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Time Trippin’: Sprint Nextel/Clearwire on the rocks; iPhone hits Europe … 5 years ago this week

Editor’s Note: The RCR Wireless News Time Machine is a way to take advantage of our extensive history in covering the wireless space to fire up the DeLorean and take a trip back in time to re-visit some of the more interesting headlines from this week in history. Enjoy the ride!

WiMAX marriage on the rocks: Sprint Nextel, Clearwire re-evaluating network plans
With the launch of WiMAX trial markets just weeks away, Sprint Nextel Corp. says it is re-examining its WiMAX business plans and has abandoned a partnership with Clearwire Corp. intended to promote a faster, cheaper deployment of the mobile broadband technology. Sprint Nextel said the decision late last week to terminate a letter of intent with Clearwire signed in July was mutual, as “the two companies could not resolve complexities associated with the [letter of intent] and failed to reach final agreement on the terms of the transaction.” … Read More

Freedom of choice: Google’s plans open door for innovation, confusion
Like Daryl Hannah in “Blade Runner,” Google Inc. last week showcased an attention-grabbing Android. But while the Internet giant garnered headlines and wowed fanboys with its latest move in wireless, some developers reacted with a big yawn. Google ended weeks of speculation about its mobile plans, unveiling an alliance of industry heavyweights centered on a new, open source mobile software platform. The company joined Qualcomm Inc., Motorola Inc. and other members of the new Open Handset Alliance (OHA) to introduce Android, a Linux-based software stack that consists of an operating system, middleware, a user interface and applications. … Read More

Nokia scores big win for Ovi: Handset makers gaining ground in direct-to-consumer space
It appears Nokia Corp. has learned a few lessons from its doomed Club Nokia mobile content business. But that doesn’t mean the direct-to-consumer waters are getting any easier to navigate. The world’s No. 1 handset manufacturer last week scored a huge win, inking a deal with Vodafone Group plc-one of the world’s largest mobile operators-to offer its data services directly to Vodafone users. The operator said it will support Ovi, Nokia’s wide-ranging umbrella brand that comprises a digital music store, the new N-Gage gaming platform, mapping offerings and social networking services. … Read More

Prepaid pines for affection: Carriers increasing incentives
With substantial growth expected to come from the prepaid wireless market, national carriers are beginning to pay more attention to the one-time red-headed stepchild of the coveted postpaid customer. Analyst Fedor Smith of Atlantic-ACM said that as wireless has become more ubiquitous, the expectations of some prepaid customers have risen. They now expect to be able to access the same services that postpaid customers can use, including various messaging services and data services. … Read More

Roaming rules continue to rile industry: FCC decision applauded by rural carriers, derided by large players
The Federal Communications Commission’s revised roaming rules may have exacerbated an already divisive industry issue, with warring carriers challenging new guidelines and feuding over the possibility of their extension to wireless broadband service providers. The FCC’s Aug. 7 decision concluded automatic roaming is a common-carrier obligation for commercial mobile radio services. Among the flashpoints that have materialized since the decision are the applicability of the rule to push-to-talk service; the exclusion of the mandate to a requesting carrier’s home market; and the prospect of furthering the reach of new rules to high-speed wireless Internet services. … Read More

Apple’s iPhone lands in U.K., Germany
A handful of people queued overnight in the cold and rain outside Apple’s flagship store on London’s Regent Street to be among the first to legally buy an iPhone outside the U.S. when it went on sale at precisely 6:02 p.m. on Friday in the U.K. During the day, the queue grew to hundreds, and sympathetic Apple staff brought out cups of hot tea to keep up the spirits of the mainly male crowd. Round the corner on Oxford Street, there were shorter lines at Carphone Warehouse and O2 stores, the exclusive service provider, where the iPhone also went on sale at 6:02 p.m. (the carefully-timed :02 kickoff doubled as an ad for the phone). … Read More

LTE gains steam: Nokia, LG, Alcatel-Lucent tests set stage for commercial deployments
Over the past week, a wide breadth of telecom companies have completed Long Term Evolution tests. Nokia Corp. announced results last week from the first phase of a trial that the company claimed achieved 100 megabit-per-second data transfer speeds. The trial was conducted by the Long Term Evolution/System Architecture Evolution Trial Initiative (LTSI), which was founded by a variety of infrastructure vendors, handset manufacturers and wireless operators. The initiative is slated for three phases: proof of concept, interoperability and trial. Testing and reporting will continue through 2009 with initial deployments planned for 2010. The technology is being standardized by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). … Read More

FCC approves AT&T Mobility/Dobson deal
The Federal Communications Commission approved AT&T’s Mobility’s $2.8 billion purchase of Dobson Communications Corp., embracing less stringent divestiture requirements than those imposed by Justice Department and the same universal service wireless-cap condition federal regulators worked into the $27.5 billion acquisition of Alltel Corp. by two private-equity firms. AT&T Mobility, the largest U.S. mobile phone carrier, is now clear to pick up many of Dobson’s 1.6 million subscribers in rural markets throughout the country. … Read More

FCC to allow wholesaling of D block spectrum: Decision seen as victory for Frontline
The Federal Communications Commission relaxed the small-business bidding rule for the national commercial/public-safety license up for grabs in the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction. The ruling is major victory for startup Frontline Wireless L.L.C., which has expressed strong interest in pursuing the D block license using a wholesale business model. A small business, or designated entity, is eligible for bidding discounts up to 25% as long as it does not wholesale more than 50% of its spectrum capacity. … Read More

700 MHz band to be used for broadband worldwide
The United States teamed with neighboring countries to get the 700 MHz band identified for wireless broadband services in the Americas and major markets in Asia at the close of the World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva, effectively setting the foundation for a global market for WiMAX services and products in frequencies being relinquished in various timeframes by broadcasters around the globe. “This conference has helped create a much larger market for wireless broadband technologies and services,” said Ambassador Richard Russell, head of the U.S. delegation and a top official in the White House Office of Technology and Policy. … Read More


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