YOU ARE AT:Archived Articles#TBT: Sprint expands home femtocells; Mobile video, ticketing take shape; Moto seeks...

#TBT: Sprint expands home femtocells; Mobile video, ticketing take shape; Moto seeks an iPhone of its own … 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 those sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Sprint expands its femtocell footprint

Sprint Nextel Corp. will expand its femtocell offering nationwide in the coming weeks, the company said today. The carrier’s Airave – essentially a small network base station for the home that connects to DSL or cable lines – will sell to consumers for $100 apiece. A recurring service charge of $5 per month is required. The carrier will also offer an optional, unlimited calling plan, priced at an additional $10 per individual or $20 for families already on Sprint Nextel’s network. Sprint Nextel was the first out of the femtocell gate in the United States; the carrier in September introduced its Airave femtocell from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. for $50 along with a monthly fee. When the Airave launched, it was only available in Denver and Indianapolis. The carrier expanded distribution to Nashville in October. The device-and-service package can be viewed as part of a larger push for fixed-mobile convergence, particularly in the consumer space. Carriers such as AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, and vendors such as Qualcomm Inc., have also exhibited interest in femtocells. … Read more

Help with navigating enterprise wireless

How much do we really know about our phones or – even more complex – our smartphones? We know they turn on, make calls and even connect to our work e-mail. The hard part usually comes when trying to organize the bill, trouble shoot problems with the device and understanding all the applications. Occasionally, this becomes difficult for any mobile customer. Now, try to imagine handling all those issues across 1,000 phones. This is the headache attacking many businesses that take the initiative of providing employees with phones.
There may a new pill for the migraine. Mobile management companies are emerging to take the reigns from the I.T. specialist or whoever in the company has been tapped to deal with phone issues and service plans, as well as manage billing, customer service and the like. Rivermine is an example of this type of Tylenol, if you will. Jim Carroll, executive VP of global wireless services for Rivermine, said the company supervises anything wireless inside a company. Carroll said his company – originally BBR Wireless Management but switched to the name Rivermine after the two companies recently merged – began by focusing on optimizing wireless rate plans, but the company has evolved and now handles bill audits, purchasing wireless devices and rate plans from multiple carriers, managing expenses and even providing customer service. “We gave them a good way to manage expenses right from the beginning,” Carroll said. … Read more

Adoption slows among teen users, approaching saturation

Wireless penetration rates for teens are reaching saturation and growth in the segment is stagnating, according to a new report from research firm MultiMedia Intelligence. Subscribers between the ages of 12 and 17 exceed 16 million in the United States last year, up 12% from 2006, said the firm. But the segment is only expected to grow to 17 million by 2012, an increase of only 1 million over a five-year period. The teen market has been the ‘golden child’ or carriers in the United States in the past couple of years because the segment was largely untapped until recently and because teens proved to generate higher ARPUs. … Read more

The challenges of mobile video

Patrick Maurer is no techie. “I can barely work my toaster,” says the lanky 29-year-old sales rep with the self-described “tennis player” hairstyle. But Patrick may represent the most promising aspect of mobile marketing and mobile video advertising. While checking his mobile Yahoo account, Patrick watched a video from Jaguar that eventually led to a dealer test-drive. “I hadn’t really looked at the Jag before that,” he said. The opportunity for brands to tell their story with sight, sound and motion has agencies and advertisers eager to experiment with mobile video advertising. This nascent sector probably has the necessary technology to grow. What is lacking now are clearly defined business processes. Walk into any Sprint, Verizon or AT&T store and most of the phones will have video capability. According to NPD, 60% of multimedia handsets sold to U.S. consumers in the first quarter have video functionality. Although some consumers are watching paid subscription services like MediaFLO, MobiTV, Sprint TV and Vcast, comScore M:Metrics notes that three times as many – over 15 million people – watched video clips forwarded by friends and family. The proportion is similar in Europe. Consumers are definitely interested in premium video content; they just don’t want to pay for it. … Read more

Mobile ticketing on the rise

Transport-based mobile ticketing will grow from 37.4 million transactions last year to more than 1.8 billion by 2011, according to new research from Juniper Research. The Far East and China will make up nearly three-quarters of the total number of transactions worldwide by 2011, said the firm. Rail and air travel were particularly popular for mobile ticketing, with rail showing strong activity in Western Europe, North America and the Far East and China regions. Juniper noted main of the early trials that were offered by operators are now being replaced by commercial deployments from ticketing and coupon owners like Ticketmaster and travel organizations like the International Air Travel Association. … Read more

Toshiba shuts down mobile TV service

Toshiba Corp. said it will shut down its four-year-old, satellite-based digital multimedia broadcasting service, which it offers via its Mobile Broadcasting Corp. business unit. The company said the service has failed to attract sufficient customers to its paid service in the face of demand for free mobile broadcasting services that are targeting mobile handsets. Toshiba said it will dissolve the company and end services by March of next year. The discontinuation is expected to cost Toshiba about $232 million, which will be reflected on its financial statement for March 2009. … Read more

Motorola set to respond to iPhone’s popularity

Motorola Inc. says its troubled handset business is improving and will be stronger by the end of the year, but CEO Gregory Brown isn’t willing to say when he expects the unit to break even. Yet Brown insists the division, which lost $346 million in the second quarter, will continue to improve with help from more profitable new phones and continued cost reductions in the second half of this year. Motorola’s stock bounded 12% higher Thursday on surprise news that the communications giant posted a small profit. Brown told Crain’s Chicago Business on Thursday that the company isn’t planning any more job cuts beyond the 2,600 layoffs announced in April. Schaumburg-based Motorola employs about 15,000 in Illinois. Brown said he expects to roll out about 34 new phones by year’s end, more than double the number introduced in the first six months of the year. That’s likely to include an answer to Apple Inc.’s popular iPhone, a Web-friendly phone with a touch-sensitive screen. The phone is now in its second generation, accompanied by look-alikes from most rivals, except Motorola. … Read more

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

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