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RCR Wireless News 2012 Year in Review: Part 1

Editor’s Note: With 2012 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 runs through the first half of the year, with the second half set to run Friday.

Jan. 3: FCC to align comment cycle on Verizon Wireless spectrum deals
The Federal Communications Commission said it would adjust the deadline for filing comments on recent spectrum deals announced by Verizon Wireless, adding that the alignment is not an attempt to coordinate or link the consideration of those proposed deals. … Read More

Jan. 4: American Tower shares higher after REIT conversion
American Tower Corp. hopes its decision to reorganize as a real estate investment trust will help its stock continue its upward trend, and the company has already picked up new support on Wall Street. … Read More

Jan. 5: Mindspeed buys Picochip in big bet on small cells
California’s Mindspeed Technologies is making a big investment in small cells — the company is buying Picochip for $51.8 million in cash and stock, plus up to $25 million in earnout payments payable in the first quarter of next year. … Read More

Jan. 5: Sprint Nextel lists first 4 of 10 LTE markets, clarifies spectrum plans
Sprint Nextel’s LTE plans received some clarity as CEO Dan Hesse announced the first four markets to receive the carrier’s new network offering scheduled to launch later this year, with plans for 10 markets in its initial launch. Hesse, speaking at the Citigroup Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference, said that Dallas, Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio would lead the carrier’s LTE network rollout. … Read More

Jan. 6: Jobless rate down, wireless hiring up
Job growth at the top U.S. wireless operators continues to show strength, mirroring a positive national employment trend as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the nation’s unemployment rate dipped to 8.5%, the lowest level in almost three years. … Read More

Jan. 11: Intel enters smartphone arena, starting in China
When the chips are down, mobile computing is not so much about the device as about the experience that device provides, according to Intel CEO Paul Otellini. … Read More

Jan. 11: Microsoft looks to enterprise with Windows 8
Microsoft’s message at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show was that its Metro user interface for mobile “puts people first,” but analysts say the company’s future in mobile depends on putting business first. … Read More

Jan. 18: Walmart adds data to Family Mobile offer
Walmart got a bit more with the times and increased the competitive pressure in the no-contract space by announcing the addition of “unlimited” data services to its Family Mobile offering. … Read More

Jan. 27: Breakup fees and charges push AT&T into the red
A series of non-cash charges helped drive AT&T into the red during the fourth quarter, and much of the revenue it earned from data-hungry iPhone users was offset by iPhone subsidies. America’s second largest carrier (after Verizon) lost $6.7 billion in the fourth quarter. … Read More

Feb. 1: Chip spending shifts to wireless
Device makers spent more on chips for wireless products last year than on chips for computers or any other product. … Read More

Feb. 7: Smartphone-related jobs take off as smartphones outsell PCs
Global sales of smartphones exceeded those of all personal computers combined last year, with vendors shipping roughly 490 million smartphones, according to reports from IDC and Canalys. … Read More

Feb. 15: FCC denies LightSquared’s access to spectrum
LightSquared’s attempts to become a wholesale provider of mobile broadband services appears to have come to an end as government regulators have declared that interference between LightSquared’s proposed spectrum and some GPS equipment was unavoidable. … Read More

Feb. 21: SBA to acquire 2,300 towers, select DAS assets from Mobilitie for $1.1B
SBA Communications said it plans to pay nearly $1.1 billion to acquire certain affiliates of Mobilitie, including more than 2,300 tower sites in the United States and Central America and certain indoor and outdoor distributed antenna systems in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City and Auburn, Ala. … Read More

Feb. 21: Ericsson to buy BelAir Networks
The world’s largest maker of telecom networking equipment is making a big bet on Wi-Fi. Sweden’s Ericsson says it will buy privately held BelAir Networks for an undisclosed sum, confirming reports that first appeared last month. … Read More

Feb. 21: Congress gives tower collocations a boost
The tax relief and jobs bill passed by Congress earlier this month may speed the process of tower and base station upgrades. … Read More

Feb. 22: Opposition solidifies against Verizon Wireless spectrum deals
Opposition to Verizon Wireless’ attempt to acquire spectrum assets from a group of cable companies appears to be growing as a number of wireless operators and trade groups have filed petitions to block the transactions. … Read More

Feb. 23: T-Mobile USA unveils network initiatives, LTE planned for 2013; iPhone on the horizon?
Months after having its acquisition attempt by AT&T quashed by regulators, T-Mobile USA laid out its plans for remaining a strong No. 4 challenger in the market, including $4 billion in network investments leading to the launch of LTE services next year. … Read More

Feb. 28: Sprint Nextel to raise $2 billion in move that may help Clearwire
After deciding that the purchase of MetroPCS would be too costly, Sprint Nextel is instead heading back to the capital markets with a plan to raise $2 billion to pay for network upgrades, refinance existing debt, and possibly continue funding Clearwire. … Read More

Feb. 28: MWC 2012: Integrating small cells and Wi-Fi
Almost 90% of all base stations will be small cells by 2016, according to the Small Cell Forum. … Read More

March 9: Verizon Wireless to close 3 call centers, 3,000+ jobs impacted
On the same day that the government reported strong job growth in February, Verizon Wireless is reportedly set to close three U.S.-based call centers in a move that could impact 3,175 jobs. … Read More

March 12: Dish closes on TerreStar, BDSD deals
Dish Network said it has closed on an acquisition of BDSD North America and “substantially all of the assets of TerreStar Networks,” which has helped Dish secure 40 megahertz of nationwide spectrum in the 2 GHz band. … Read More

March 21: GSMA moves to simplify Wi-Fi experience
The GSMA is making a commitment to Wi-Fi, partnering with the Wireless Broadband Alliance to make mobile roaming easier for consumers. … Read More

March 22: T-Mobile USA to shut 7 call centers, cut 1,900 jobs
T-Mobile USA, which has made a name for itself in garnering customer service accolades from the likes of J.D. Power and Associates, said it plans to close seven call centers by the end of June, resulting in 1,900 job cuts. … Read More

March 29: RCA Spring 2012: Sprint Nextel outlines planned investment in 3G, 4G
Bob Azzi, SVP of Networks at Sprint Nextel, outlined the carrier’s network vision program today at the RCA Spring Expo. … Read More

April 4: Ntelos, Cellcom, GCI to offer iPhone April 20, cheaper than nationwide rivals
Rural carriers are increasingly lining up to offer Apple’s iPhone device as this morning Ntelos Wireless Cellcom Alaska-based General Communication said they would begin offering versions of the iconic smartphone on April 20. … Read More

April 12: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile USA agree to block stolen phones
All four of the major U.S. wireless carriers have agreed to work with the Federal Communications Commission to disable lost or stolen mobile phones. … Read More

April 18: Verizon Wireless makes offer to sell 700 MHz licenses if 1.7/2.1 GHz license deals approved
Verizon Wireless’ spectrum game took an interesting turn this morning as the nation’s largest wireless operator said it would be willing to sell off some of its 700 MHz spectrum holdings if the government approves pending transactions to acquire 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum. … Read More

April 19: Nokia losses suggest problems with carriers
The world’s largest mobile phone maker confirmed today that sluggish smartphone sales have depressed sales and earnings. … Read More

April 19: Qualcomm says it can’t meet demand for its chipsets
“It’s painful not to be able to supply all the chips your customers ask for,” Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said in announcing the company’s fiscal second quarter earnings. … Read More

April 24: Intel launches 22nm chips and new smartphone
When it comes to mobile processors, Intel has been the industry’s sleeping giant. … Read More

April 26: Fitch to resign from PCIA
Wireless infrastructure trade association PCIA announced that Michael Fitch will resign his position as president and CEO of the organization he has headed since 2005. … Read More

April 26: Nokia’s debt downgraded to “junk” status
Fitch Ratings has downgraded Nokia’s debt to “junk” status with a negative long-term outlook, citing disappointing first quarter results from the world’s largest mobile phone maker. … Read More

April 30: Apple vs. Samsung: 10 countries, 50 lawsuits and 4G is next
A California judge has ordered Samsung and Apple to send their CEOs and top lawyers to settlement talks next month. … Read More

May 14: LightSquared files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
LightSquared followed through with weekend rumors by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this afternoon, noting the move will give it “breathing room” to work through current regulatory challenges that prevent it from gaining access to its spectrum assets. … Read More

May 23: Jha out as CEO of Motorola Mobility; Google taps Woodside to lead handset division
Google’s recently closed acquisition of Motorola Mobility marked the end of Sanjay Jha’s leadership at the handset company as Google announced Dennis Woodside would take over the helm of Motorola. … Read More

May 23: HP to cut 27,000 jobs
Tablets and smartphones are replacing PCs for many consumers and businesses, and Hewlett-Packard is feeling the sting. … Read More

May 29: Sprint Nextel to begin iDEN turn down mid-2013; scores $1B credit facility
Sprint Nextel’s Network Vision program added some important numbers today as the carrier announced the date it would terminate service across its iDEN network as well as a new credit facility to purchase equipment for the extensive network upgrade. … Read More

May 30: Samsung launches Galaxy S III
Describing its new flagship smartphone as “a human product that understands you,” Samsung today launched the Galaxy S III. … Read More

May 31: Leap to offer no-contract iPhone; commits $900M over 3 years
Leap Wireless joined the growing number of regional operators offering Apple’s iconic iPhone device, though as has been the case for much of its history, the carrier is adding a unique twist: no contract required. … Read More

June 6: Freescale and Texas Instruments go head-to-head in designing base stations on a chip
As the newly appointed president and CEO of Freescale, Gregg Lowe may be calling on a number of the same customers he visited in his previous role as head of Texas Instruments’ analog chips business. … Read More

June 7: Samsung names new CEO
Samsung Electronics has named Kwon Oh-hyun as its new CEO, replacing 61-year-old Choi Gee-sung. … Read More

June 12: Verizon Wireless to launch shared data plans June 28
After months of hype, Verizon Wireless today rolled out details on new family share plans that allow up to 10 devices to share voice, messaging and now data allowances. … Read More

June 14: Nokia to cut 10,000 jobs
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop says 20% of his company’s workforce will have to go, as the Finnish phone maker struggles to say afloat between the tidal waves that are Samsung and Apple. … Read More

June 20: AT&T Mobility’s spectrum focus turns to 2.3 GHz band; challenges remain
AT&T Mobility’s desire to secure spectrum resources has turned to the 2.3 GHz band, which is currently dominated by satellite radio operator Sirius XM. … Read More

June 25: Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA announce spectrum deal, with a catch
Spectrum poker continued this morning as Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA announced a deal to exchange 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum licenses covering 218 markets, with a catch. … Read More

June 26: SBA to acquire TowerCo for $1.45B
SBA Communications continued to expand its tower empire, announcing today plans to acquire privately-held TowerCo for $1.45 billion. … Read More

June 27: Humm resigns CEO position from T-Mobile USA; leaves DT for Vodafone
T-Mobile USA reported that CEO Philipp Humm resigned effectively immediately, with current COO Jim Alling assuming the CEO responsibilities on an interim basis as the carrier looks for a new leader. … Read More

June 27: Sprint Nextel LTE launch set for July 15
Sprint Nextel’s LTE network is set to officially launch July 15, with initial coverage to include portions of Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Kansas City and San Antonio. … Read More

June 28: Qualcomm separates patent business from chip business
Qualcomm is formalizing a division that analysts have been keenly aware of for some time. … Read More

June 28: RIM to cut 30% of its workforce; delay BB10
Research in Motion says its new BlackBerry 10 smartphone will not be available until early 2013, and that by that time 5,000 of its employees will have lost their jobs. … Read More

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