Verizon, which is sitting on top of the world today, didn't take kindly to Time Warner's advertising campaign pitching an "advanced fiber optic network." The National Advertising Review Board wasn't buying it either and has ordered Time Warner to stop referring to its network as "fiber optic," leaving Verizon as the sole major fiber provider to the home, Arstechnica reports. But if Time Warner's network isn't fiber optic, what is it?
Boy Genius Report discovered a new memo (PDF) up on Verizon Wireless' website that's sure to ruffle a few feathers, particularly if you're one of the wireless carrier's heaviest data users. Here's the short and sweet of it:
"If you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5 percent of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand," Verizon explains.
Many wondered how Verizon would handle the increased data demands that an influx of upcoming iPhone 4 subscribers would put on its network, and here's your answer, or at least one of them. The wireless carrier also said it's "implementing optimization and transcoding technologies" to help transmit data more efficiently. These techniques will include caching less data, using less capacity, and sizing the video more appropriately for the device, Verizon said.
MetroPCS continues to shuttle its no annual contract 4G LTE service into more locations, with the latest expansion effort focusing on Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, and Orlando metropolitan areas, the wireless carrier announced. Customers in these and other 4G areas can access the high-speed network on the Samsung Craft, the first and so far the only commercially available 4G LTE handset, MetroPCS says.
"We continue to expand our network so more customers can experience the only no annual contract, unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE Web browsing service available today," said Roger D. Linquist, president, CEO, and chairman of MetroPCS. "MetroPCS is giving customers everything they want -- an affordable 4G LTE phone, more choices, and the best value in 4G LTE service to stay connected, be entertained, and do more -- without sacrificing time or money."
4G LTE plans start at $40 through MetroPCS, which includes unlimited talk, text, and Web. There are also $50 and $60 plans which up the ante with additional goodies like instant messaging, unlimited email access, and 4G On Demand with MetroSTUDIO ($60 plan). All three plans included unlimited YouTube.
Verizon is convinced it won't suffer the same network woes as AT&T once it launches the iPhone 4 on February 10. Not coincidentally, Verizon this week announced the activation of 16 new cell sites in the New York Metro region. For those familiar with the area, that includes five new cell sites in both Rockland and Suffolk Counties, three in Westchester County, and additional cell sites in Nassau, New York, and Putnam Counties.
"While establishing our recently-launched 4G LTE network is something we take very seriously, it is important for our customers to know that we are also committed to holding our position as the most reliable 3G network in the nation," said Pat Devlin, New York Metro region president for Verizon Wireless. "As it stands now, the 3G network is what most of our customers are using now. While many will eventually cross over to 4G for business applications and heavier data usage, a good percentage will find that our 3G network will continue to suit their needs very well for the foreseeable future."
In other words, these are all 3G towers, even though Verizon has gone to great lengths promoting its 4G/LTE expansion. And while Verizon isn't saying these new towers are the result of securing the iPhone 4, it's not hard to read between the lines.
We might look back on 2011 as the year of 4G (in addition to the year of the tablet, year of Sandy Bridge, the year 3D fizzled, etc). That's what HTC's hoping for, as company execs have set an internal goal of shipping around 10 million 4G-enabled smartphones with support for either LTE or WiMAX, DigiTimes reports.
For the sake of comparison, HTC shipped just 3.5 million 4G smartphones in all of 2010, and that includes 3 million of the popular Evo 4G devices for Sprint. The other 500,000 were myTouch 4G phones for T-Mobile. Combined, the two smartphones accounted for 14 percent of HTC's total smartphone shipments.
This year HTC plans to supply 4G models to Verizon, Sprint, and some lesser known names in Europe and Japan. One of these will include the HTC Incredible HD, which will start shipping to Verizon in the second quarter.
Quick, what's the one technology you can't live without? If you answered "Broadband," then you're in agreement with 28 percent of respondents in Zogby's latest survey covering a range of topics, including must-have technologies.
Email came in second with 18 percent of the votes, while 3 percent of respondents chose Facebook as the one technology they' can't live without. Not surprisingly, 18-24 year olds view things a bit differently, with 15 percent saying they can't live without Facebook.
The survey also asked respondents what they think will happen in the next decade, and here's what they said:
Regular use of stem cells and cloning techniques to create human organs for transplant (43 percent)
Computer chips implanted in people to monitor their health (40 percent)
Robots capable of performing manual labor jobs (40 percent)
Incorporation of virtual reality into home entertainment (36 percent)
Zogby pinged 1,950 adults online from December 8-10, 2010.
Sprint today added a a few more markets to its 4G service umbrella, including Denver (as well as other cities along Colorado's Front Range, such as Boulder, Fort Collins, and Greeley) and Bridgeport, Connecticut, the wireless telco announced.
"Sprint is the leader in providing 4G service, and we're proud to extend our advanced mobile broadband network to two more cities today," said Matt Carter, president, Sprint 4G. "Sprint is the first national wireless carrier to make 4G a reality for our customers, and now Sprint's 4G is available in 70 markets across the country."
Those markets include coverage in 26 states, the District of Columbia, and several major metropolitan areas, some of which include Los Angeles, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Boston, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and more.
Sprint says its 4G service peaks at more than 10Mb/s compared to up to 3.1Mb/s for 3G, offering downloading speeds at up to 3-6Mp/s versus 600Kb/s-1.4Mb/s.
"Customers can use video chat on their HTC Evo 4G, and families traveling for the holidays can power up the Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot to share 4G speeds with up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices -- such as an iPad, laptop, iPod touch, or game console -- making downloads, streaming video, and Web browsing fast and easy," Sprint said.
Sprint offers a pair of 4G Mobile Broadband plans, including a $50/month 4G-only option and a $60/month 4G/3G combo option. Both plans boast unlimited 4G usage.
Good news for MetroPCS customers living in the Boston, New York City, and Sacramento metropolitan areas, you now have access to the carrier's unlimited, no annual contract 4G LTE services.
"As the only no annual contract, pay-in-advance wireless service provider offering 4G LTE services, we continue to build our network to allow more customers to experience our unparalleled value and flexible, affordable service," said Roger D. Linquist, president, CEO and chairman of MetroPCS. "By offering customers the ability to do more with easy access to their social networks, exclusive MetroSTUDIO content and expanded web browsing capabilities, we are giving our customers what they need – a way to stay connected, without sacrificing time or money."
The caveat? MetroPCS only offers one phone that can take full advantage of its 4G network, the Samsung Craft. The Samsung Craft runs $299 after a $50 mail-in-rebate, while 4G service plans start at $55/month.
Just as Sprint is trying to do, T-Mobile is building a 4G tablet and hopes to have it in the hands of consumers in 2011, Yahoo News reports.
T-Mobile's tablet will actually run on HSPA+, so it's not true 4G, at least not by ITU's definition. But then again, neither is Sprint's WiMax infrastructure.
"Consumers will continue to see HSPA+ fuel future innovation in a variety of mobile consumer electronics from smartphones and tablets to emerging devices," T-Mobile said in a statement. "T-Mobile will continue to be at the forefront of wireless innovation, delivering an aggressive 4G product lineup in 2011, including 4G tablets."
Also like Sprint, T-Mobile is so far keeping secretive about its upcoming tablet, other than support for 4G connectivity. There's no word yet on things like OS, screen size, cost, or a specific release date.
In the wake of the Comcast dispute with Level 3, many have been wondering about the ISP's future bandwidth management plans. Some idea that's been floated often is the idea of usage-based pricing. Users would be charged based on the amount of data they use each month. According to Reuters, Comcast has denied that such a scheme is in the works.
"Right now we have no plan in place to activate usage-based pricing," said Comcast president Neil Smit. The FCC recently announce that ISPs would have some leeway in network management, provided they are transparent about their practices. Comcast currently has a single tier for residential customers with a 250GB data cap.
Comcast maintains almost all users never get near the monthly cap, although some have taken umbrage at having the cap at all. Would you welcome the opportunity to pay for a particular data cap, os is the one size fits all approach best?