerreStar had previously announced plans to launch a satellite/terrestrial mobile network similar to the type planned by LightSquared. … Read More

Aug. 23: East Coast earthquake brings cell networks down
As an unusual magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit the U.S East Coast today, cell service providers grappled to deal with the demand on their networks. Both Verizon and AT&T said outages were caused by the volume of calls being made, while T-Mobile also said it was experiencing congestion. … Read More

Aug. 24: Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple
No matter how you slice it, today marks the end of an era for Apple Inc. Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO. Jobs isn’t going anywhere immediately though. He’s been elevated to chairman of the board so he’s likely to remain very much involved with the company. … Read More

Aug. 24: TIM surpasses Claro as No. 2 in Brazil
It has been a competitive battle for the No. 2 position in Brazil’s mobile phone market. While Vivo has maintained its leadership position, the second position has been a long-running dispute between Claro and TIM. … Read More

Aug. 26: FCC restarts clock on AT&T/T-Mobile USA deal
The Federal Communications Commission said it has restarted its informal 180-day review on AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA. following the submission of additional information from AT&T. The FCC noted that as of Aug. 26, the review was at day 83 under the time clock. … Read More

Aug. 31: DoJ files lawsuit to block AT&T/T-Mobile USA deal
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit to block AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA. The DoJ said the deal would “substantially lessen competition for mobile wireless telecommunications services across the United States, resulting in higher prices, poorer quality services, fewer choices and fewer innovative products for the millions of American consumers who rely on mobile wireless services in their everyday lives.” … Read More

Sept. 7: American Tower set to purchase land under 1,800 sites for $500M
American Tower moved forward with land acquisition plans, announcing a deal with Unison Holdings and Unison Site Management II to purchase the property interests under about 1,800 cell sites for $500 million. … Read More

Sept. 15: AT&T’s LTE network goes live in five cities this Sunday
AT&T is flipping the switch on its LTE network in five initial markets on Sept. 18. The carrier’s LTE network will first go live in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. CFO John Stephens formally announced the launch at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Entertainment and Communications conference. … Read More

Sept. 20: Global Tower Partners to acquire GS Cell Site Holding
Global Tower Partners made another big acquisition, sealing a deal to buy GS Cell Site Holding from GS Global Infrastructure Partners. GS Cell Site Holding owns more than 1,600 communications sites, including rooftop easements, ground easements, land beneath third-party towers, and easements of third-party structures on which wireless carriers’ telecommunications equipment is located. … Read More

Sept. 22: Brazilian Development Bank approves $1.6B to Vivo; carrier plans network enhancements
Brazilian Development Bank has approved $1.6 billion in financing for Vivo, Spanish Telefónica’s mobile company in Brazil. According to the carrier, resources will be allocated to network expansion and improvement of current deployment, which is a necessary before new technologies can be added, as well as to research and development. Investments will be allocated between 2011 and 2013. … Read More

Oct. 5: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dies
Apple co-founder and until recently CEO Steve Jobs died at the age of 56. Jobs had battled a rare form of cancer for years. … Read More

Oct. 17: Apple pushes 4M iPhone 4S devices in three days
Apple said it sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S devices since its launch in Oct. 14, a number that is set to skyrocket with the expansion of availability into more countries. Apple noted that the launch totals were more than double the number of iPhone 4 devices sold during its first three days of availability. … Read More

Oct. 19: C Spire to offer iPhone
Rural wireless operator – and recent name changer – C Spire Wireless said it would begin offering Apple’s recently launched iPhone 4S “in the coming weeks.” The move is significant as it will be the first time the iconic device will be available through a regional operator. … Read More

Oct. 27: Sony buys Ericsson’s stake in JV for $1.46B
Sony announced that it would acquire Ericsson’s 50% stake in their handset joint venture for $1.46 billion, ending a roller-coaster ride of a partnership that failed to make significant inroads into the device market despite the brand recognition of its parent companies. The venture was initiated in late 2001 as a combination of both party’s unprofitable handset operations. … Read More

Nov. 16: Cox shutters wireless service
Cox Communications finally threw in the towel on its attempt to enter the mobile space, announcing plans to stop selling services and ending all service support by March 30. The company cited its inability to achieve scale in the marketplace necessary to compete against established players as well as the lack of access to “iconic” devices as reasons for its departure. … Read More

Nov. 17: América Móvil to pay $4.6B to secure hold on Telmex
Carlos Slim’s América Móvil was set to pay $4.6 billion (or 62.1 billion pesos) to increase its stake in Teléfonos de México SAB from 59.4% to 92.8%, securing control of Telmex. … Read More

Nov. 23: Nokia Siemens to cut 17,000 jobs in move to focus on mobile broadband
Nokia Siemens Networks said it would eliminate almost 23% of its workforce in a major restructuring aimed at streamlining operations and concentrating on the mobile network infrastructure and services market. … Read More

Nov. 30: FCC blunt in dismissal of AT&T application
Wonder no longer about how the Federal Communications Commission feels regarding AT&T’s attempt to purchase rival T-Mobile USA as the government agency released an order in connection to its dismissal of AT&T’s petition at the carrier’s request. … Read More

Nov. 30: Chile’s Entel to merge with GTD
Chile’s second-largest mobile telephone operator, Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel), said it will merge with local data, fixed-line, cable TV and Internet provider Grupo GTD. The move may help Entel compete against its main rivals Movistar, the local unit of Spain’s Telefonica Moviles, and Claro, owned by Mexico’s América Móvil. … Read More

Dec. 1: Clearwire strikes new deal with Sprint Nextel, makes interest payment
Clearwire avoided a potential default on an interest payment and secured its near-term future through an agreement with parent company Sprint Nextel. The deal also guarantees the availability of WiMAX services through at least 2015 and ties Sprint Nextel into Clearwire’s TDD-LTE plans. … Read More

Dec. 2: RIM to take $485M charge, says shipments are weak
Just when investors in Canada’s Research in Motion were enjoying some good news, the maker of the BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook tablet triggered a new round of sell orders on Wall Street with news of a $485 million charge related to a markdown of its huge inventory of unsold PlayBook tablets. … Read More

Dec. 2: Verizon Wireless picks up AWS licenses from cable operators for cool $3.6B; Sprint Nextel left in the cold?
Verizon Wireless bolstered its spectrum war chest by announcing plans to acquire 122 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum licenses (also known as AWS spectrum) covering 259 million potential customers for $3.6 billion from a consortium of cable companies. The deal also allows for the cable companies to sell Verizon Wireless’ services on a wholesale basis and for all parties to work on the development of technology integrating wireline and wireless products and services. … Read More

Dec. 5: Leap, Verizon Wireless put numbers to their spectrum swap plans
Leap Wireless put some numbers to its plans to swap spectrum with Verizon Wireless, announcing it would acquire a 12 megahertz patch of spectrum in the 700 MHz band covering Chicago from its larger rival for $204 million and in turn sell various 1.9 GHz and 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum licenses to Verizon Wireless for $188 million. … Read More

Dec. 7: FCC commissioner Copps to resign
Michael Copps, a longtime commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission, saidhe would resign from his position Jan. 1 — or sooner, should Congress appoint his successor. … Read More

Dec. 13: AT&T asks to have T-Mobile USA case withdrawn, FCC restarts Qualcomm ‘clock’
AT&T asked the judge overseeing the Department of Justice case against its plan to acquire T-Mobile USA to “stay any further court proceedings until Jan. 18, 2012, to allow the two companies time to evaluate all options.” … Read More

Dec. 14: Clearwire closes on $715.5M in new funding, set for TDD-LTE rollout
Clearwire managed to attract $715.5 million in new funding through a rights offering and deeper investments by parent company Sprint Nextel that will allow the company to begin rolling out TDD-LTE technology across its network. … Read More

Dec. 14: Apple launches iTunes Store in 16 Latin American countries
Much of Latin America could access Apple Inc.’s iTunes Store as the company launched its music store in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. … Read More

Dec. 15: LightSquared again fails GPS interference test
Following contentious leaks of the results earlier in the week, a government technical group released a report showing continued interference issues between general purpose GPS receivers, flight safety systems and LightSquared’s planned use of 1.6 GHz spectrum. … Read More

Dec. 15: American Tower acquires Mexico sites from Telefónica
Telecom infrastructure giant American Tower unveiled plans to purchase 2,500 towers from Telefónica’s Mexican subsidiary for about $500 million, excluding value-added tax. AMT said it has entered into definitive agreements with Pegaso PCS and expects to acquire a substantial majority of the towers during the fourth quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. … Read More

Dec. 16: Cox to sell AWS spectrum to Verizon Wireless for $315M
Cox Communications, having recently dismantled its wireless ambitions, said it plans to sell its 20 megahertz 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum holdings to Verizon Wireless for $315 million. Cox noted that those spectrum assets cover 28 million potential customers and do not include its 12 megahertz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band or any of its current wireless customers. … Read More

Dec. 16: Crown Castle to buy NextG Networks for $1B
The nation’s largest tower operator is making a major investment in distributed antenna systems. Crown Castle International says it will purchase NextG Networks Inc. for roughly $1 billion from a private equity group led by Madison Dearborn Partners. With more than 7,000 nodes on air, NextG is the largest provider of distributed antenna systems (DAS) in the United States. NextG also has 1,500 nodes under construction and owns the rights to acquire more than 4,600 miles of fiber. … Read More

Dec. 19: AT&T ends bid to acquire T-Mobile USA
After nearly nine months, AT&T has said it will drop its $39 billion acquisition attempt of T-Mobile USA. The carrier cited recent acts by the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission to block the deal in ending the acquisition attempt. … Read More

Dec. 21: Irwin Jacobs set to retire from Qualcomm
Qualcomm is set to lose one of its co-founders to retirement as the company announced Irwin Jacobs would retire from its board of directors at Qualcomm’s 2012 annual stockholder meeting. … Read More

Dec. 28: AT&T closes on Qualcomm 700 MHz spectrum deal
AT&T closed on its $1.9 billion acquisition of 700 MHz spectrum licenses covering 300 million potential customers from Qualcomm. The deal gained regulatory approval late last week, having been announced initially in late 2010. The process was delayed as it was eventually rolled into AT&T’s failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA. … Read More

About Author

Dan Meyer

Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Software, Policy, Wireless Carriers
Dan Meyer started at RCR Wireless News in 1999 covering wireless carriers and wireless technologies. As editor-in-chief, Dan oversees editorial direction, reports on news from the wireless industry, including telecom software, policy and wireless carriers, and provides opinion stories on topics of concern to the market such as his popular Friday column “Worst of the Week.”