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#TBT: Users tune out mobile TV; big fish get bigger; Qualcomm ditches CDMA Rev. C … this week in 2008

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!

The market tunes out mobile TV
Mobile TV has a lot of things going for it: a ton of hype, an eye-catching wow factor and, in one case, an $800 million dedicated network. But it doesn’t have viewers. And that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
U.S. adoption of wireless TV is languishing around 1%, according to a study released last week by JupiterResearch, and interest in the stuff has halved – halved! – among consumers in the last two years as the novelty wears thin. As the document points out, there is no shortage of reasons why the long-ballyhooed application has failed to attract users. Hit-and-miss network coverage, high price points and limited content options are to blame, as is a lack of affordable, video-friendly handsets that actually let users see what they’ re paying for. … Read more


Sorry, Bluetooth, people don’t use their phones to listen to music

Consumers have embraced Bluetooth-enabled mono headsets for mobile phones, but getting them to accept stereo Bluetooth headsets is another story. A new study from IMS Research predicts sales of mono Bluetooth headsets will increase by 10 to 20 million per year and could quickly reach 100 million annually. The primary driver of the market is hands-free mobile-phone use while driving, said the firm. … “Many potential buyers are happy enough with their wired headsets to listen to their iPod or another personal media player,” said Filomena Berardi of IMS Research. “The cellphone is still not the preferred way to listen to music. And Apple, the brand leader, has not enabled Bluetooth on either the iPod or the iPhone.” … Read more

Shame, shame, they know your names
A unit of LG Electronics, the South Korean-based multinational giant with a major wireless handset business, and other Asian manufacturers agreed to pay $585 million in fines and plead guilty in connection with the Department of Justice and FBI’s probe of price-fixing conspiracies in the sale of liquid crystal display panels for mobile phones and other electronic devices. The Justice Department said companies like Motorola Inc., Dell Inc. and Apple Inc. were hurt by LCD panel pricing by LG (tagged with a $400 million fine; the second highest ever levied in an antitrust criminal action), Japan’s Sharp Corp. ($120 million) and Taiwan’s Chunghwa ($65 million). Department officials said one of the LCD panel price-fixing conspiracies involved Sharp sales to Motorola Inc. from fall 2005 to mid-2006 for use in Razr mobile phones … Read more

M2M seen as key to competitiveness
Machine-to-machine technology is gaining traction among businesses across all industries, and many view connecting machines to the Internet as a way to stay competitive, according to a recent survey conducted by Beecham Research Ltd. Of the 267 responses, 82% of businesses consider instituting M2M as “imperative” and “very important” for their future, according to the survey. Businesses also view the technology as a way to create new service opportunities. Beecham, which does research focused on the development of the M2M market, sent out the survey to companies that have been early adopters of the technology for remote device management. The survey was conducted between July and September and responses were received from companies based all over the world, covering all sectors of business. The leading reason why companies implement M2M technology is to “stay competitive, indicating the importance placed on network enablement as a competitive advantage,” according to the survey. In addition, 52% said their companies already support and monitor existing devices deployed in the field using M2M, according to the survey … Read more

Mobile movie tickets hit the red carpet
Verizon Wireless is stepping onto the red carpet, allowing certain customers to use their mobile devices as ticket entry to this year’s Variety Screening Series. Verizon Wireless customers who are invited to the series can receive their screening series tickets directly on their mobile devices for 10 different films.
Mobile ticket holders will also receive an MMS video welcome from Variety’s Editor-in-Chief Peter Bart, prior to the 10 screenings. The movie series highlights more than 40 different films. In addition, Verizon FiOS and Vcast customers can also get in on the action. After each screening, various directors, writers, producers and actors will sit down for a live Q&A with the film’s audience. Following the 10 Verizon Wireless-sponsored screenings, these Q&A sessions will be available on Vcast, Verizon FiOS TV’s FiOS1 and video-on-demand services … Read more

Sprint Nextel, iPCS take a break from WiMAX battles
The ongoing battle between Sprint Nextel Corp. and its CDMA affiliate is set for a breather as iPCS withdrew its most recent injunction looking to stop Sprint Nextel’s WiMAX joint venture with Clearwire Corp.
iPCS withdrew the injunction after the WiMAX venture, dubbed New Clearwire, said it does not plan on launching WiMAX services in iPCS’ markets before July 2009. New Clearwire added that if it moves forward with any launch plans it will provide iPCS with a written notice 60 days prior to a network launch. The withdrawal does not let Sprint Nextel or the New Clearwire off the hook, but provides iPCS with a heads up if or when it needs to resume its legal battle. iPCS’ qualms with the WiMAX venture centers around its affiliate agreement with Sprint Nextel that prohibits the carrier from launching a competing service in iPCS’ markets. … Read more

Big fish get bigger
Earlier this month, AT&T Mobility announced plans to acquire Centennial Communications Corp. for $2.8 billion. The deal is expected to add approximately 1.1 million customers to AT&T Mobility’s customer base. The deal, if approved, will also see yet another of the few remaining publicly traded, regional carriers absorbed by a larger rival, which has become a common practice during the past several years.
Keith Mallinson, president of industry analyst firm WiseHarbor, said the transaction spells an end game for competition in the wireless space, noting the wireless market is now dominated by two big players.
“The rest are small fries,” Mallinson said. “They’re minnows in comparison to the carriers that are buying them up. It’s difficult to get that excited about it.” Recent years have witnessed AT&T Mobility pick up Dobson Communications Corp. and a handful of smaller players; Verizon Wireless pick off Rural Cellular Corp. and Alltel Communications L.L.C.; and T-Mobile USA Inc. acquire SunCom Wireless Holdings Inc. Sprint Nextel Corp. has kept most of its acquisitions in-house, buying nearly all of its former network affiliates. … Read more

Qualcomm ditches CDMA Rev. C in favor of LTE
Qualcomm Inc. publicly said that it was giving up on developing its Ultra Mobile Broadband evolution for CDMA, leaving the technology’s upgrade path up in the air. During an analyst meeting last week, the company said it was ending research and development for UMB – also known as CDMA2000 1x EV-DO Revision C – to focus on the Long Term Evolution standard, which has received strong support from carriers and infrastructure vendors. Qualcomm had proffered Rev. C as the “4G” technology path for its EV-DO standard, but failed to garner support from operators, including those that had already deployed Rev. A upgrades. Domestically, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA Inc. and a handful of smaller carriers have already said they will deploy networks based in the LTE standard, while others, most notably Sprint Nextel Corp. and Clearwire Corp., have thrown their support behind WiMAX. Earlier this year CDMA supporters hinted that UMB might still find support in developing markets, but Qualcomm’s announcement seems to have shut the door on that option. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News’ Archives for more stories from the past.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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