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!
LightSquared scrambles amid spectrum issues
LightSquared has reportedly garnered a six-week extension from Sprint Nextel to gain approval for use of its 1.6 GHz spectrum assets from the Federal Communications Commission that are currently tied up in interference issues with the GPS community. The six-week reprieve follows a month-long extension granted by Sprint Nextel that was to allow LightSquared additional time to straighten out its interference issues that have so far prevented it from gaining access to its 1.6 GHz spectrum assets. LightSquared had signed a network and spectrum hosting agreement with Sprint Nextel last year that was reliant on LightSquared gaining access to its spectrum assets. Sprint Nextel touted LightSquared’s spectrum assets as allowing the carrier to extend its traffic capacity from 2014 with its own holdings to 2015 when including the LightSquared spectrum. However, the carrier has since moved closer to its subsidiary Clearwire as a potential home for future spectrum needs. LightSquared held a media conference call earlier this month to again rail against leaks from tests that showed the use of mobile devices on its network would interfere with some GPS systems. … Read more
AT&T shakes up executive lineup
AT&T (T) reconfigured some of its executive positions, a move that followed a fiscally tough fourth quarter highlighted by a failed attempt to acquire rival T-Mobile USA. The telecom giant reported that John Stankey has moved from president and CEO of AT&T’s Business Solutions business to a new position of group president and chief strategy officer. In his new post, Stankey will be “responsible for developing the roadmap to maximize future growth opportunities, including corporate development, addressing long-term wireless-capacity needs, capital allocation strategies and identifying the best strategic paths for low-growth and non-strategic assets.” Current AT&T Mobility head Ralph de la Vega looks to have lost his control over AT&T’s consumer wireline broadband business and will now be focused exclusively on the company’s mobile operations as president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. De la Vega’s previous position as head of AT&T’s consumer wireline broadband business was handed to Andy Geisse, who was named senior EVP of AT&T Business and Home Solutions. In that position Geisse will be responsible for “serving the business segment – from global enterprise customers to small businesses,” and will also lead AT&T’s Home Solutions team that runs the company’s U-verse, broadband and voice services in AT&T’s 22-state local wireline operations. … Read more
Senators ask FCC to address rural call quality issues
Twenty-four US Senators from across the country recently wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it to address the problem of dropped, incomplete and poor quality phone calls to rural America. The senators called “on the FCC to continue investigating the issue, which is preventing a growing number of calls from reaching customers of rural telephone carriers, with complaints having increased a staggering 2000%”. “As you know, representatives for rural carriers have reported a staggering 2000% increase in complaints between April 2010 and March 2011 from consumers who have experienced calls that fail to complete, are delayed, have poor voice quality, lack correct caller ID information, or where the originating carrier simply refuses to place calls to certain rural areas. This problem, commonly referred to as ‘call termination’, ‘dropped calls’, or ‘call completion’, is widespread and has been reported by local exchange companies in 36 states,” the letter, addressed to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, states. The letter argues that despite the growing reliance on high-speed Internet and mobile communications it is important to recognize that many Americans still on their traditional landline phones to engage in commerce, communicate with friends and family, and call for emergency assistance. … Read more
Obama campaign’s embrace of tech includes Square payments
The Obama re-election campaign will outfit its staff in the field with Square, the fast-growing system for collecting payments through Android or iOS mobile devices. Media observers have so far focused on the move as a symbol of Obama’s embrace of tech innovation, but more important may be this: Square makes it fun to give someone money. Founded less than three years ago, more than 1 million merchants now accept payment by Square, at a rate of $11 million every day. People marvel at the attractive little plastic card readers, which plug into the headphone ports of phones and tablets. After the first time you’ve paid with a Square, whether that’s with a taxi driver, a craftsperson or an independent provider of some other service – then the system has your email on record and the process is even more free of friction. Square’s CEO, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is said by some to be the heir to the design throne of Steve Jobs. … Read more
Samsung gains ground in the smartphone race
Samsung Electronics was neck-and-neck with Apple in the fourth quarter race for first place in the white-hot smartphone market. Estimates based on Samsung’s fourth quarter earnings report put the company’s smartphone sales at 36.1 million, just below Apple’s 37 million reported earlier this week. Samsung said sales of mobile phones increased “about 30%” in the fourth quarter. (Based on Reuters’ estimate of 27.8 million Samsung smartphones sold in the third quarter, fourth quarter smartphone sales would be 36.1 million units, but the company did not give a specific number.) For all of 2011, Samsung says sales were $146.5 billion, making it the biggest company in Korea by a wide margin. Operating profit was $14.4 billion, down slightly from 2010 due primarily to a higher cost of goods sold in 2011. Samsung also captured the number one spot in smartphone sales for 2011 as a whole. “Samsung advanced in 2011 because of its strategy of offering a complete line of smartphone products, spanning a variety of price points, features and operating systems,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS iSuppli. “This enabled Samsung to move past perennial market leader Nokia and to slightly exceed Apple’s total for the year.” … Read more
Nokia positions Lumia as lower-cost smartphone
The world’s largest mobile phone maker put an end today to weeks of speculation today about sales of its Lumia smartphones, and what those sales would mean to its financial results. Nokia Corporation (NYSE: NOK) lost $1.4 billion during the fourth quarter, and the struggling Finnish company says it has sold “more than a million” of the Windows-based Lumia smartphones to date. That number pales in comparison to the 37 million iPhones that Apple sold in its fourth quarter, but Lumia has only been on the market for a few months. “iPhone sold just 2 million units during its first year, and you saw the same sort of thing for Android phones,” says analyst John Feland of Argus Insights.” Feland likes Nokia’s strategy of positioning its Lumia 710 (the lowest-end model) with T-Mobile, which markets the phone as a lower cost alternative for the estimated 60% of Americans who have not yet upgraded from feature phones to smartphones. Nokia has dominated the feature phone market for years, so a transition to a Nokia smartphone could be a natural progression for many consumers. But those attractive sales prices of course put pressure on Nokia’s operating margins. “They are under some pressure on the profitability side of their handsets. Average selling price has been drifting down the past couple quarters,” says Wayne Lam, senior analyst at IHS iSuppli. … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.