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#TBT: LTE debuts, FLO TV flops, Google talks mobile … this week in 2010

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!

ITU ratifies 4G …
The International Telecommunications Union officially ratified LTE-Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced as “4G” technologies during this week’s ITU-R Study Group meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
The move follows the announcement last month that the two technologies, both advanced versions of the current LTE and WiMAX standards, had met the requirements for the IMT-Advanced designation.
According to the ITU, key features of the IMT-Advanced standard include … Read more

… And MetroPCS launches it in San Francisco
MetroPCS Communications Inc. (PCS) continued the rollout of its LTE network today with the commercial launch of service in San Francisco. The move follows previous launches in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Detroit; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; and Philadelphia. The San Francisco launch will continue the carrier’s plans to offer unlimited calling, messaging and Internet access beginning at $55 per month. Currently the only device compatible with the LTE service remains Samsung Telecommunications America’s Craft feature phone that retails for $300…Read more

…with Verizon close behind
The domestic wireless industry is set for a change in the coming weeks as Verizon Wireless (VZ) throws its mighty weight behind the launch of its LTE network. (Sure, the launch won’t be the first domestic LTE launch, that distinction being held by MetroPCS Communications Inc., but it will be a significant move as the broadest LTE deployment not just domestically, but also across the globe.) Verizon Wireless has said it plans to cover more than 100 million potential customers in 38 markets and dozens of airport locations with LTE service by the end of the year, with most observers expecting the launch to occur as soon as next week. The carrier’s advertisements are claiming a launch in December. Verizon Wireless has already begun hyping the launch under the 4G LTE tag line and commercials that are beginning to roll out. Those advertisements seem to stress the improved network speeds of the LTE service, which the carrier has said will include downlink speeds of up to 12 megabits per second and up to 5 Mbps on the uplink … Read more

Google eyes mobile payments
Google Inc.’s CEO Eric Schmidt gave a wide ranging interview at the Web 2.0 Summit 2010 in San Francisco this week, but he spent most of the time talking about mobile. While showing off a “Nexus S” device, Schmidt offered some thoughts on near field communication (NFC), which he announced will be available in the coming weeks in Android’s “Gingerbread” update with support for the reader and writer functions. Like many in this space, including the carriers, Schmidt believes mobile payments could eventually replace credit cards. “The theory of the case is that you’ll be able to walk into stores and do commerce. They’ll be able to find out who you are, with permission and all those kind of things of course,” Schmidt continued. “I don’t think people understood how much more powerful these mobile devices were going to be than the desktop,” he added. “This is a really good day for mobile.” … Read more

Apple lets you find your iPad
Apple Inc. (AAPL) has rolled out an iOS 4.2 update that finally brings the latest features in iOS to iPad users. For starters, iPad users can finally enjoy background processing, multitasking and folders.
But there are two key new features — AirPrint and AirPlay — that will bring new wireless capabilities to iOS devices. AirPrint will enable iPhone users with compatible printers to print directly via a local wireless network. … Apple also made a MobileMe feature called “Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch” that helps users locate their missing device and protect its data available for free to all users. Once set up, users can find their device on a map, display a message on its screen, remotely set a passcode lock and initiate a remote wipe to delete data … Read more

Clearwire covers 100 million people
Clearwire Corp. (CLWR) moved passed the 100 million covered potential customer mark today with the launch of its WiMAX network and “Clear”-branded service in a handful of new markets. The carrier said its network and service is now commercially operational in Los Angeles; Miami; Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. In addition to the new launches, Clearwire said it will launch its Clear service in the San Francisco Bay Area on Dec. 28. Following the announcement, Clearwire’s majority owner Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) also said it has begun offering its “4G”-branded WiMAX service in the same markets, as well as in the Washington, D.C., area. Clearwire launched service in the nation’s capital June 1.
The move past 100 million pops is significant for Clearwire as the company has said it planned to cover 120 million pops by the end of the year with its WiMAX network … Read more

Qualcomm confirms that FLO TV is a flop

Executives at Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) were never eager to offer up subscriber count numbers for FLO TV. Until now, sort of. At an event in Silicon Valley earlier this week, CEO Paul Jacobs said the company only managed to sign up about 1 million customers over its nearly four-year run. Based on that number, FLO TV signed up an average of 22,222 customers per month over its 45-month span of service. The company has never reported the level of churn it saw on the service, which makes it difficult to gauge how many customers actually remained month-over-month. Or more importantly, how many of those million customers actually became paying customers? Many of the devices for FLO TV came with subsidized promotions for a trial service for 30 days or six months. After making such a major investment in spectrum, towers, network management, content deals and research and development, it’s no wonder Jacobs is ready to throw in the towel … 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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