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#TBT: Nextel struggles in a 3G world; Legere joins T-Mo; Lining up for iPhone 5 … this week in 2012

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!

Nextel launches 3G in Mexico
The Nextel‘s 3G network has come to Mexico. Nextel, which is the NII Holdings brand in Latin America, announced the launch of its new 3G network yesterday, Sept. 26. Initially, it will be available in 34 cities, including Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla and Cancun. A second phase expansion, which is expected to cover all major Mexican cities, is scheduled to begin in 2013. Nextel said the new network will provide a full array of wireless products and services, including push-to-talk (PTT) service and high-speed data capabilities. It remains to be seen if the company will be able to resume sales and compete in the Mexican market, which is dominated by América Móvil’s Claro. According to latest data from the Telecommunications Sector Production Index (ITEL) and Federal Commission of Telecommunications (Cofetel), Mexico’s telecommunications sector grew 14.8% during the second quarter of 2012 over the same period of 2011. Mobile subscribers totaled 97,629,506 last June, of which 14,813,961 were postpaid and 82,815,545 were prepaid. … Read more

What happens to PTT in an iPhone world?
Nextel Communications’ 3G network launch in Brazil, which has been expected for some time, may happen before the end of this year. The company confirmed to RCR Wireless News that “Nextel is working to start marketing its 3G later this year; it has already fulfilled the regulatory requirements.” Further details, such as the exact date of launch, plans and initial cities, were not released. The company has already launched its push-to-talk services over its new 3G network in Chile in August, after announcing 3G voice and data services in May. Nextel is seeking a 5-12% share of the Chilean mobile market. Peru is the first country where NII Holdings, which operates the Nextel brand, launched PTT using a W-CDMA network. Earlier this year, many financial analysts noted that Nextel’s 3G plans could cause the carrier to become lost in a sea of rival 3G operators that have already launched commercial services. Nextel’s unique push-to-talk service could also suffer, since it is already struggling from a lack of compelling devices geared toward an increasingly smartphone-savvy public. “As the market moves from voice to data, people want to enjoy their iPhones, and they are not interested in PTT,” Macquarie Capital analyst Kevin Smithen said at that time. … Read more

John Legere takes the reins at T-Mobile US
T-Mobile USA received new leadership today as parent company Deutsche Telekom announced that John Legere will head up its U.S. operations effective Sept. 22. Legere is a veteran of the telecom space, most recently as CEO of Global Crossing. Legere replaces Jim Alling, who has served as interim CEO since June following the sudden departure of former T-Mobile USA CEO Philipp Humm. Alling is set to return to his position as COO at the carrier. “John is a talented and proven executive who brings a successful track record of leading and operating consumer- and business-focused telecommunications and technology companies,” said René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, in a statement. “As T-Mobile moves forward with its strategic initiatives to improve its market position, including expanding its network coverage and initiating LTE service, John has obviously the right skillset to lead the business into the future. John’s experience in the telecommunication and technology industries at Global Crossing and Dell will enhance T-Mobile’s ability to deliver superior mobile experiences for our customers as the Company continues to strengthen its business. I am delighted to welcome John to T-Mobile and look forward to working with him to make T-Mobile a stronger competitor.” Prior to joining Global Crossing, Legere was CEO of Asia Global Crossing, which was a joint venture between Microsoft, Softbank and Global Crossing. Before that Legere served as SVP of Dell Computer, where he was president of the company’s operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, as well as in the Asia-Pacific region. Legere has also served in a number of positions at AT&T, having begun his career at New England Telephone in 1980. … Read more

Mobile insights from ESPN
ESPN’s Michael Bayle spends as much time looking at Nielsen ratings as some of his customers spend looking at sports scores. Bayle is the general manager of ESPN Mobile, and today he addressed CEOs of many of the nation’s wireless service providers at the Competitive Carriers’ Association’s Annual Convention. As he rattled off Nielsen ratings and compared the size of ESPN Mobile’s audience to that of a cable TV show, he made it clear that a successful mobile app can create a valuable media franchise. Bayle offered insights into how smartphone users spend their time online, noting that the average ESPN app user spends much more time using social media than using the sports app. He also noted that usage of ESPN Mobile was high on Sundays, even though Sunday games are on major broadcast networks, not his network. Bayle said users are turning to ESPN Mobile for supplementary content while watching the game on TV. “They’re using ESPN as a second screen, while watching live on NBC.” Bayle noted that on the NFL’s opening Sunday, 904,000 people were using ESPN Mobile or the ESPN website, with just over half of those using the mobile app. … Read more

RIM touts BlackBerry 10
Troubled Research in Motion (RIMM) is playing to its strengths with the launch of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphone and operating system. The company is billing its newest device as a smartphone with the functionality of a personal computer, targeting the corporate clients that have long been its best customers. RIM is also planning to launch BB10 all over the world, in hopes of capitalizing on its lingering strength outside of the major markets that have largely abandoned its products in favor of those made by Apple, Samsung, and other Asian manufacturers. Kicking off the BlackBerry Jam Developers’ Conference in San Jose yesterday, CEO Thorstein Heins told his audience that BB10 will be released early next year. He said the new operating system will support both a corporate and a personal identity on one device, and that both will be encrypted. Called BlackBerry Balance, the solution allows users to switch easily from one persona to the other, meaning that personal apps, emails and social media accounts can be kept off a corporate network. Social media is a clear priority for RIM with the launch of BB10. Heins said that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and FourSquare would all be part of the new operating system. In addition, there are now more than 100,000 apps in BlackBerry App World, including many that are clearly targeting users when they are in “personal mode” rather than “business mode.” The BB10 operating system also supports HTML5, making it accessible to a wider range of developers. … Read more

Lining up for iPhone 5
The unofficial national holiday that is the launch of a new Apple iPhone is upon us, and as can be seen via most news outlets, the usual lines in front of retailers are as strong as ever. For those that are not already standing in line, but have some interest in getting your hands on an iPhone 5, you may be in for a wait. Most wireless carriers offering the device beginning today, which includes Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and Sprint Nextel, are reporting delayed shipping on orders placed today. Those carriers have been accepting pre-orders on the various iPhone 5 models since Sept. 14. Apple noted that it managed to secure two million pre-orders in the first 24 hours, which was more than double the orders taken for the previous generation iPhone 4S. Verizon Wireless is reporting on its website that orders placed today on all versions of the iPhone 5 will ship by Oct. 19. AT&T Mobility is showing shipping for its iPhone 5 models taking place in 14 to 21 business days, which places that window between Oct. 13 and Oct. 24. Sprint Nextel is claiming that it will ship new orders in up to three weeks. For those looking to keep your purchase experience “pure,” Apple’s website is claiming it will ship new orders within three to four weeks. … Read more

Samsung, LG, HTC bring out their best
On the heels of Apple’s unveiling of its latest iPhone 5, which is set to hit consumers this week, a trio of rivals announced their own flagship products that should make for an exciting holiday shopping season. The new devices include a pair of quad-core mega-smartphones from Samsung and LG, with HTC announcing its first smartphone powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system. Samsung reported this morning that a handful of domestic carriers will begin offering its quad-core powered Galaxy Note 2 mega-smartphone beginning in mid-November. The carrier’s include Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA and U.S. Cellular. The device packs Samsung’s Exynos, 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB of internal RAM, 16 GB of internal memory, sports a 5.5-inch screen and runs Google’s latest Android 4.1 operating system. Samsung also noted that the Note 2 will include 3,100 mAh battery that is 24% larger than the first-generation Note device, which was announced just last year. Samsung noted earlier this year that it had sold 5 million Galaxy Note devices from its launch last October through the first quarter of this year. The Galaxy Note 2 will also be compatible with each carrier’s respective high-speed data network: LTE for Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel and U.S. Cellular; HSPA+ for T-Mobile USA. Carrier pricing and specific launch dates will be forthcoming. Not to be outdone by its larger rival, LG’s move into quad-core power will come via its Optimus G smartphone that will feature a slightly smaller – though still extra-large – 4.7-inch touchscreen. The Optimus G will run Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz S4 Snapdragon quad-core processor supported by 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory, and run Android 4.0 out of the box. … Read more

WiMAX is dead. Long live WiMAX.
WiMAX is not dead. At least in Peru, where the national firm Olo has launched mobile Internet services using WiMAX. It is offering prepaid mobile data services in the Lima capital area. News reports noted that Olo has deployed a Wimax network and installed antennas across Lima with an initial investment of U.S.$50 million. Olo is expected to expand its Wimax network in other Peruvian provinces starting in the first quarter of 2013. The network expansion is scheduled to roll-out in the cities of Arequipa, Chiclayo and Trujillo. Also this week, Hughes Network Systems, a broadband satellite solution and service provider, announced that it has been awarded a contract with a major telecommunications operator in Latin America to supply an HX System backhaul solution, enabling the expansion of its GSM and WiMAX wireless voice and data services in rural areas. … Read more

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


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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