The two largest wireless providers in the US, Verizon and AT&T, are not cool with the FCC’s new push for Network Neutrality. On Monday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski gave a speech outlining plans to create a set of binding Net Neutrality rules that would extend to the wireless industry. AT&T claimed regulation was not needed saying, "AT&T has long supported the principle of an open Internet and has conducted its business accordingly."
The companies also argue that wireless service is a different animal, and Net Neutrality practices may not be feasible. "On a wireline broadband network, you know where your customer is," said Verizon VP of Regulatory Affairs. "So you can build capacity to handle the peak demands. But on a wireless network, you have a crowd converge on a site that suddenly has 10 times or 100 times the users competing for the same resources."
AT&T and Verizon both pointed out that they were behind the FCC initiative for wired broadband, just not for their wireless networks. Verizon also called attention to their policy to allow any compatible, certified device to use its 3G network. Consumer advocates say that there are multiple non-neutral practices taking place on wireless broadband networks to be dealt with. VoIP applications, like Skype, often find themselves barred from operating on cellular 3G networks. With the FCC already investigating competition in the wireless industry, this may lead to still more hearings. Should Net Neutrality extend to cellular data networks? Let us know in the comments.
Microsoft is approaching the October 6 launch of its Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system with renewed vigor, even though it is only the first, more humble course of a two-course meal, of which Windows Mobile 7 is the concluding course. With Windows Mobile 6.5, it hopes to change the current perception of WinMo phones and replace it with a nattier, bonnier picture.
With this announcement, MetroPCS has stolen a march on Verizon, as the latter plans to offer such a LTE handset only in 2011, although it too plans to launch its LTE service in 2010.
“As the Internet goes ‘mobile’ we are excited to be at the forefront of this wireless evolution with the building out of our 4G broadband data services. We anticipate to begin offering our 4G LTE services and a dual-mode LTE/CDMA smartphone in our major metropolitan markets in late 2010,” said Roger D. Linquist, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of MetroPCS.
A federal court in Northern California had ordered a cybersquatter, OnlineNIC, to pay $33.15 million in damages to Verizon in December, 2008. The award was made in a default judgment after OnlineNIC employees eluded all attempts to summon them to court. OnlineNIC had registered more than 600 domains that contained Verizon's name and trademarks. It earned money through ads hosted on these domains, which appeared to be associated with Verizon.
The cybersquatter finally appeared before the court in February 2009. It filed a motion to set aside the default judgment. The burden of OnlineNIC’s argument was that the damages awarded by the court gave an exaggerated account of the harm its activities had caused to Verizon. It claimed to have only earned a trivial sum of $1,468.60 in profit from the 663 Verizon-related domains at issue. On August 25, the court upheld the default order while dismissing OnlineNIC’s arguments.
"OnlineNIC's reference to its alleged profit fails to take any account of the damages suffered by Verizon in the form of a likelihood of confusion surrounding Verizon's marks and the diversion of internet traffic to websites selling rival products," Judge Jeremy Fogel wrote in his verdict, making it clear that harm caused to Verizon should not be confused with OnlineNIC’s profit.
Drawing ever closer to their goal of having a nationwide Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G wireless network, Verizon completed their first LTE calls in Boston and Seattle earlier this month.
The calls consisted of small talk, streaming video, file uploads and downloads, as well as some Internet browsing. According to Tony Melone, Verizon’s senior vice president and chief technology officer, “Verizon Wireless, with outstanding cooperation from our partner suppliers, is fully committed to harnessing the power of LTE over our 700MHz spectrum. This combination of state-of-the art technology and prime spectrum will soon make a ubiquitous, highly mobile, super-fast broadband experience a reality for customers. This significant milestone in our LTE 4G network testing, exemplified by the first data calls in Boston and Seattle, further validates our early support and decision to select LTE as the standard for our next-generation wireless broadband network.”
Verizon hopes to extend their LTE 4G network to 30 more markets in 2010, which they claim will cover 100 million people. This would be the last major milestone before their nationwide network, set to appear in 2013.
Verizon on Monday said it plans to cut more than 8,000 employee and contractor jobs before the end of the year in the wireline business, which it hopes will speed up efforts to keep costs in line, according to chief financial officer John Killian. But unlike in recent years, the company has no plans of offsetting the wireline layoffs with hiring in its wireless business.
"We probably will not have large-scale hiring until we're out of the recession," said Denny Strigl, Verizon's Chief Operating Officer.
The news comes after the nation's largest wireless carrier reported a 21 percent drop in second-quarter profit, although the company's earnings did creep slightly higher than Wall Street expectations. Verizon earned $1.48 billion, or 52 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30, down from $1.88 billion, or 66 cents per share, a year ago.
Revenue rose 11 percent to $26.86 billion from $24.1 billion a year ago, which is what Wall Street had expected. Much of that increase can be attributed to the purchase of Alltel in January, otherwise revenue would have only increased 1.9 percent.
So here's the deal: You don't want 101Mpbs broadband. And because you don't demand ultra high-speed internet, you're not the least bit impressed with Cablevision's recently announced Optimum Online Ultra, which will offer Long Island, New York residents uncapped 101Mpbs starting May 11 for $99 per month. Heck, if you cared at all about such high speeds, Verizon would have been offering a similar package two years ago, but you just don't.
Don't agree? Tell it to Eric Rabe, senior VP of Media Relations for Verizon, who posted a blog downplaying Cablevision's high-speed announcement. Rabe had some interesting things to say, essentially calling the service a sham.
"With today's technology, you don't have to break much of a sweat to deliver 100Mbps to a few customers," Rabe wrote. "But given the inherent limits of the cable platform, a cluster of bandwidth junkies living near each other could be a real problem. One estimate is that a single 101Mpbs customer would use some 60 perent of the capacity in a neighborhood. Other users? Outta luck."
Rabe went on to ask "How many customers have been storming the castle, asking for 101 megabits per second bandwidth?" Considering the lack of demand and scope, Rabe called Cablevision's announcement a "parlor trick."
And why stop at 100Mpbs? Rabe points out that Verizon's FiOS network has the capacity to deliver 400Mbps to a single home, along with the muscle to carry the load. It also has "plenty of room for more" upstream bandwidth than the 20Mbps it currently offers.
Citing people familiar with the situation, USA Today claims Verizon and Apple are at least talking about developing an iPhone for Verizon. If that were to happen, it would be the first time Apple has produced an iPhone for a CDMA wireless network, and come as a blow to AT&T, who has exclusive U.S. distribution rights until sometime in 2010.
"Breaking the iPhone exclusivity with AT*T is a huge thing," says Roger Entner, head of telecom research for Nielsen. "That would send shivers into AT&T's stock and senior leadership."
AT&T's iPhone deal has proved to be a lucrative one, as evidenced last week when the telco posted impressive wireless numbers. According to AT&T, it has signed up 1.6 million iPhone customers during the quarter, with 40 percent of them beng new to AT&T. It's mobile revenue was also up 40 percent.
AT&T would still boast the faster network if Verizon started selling iPhones, but Verizon's aggressive ad campaign, combined with the iPhone's immense popularity, would likely be a recipe for success, even if a bitter one for AT&T.
Motion Computing may not have went entirely back to the drawing board, but it did offer some groovy updates to its rugged C5 and F5 tablet PCs. Motion also said its making its redesigned PCs available for use on the Verizon Wireless mobile broadband network.
"Motion Computing is recognized for solutions that improve productivity for highly mobile users by creating devices that are designed to work the way the users do," said Anthony A. Lewis, vice president of open development at Verizon Wireless. "Now with anytime access to the Verizon Wireless network, Motion tablet users, from hospitals to construction sites, can be more productive when away from the office."
The redesigned specs of the two tablets now include 801.11a/g/n, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a 64GB solid state drive (SSD), and longer battery life. Motion has also made available an external battery charger. Full specs for the C5 and F5 can be found here and here, respectively.
Both tablets are available now with the C5 starting at around $2,200 and the F5 at $2,800.
Who isn't either making or selling netbooks these days? Verizon, for one, but not for long. According to CNet, the telco has confirmed reports that it will enter the netbook market in June of this year by selling 3G enabled netbooks in its corporate stores.
That netbook will likely be the HP Mini 1000, as evidenced by a leaked shot of a Verizon approved device and price list on BoyGeniusReport.com. No pricing details have yet been released, however early speculation suggests it may sell for as low as $99 with a two-year service agreement.
If true, things could get very interesting between Verizon and rival AT&T. AT&T already sells Acer netbooks for $99 with service agreement through RadioShack, while also selling Dell Mini Inspirons through the the telco's website.