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Time Trippin’: Verizon Wireless a feisty No. 2; AT&T’s MVNO plans … 8 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!

Eyes on Verizon during holiday sales push
What traditionally has been a holiday battle for market share among nationwide operators this year has turned into a struggle to compete against the Verizon Wireless juggernaut. The industry’s second-largest operator has been on a roll this year, adding several million more customers than its competitors. The carrier appears set to run the table during the always-important holiday shopping season. The competition is attempting to put up a fight, but few expect their moves will alter the inevitable. The most likely casualty will be Cingular Wireless L.L.C., which saw its leadership position shrink by 1 million customers during the third quarter, and could see a similar hit during the final three months of the year. … Read More

AT&T MVNO could cut into Cingular’s business base
AT&T Inc., which until last week was SBC Communications Inc., is getting set to stack its wireless deck with plans to launch an AT&T-branded wireless service that will use subsidiary Cingular Wireless L.L.C.’s network. AT&T, which changed its name following SBC’s $16 billion acquisition of AT&T Corp., owns 60 percent of Cingular, which completed a $41 billion acquisition of AT&T Wireless Services Inc. last fall. Still with me? AT&T’s wireless plans were partially leaked by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre, who said that Cingular was dropping its brand name for the AT&T brand in most of its markets in USA Today. BellSouth Corp., which controls the remaining 40 percent of Cingular, said in the story that it did not have any objections to the name change. … Read More

Advertisers find new product venue with mobile gaming
The hottest trend in video games has nothing to do with 3-D graphics, big-brand tie-ins or real-time multiplayer. It’s advertising. And it’s coming to mobile gaming. In-game advertising is rapidly attracting the attention of brands looking to get face time with the Holy Grail of demographics: teens and young adults. Console and PC gamers have become accustomed in recent years to seeing banners on the sidelines of video sports titles, for instance, and branded billboards dot the urban landscape of first-person shooters. … Read More

With Alamosa, Sprint Nextel picks up largest cargo yet
The Sprint Nextel Corp. affiliate acquisition train continued to roll as the carrier picked up its largest cargo yet-CDMA affiliate Alamosa Holdings Inc. for $4.3 billion. The purchase price includes Sprint Nextel assuming $900 million of Alamosa debt. Under terms of the deal, Sprint Nextel will purchase Alamosa’s common stock at $18.75 per share in an all-cash transaction. The price was a 14-percent premium above Alamosa’s opening stock price of $16.17 per share the day the deal was announced. Alamosa’s stock surged on the news to $18.39 per share before trading was halted. … Read More

Broadcasters fight back against use of TV white space
The broadcast industry is fighting a proposal that would reserve vacant TV channels for unlicensed uses following the transition to digital TV. “The fact that you don’t see anyone operating on a particular channel does not necessarily mean it’s vacant. We can get into a debate about what’s vacant and what isn’t, but it fundamentally depends on how you define vacant,” said David Donovon, president of Maximum Service TV, an association for local TV broadcasters. … Read More

DRM: Too many (private) solutions to minor problem?
In these early days of wireless entertainment, it appears content providers have effectively deployed a variety of Digital Rights Management solutions to protect their wares. But many believe all those “solutions” are actually a problem. Behind-the-scenes haggling over royalties continue between MPEG LA, which holds patents for Open Mobile Alliance-supported DRM technology, and industry associations such as the GSM Association. The groups have been at odds since January, when MPEG LA-a licensing clearinghouse-proposed royalties the GSMA blasted as unreasonable and excessive. … Read More

Relocation issues dog 3G spectrum plans
The Federal Communications Commission continues to face relocation problems with its third-generation mobile-phone spectrum plan, a situation that could affect the timing of June’s auction and combine with other factors to lower revenues the United States needs to move Pentagon radio systems to new frequencies. Military users are being moved off the 1710-1755 MHz band and non-federal wireless users off the 2110-2155 MHz band to clear the way for 3G, also called advanced wireless services. The complications involve relocating users from those bands to 2 GHz frequencies that are already occupied by various licensees. … Read More

Cisco enters mesh municipalities fray
The mesh market is garnering increased attention lately-and following a typical path in wireless evolution-complete with competition between startups and industry leaders, and competing proposals for a standard-all underscored by analyst predictions that the technology holds great promise. Cisco Systems Inc. is among the newest companies to enter the fray, unveiling its outdoor wireless mesh solution and launching itself into the municipal Wi-Fi technology marketplace. Cisco said its new access point, called Aironet 1500, was built for large-scale deployments and can be deployed anywhere-rooftops, light posts or power poles. … Read More

Consumers Union irate over T-Mobile comparison
T-Mobile USA Inc., with challenges aplenty as the smallest national cell-phone carrier, has unwittingly angered the nation’s top consumer group and publisher of an influential magazine that rates mobile-phone carriers. In doing so, the Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier helped renew criticism of a carrier business practice in a Federal Communications Commission proceeding that was plodding along with-until now-little fanfare. The spat erupted in a FCC filing in which T-Mobile USA likened the wireless industry’s practice of imposing early-termination fees for premature cancellation of service contracts to Consumers Union’s discount on its online products rating service in relation to the length of the subscription term to Consumer Reports Online. … Read More

Alltel expands into Midwest for $1 billion
Alltel Corp. continued its rural expansion by gobbling up privately held Midwest Wireless for $1.075 billion in cash. The acquisition comes just months after Alltel closed on its $6 billion purchase of Western Wireless Corp. and follows its 2002 acquisition of CenturyTel Inc.’s wireless assets for $1.6 billion. Alltel said the Midwest Wireless deal includes the carrier’s 400,000 wireless customers, network assets, and 850 MHz and 1.9 GHz spectrum licenses covering southern Minnesota, northern and eastern Iowa and western Wisconsin. Both carriers operate CDMA-based networks and rely on Qualcomm Inc.’s BREW platform to deliver content. … Read More

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