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#TBT: A look inside Disney Mobile; Sprint eyes iPhone buzz … 8 years ago this week

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Disney Mobile offers peek into operations, aspirations
As Disney Mobile L.L.C. approaches its one-year anniversary, the company provided a glimpse of how customers are making use of the innovative, family-centric applications at the heart of its service. The mobile virtual network operator also proffered a look into its plans for the future. According to George Grobar, general manager of Disney Mobile, 30 percent of the MVNO’s subscribers make use of its GPS location tracking services, and parents who do so use the feature 14 times per month on average-or roughly every other day. The service allows parents to keep tabs on their children. Grobar also offered some additional Disney stats: … Read More

Sprint Nextel’s Forsee paying close attention to iPhone buzz
The world is in the midst of a “mobility revolution” that is leading telecom companies to make huge investments in networks that will enable customers to engage in e-commerce or electronic banking on the go as easily as they do now from their desktop computers. That’s the view of Sprint Nextel Corp. CEO Gary Forsee, who spoke to a business group in Cleveland. “The need for access to data transcends whether you’re at work, at home or on the go,” Forsee said during his half-hour presentation about the future of the telecom business, which was followed by about 20 minutes of responding to audience questions. Forsee described the mobility revolution as “a search for connections, both social and emotional.” Sprint Nextel now processes more than 100 million photos each month over its wireless network, Forsee said, and only Apple Inc. handles more music downloads than his company. However, the wireless technology to handle such services does not come cheap. … Read More

Sprint Nextel hires new advertising firm
Sprint Nextel Corp. has named Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, in San Francisco, as its new advertising agency as the carrier looks to reinvigorate subscriber sales and its slumbering stock. “Goodby’s sterling reputation and creative talents are second to none and together we will deliver a more integrated and strategic brand execution,” said Mark Schweitzer, Sprint Nextel’s chief marketing officer. The nation’s third-largest cellphone carrier spent $1.2 billion on advertising in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence. However, in January when the carrier began looking for a new advertising firm, a Sprint Nextel spokeswoman indicated the amount the carrier spent on advertising was likely to drop. … Read More

Nokia to pay Qualcomm $20M, but the fight continues
Nokia Corp. announced it will pay Qualcomm Inc. $20 million in patent royalties for the second quarter of this year, a move that stands as yet another thrust in the face-off between the two wireless giants. At the heart of the issue is a cross-licensing agreement for wireless patents that is set to expire Monday. In announcing the $20 million payment, Nokia offered fiery rhetoric uncharacteristic of the usually staid Finnish vendor. … Read More

MetroPCS aims for $1B with IPO
Flat-rate carrier MetroPCS Communications Inc. said it expects to raise a bit more than $1 billion when it makes an initial public offering. According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company plans to sell 50 million shares for a price between $19 and $21 per share; another 7.5 million shares are subject to an over-allotment option granted to the IPO’s underwriters, which include Bear Stearns & Co. Inc., Banc of America Securities L.L.C., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley. … Read More

New FCC rules take aim at pretexting
The Federal Communications Commission approved new rules requiring wireless and wireline carriers to take additional steps to prevent unauthorized disclosure of subscribers’ phone records, but a provision delaying notification of customers of some privacy breaches drew protests from the agency’s two Democratic members. The new guidelines, which essentially represent a shift from an opt-out to an opt-in regime, were triggered by high-profile cases in which data brokers and individuals impersonated customers to obtain their phone records. … Read More

Nokia Siemens Networks launches with lowered expectations
The new joint venture known as Nokia Siemens Networks officially began operations yesterday, April 1, but it didn’t want to fool anyone: growth in the networks sector will be “very slight” this year, the company said. The new company announced it will begin life as a major player with the objective of becoming the top infrastructure vendor-but in the last of nine paragraphs extolling its potential, the company dampened short-term expectations. … Read More

The Billing Nightmare: Voice, SMS, downloads, mobile TV, LBS all contribute to complex billing situation
The nation’s 236 million mobile subscribers rang up an impressive $4.8 billion in mobile data purchases last year, using their phones to do everything from sending text messages to watching “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” according to figures released last week by IDC. But while carriers are finally beginning to enjoy data revenues, they continue to face the back-end hassles of monetizing such offerings. In their haste to bring new data services to market, network operators have built a patchwork of OSS/BSS silos that separately deliver content, optimize network traffic, bill the end user and provide customer relationship management services. A host of technology providers are hoping to help them tear down-or at least minimize-the number of those silos, integrating back-end processes with applications that deliver content and settle transactions. … Read More

Replacement sales overtake first-time device purchases: ‘Upgrade’ means more features at yesterday’s price
This year, worldwide replacement handset sales will rise to more than double the number of first-time purchases, according to a forecast by market research firm iSuppli Corp. And that has implications for the higher-end of the handset market and vendors with a market-segmentation strategy. Initially, Nokia Corp., with its lead in 3G devices, broad portfolio and brand recognition in many developing markets, may be best positioned to benefit. Meanwhile, slower growth in handset sales in general may lead to further consolidation, analysts said. Overall, due to vendors’ cost efficiencies, consumers stand to benefit by getting more features at prices similar to those paid for the last phone they purchased. Thus, “replacement” equates to “upgrade” in the sense that the same dollars will buy more features. That does not necessarily equate, however, to more handset dollars spent. … Read More

Coalition calls for part of 700 MHz spectrum to be auctioned as open access
A coalition of consumer and public interest groups said the Federal Communications Communication should craft the 700 MHz auction to foster wireless broadband alternatives based on net neutrality principles. Not surprisingly, this approach is opposed by leading wireless, wireline and cable TV service providers. Coalition members, who submitted various filings to the FCC this week, are Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, New America Foundation and Free Press. … Read More

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