Sprint's Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse wished long and hard for an opportunity to carry Apple's iPhone, but what he and his company never considered was the old adage that says 'Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it and then you're stuck with high iPhone subsidies.' We added that last part, but to be fair, does it matter? Sprint, like Verizon, was hellbent on carrying the iPhone, and now it's seeing the cost of that decision.
It was up to AT&T to convince U.S. regulators that its proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile was in the best interest of the public. Plain and simple, "the applicants failed" to do that, the Federal Communications Commission found. Among the list of concerns in the FCC's 109-page report is that the merger would ultimately result in heavy job losses.
As far as multi-billion acquisitions go, Microsoft's bid to takeover Skype was, for the most part, nothing but smooth sailing. It took U.S. regulators all of about 2 seconds to approve the $8.5 billion merger, while the European Union took a little longer deciding whether or not to give its stamp of approval, which it did. With all the paperwork in place, Microsoft closed the deal with Skype on Thursday after originally announcing the transaction on May 10, 2011.
AT&T over the weekend announced plans to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion in a deal that could be met with several regulatory hurdles. While the powers that be sort through the red tape, T-Mobile put together a list of frequently asked questions, including the one that's on every T-Mobile subscriber's mind: Will T-Mobile be getting an iPhone? Find out the answer to this and other FAQs after the jump.
Life is good in the international communications industry--if you're Skype, that is. And everyone else? Not so much, according to data by research firm TeleGeography.
TeleGeography says that international telephone traffic has slowed way down, halting a trend that's been in place for a quarter of a century. In the past 25 years, international call volume from telephones enjoyed a compounded annual growth rate of 15 percent. And while traffic is still on the rise, it's slowed to just 8 percent, growing from 376 billion minutes in 2008 to about 406 billion minutes in 2009.
"Demand for international voice has been remarkably robust, but it's clearly not recession-proof," said TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert.
Meanwhile, Skype's international traffic is booming and remains ahead of the curve, having jumped 51 percent in 2008 and is projected to grow 63 percent in 2009, to 54 billion minutes, TeleGeography said.
"The volume of traffic routed via Skype is tremendous," Beckert added. "Skype is now the largest provider of cross-border communications in the world, by far."
The FCC recently requested comment on transitioning to a fully IP-based phone network to replace landlines. Apparently AT&T’s ears perked up upon hearing that. Good ol’ Ma Bell submitted a 32 page position to the FCC in support of the changeover. They requested the FCC eliminate the rules that require carriers to provide landline service and decide on a date to phase out the technology.
According to AT&T, the landline business is on a steep decline and is expensive for AT&T and other carriers to run. Between 2000 and 2008 the use of long distance minutes on landlines fell 42 percent. Revenues also fell 27 percent. Perhaps the best indicator that it’s time for a change is that less than one in five homes rely exclusively on landlines. AT&T asked for regulatory changes that would allow them to transition away from copper lines. Ma Bell also hinted that telecom regulations ought to be handled by the federal government and not states. While this may very well be the time to begin transitioning to new technology, AT&T provided no suggestions on how to serve those 20 percent of people that rely on landlines.
Do you think we’re ready to move away from the old, reliable copper phone line?
The broadband infrastructure of the United States is a little on the poor side when compared to some other nations. According to a new FCC report, the best way to fix that is to open up broadband access and increase competition. The FCC hasn’t considered requiring open access to broadband facilities since 2002. The principal of ‘open access’ says telecoms, like cable companies, should allow access to their physical infrastructure for competing businesses that don’t own infrastructure. Telephone carriers (i.e. DSL) are required to do this, cable providers are not.
The study was quoted as saying, “The lowest prices and highest speeds are almost always offered by firms in markets where, in addition to an incumbent telephone company and a cable company, there are also competitors who entered the market, and built their presence, through use of open access facilities.” The US is also expected to use stimulus finds to increase access to broadband.
The 232-page report estimates that building out the US infrastructure would cost at least $20 billion, and as much as $350 billion. The wide disparity in cost is the result of uncertainty as to what speed should be offered. The report says one-third of Americans have broadband access at home but do not subscribe, and 4% have no access at all.