Items tagged with 3G

AT&T caused a bit of an uproar yesterday when it was revealed that customers were receiving emails from the 2nd place U.S. wireless carrier proclaiming that it would “soon be upgrading our network”. The email went on to describe how the customer’s current smartphone “is not compatible with the network and you need to replace it to continue receiving service”. What made the email so alarming is that given the way it was worded, customers were led to believe that this was action that they would need to take in the short-term in order to avoid service disruptions. In reality, AT&T was actually being more than a bit disingenuous with its email, considering... Read more...
It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, and after Sprint announced a new "All In" unlimited plan that would restrict streaming video to 600Kbps, customers collectively made a squeak that Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure heard "loud and clear." As a result, Sprint has backpedaled on its streaming video cap and announced that it's removed it altogether. "At Sprint, we strive to provide customers a great experience when using our network," said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. "We heard you loud and clear, and we are removing the 600 kbps limitation on streaming video." That's a win for consumers, though Claure left the door open to throttling speeds. "During certain times, like other wireless carriers,... Read more...
Sprint is bringing out the big guns to promote its new All-In “unlimited” calling, texting, and data plans. The third-player U.S. wireless carrier has brought out none other than David Beckham to pitch All-In, but there are a lot of “gotchas” that you must take into consideration before you start jumping up and down for joy. For starters, at $80 per month with an included smartphone lease, All-In is actually $10 a month more expensive for iPhone users that were on Sprint’s old iPhone for Life program. But by upping unlimited plan pricing $10 (CEO Marcelo Claure is a man of his word), Sprint is hoping that it will garner more attention from potential customers by expanding the number of handsets... Read more...
This week, Broadcom announced that it would exit the LTE modem market and shut down its LTE research division. The move comes less than a year after Broadcom bought Renesas' (formerly known as NEC) LTE modem -- and that purchase was supposed to give Broadcom a leg up in modem design after its own in-house LTE product had failed to ship. With Broadcom gone, Qualcomm is, for all intents and purposes, the Emperor of LTE mountain. The market shift has happened quickly -- look at where revenue share sat in 2009, when 4G was still on the horizon and 3G modems were the norm.   Qualcomm is still the leading provider, no question, but ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, MediaTek, and Infineon all have... Read more...
Intel has announced a new partnership with mobile SoC developer Rockchip, with plans to bring new Android products to China beginning in the first half of 2015. The partnership will use Intel's SoFIA platform with an integrated 3G radio and Atom processor initially, though Intel does plan to deliver a follow-up version of that platform with LTE connectivity later next year. The idea behind the partnership, according to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, is to leverage Rockchip's market penetration and channel sales and combine them with Intel's own CPU technology. When asked, Krzanich indicated that Rockchip would provide certain supplementary technology, possibly including the GPU, and said that Intel... Read more...
Securing patents is an important part of doing business in today's corporate world. Lenovo understands this, hence why it just agreed to purchase a portfolio of mobile technology patents from Unwired Planet for $100 million dollars in cash, the two companies announced. The deal also gives Lenovo a term-based license to Unwired Planet's patent portfolio. In total, Lenovo gains access to 21 patent families owned by Unwired Planet, the most important of which are for certain 3G and LTE mobile technologies. "This investment is an extension of Lenovo's existing intellectual property portfolio," said Jay Clemens, General Counsel of Lenovo. "It will serve the company well as we grow and develop our... Read more...
Technology development company MagnaCom thinks it has a new wireless approach that could revolutionize wireless communication. That's the bottom-line takeaway from the company's presentation (in-person demonstrations will be given at CES in January). With a sheaf of freshly minted patents and an impressive pitch, MagnaCom is claiming that its use of WAve Modulation (WAM) instead of the current QAM (Quadrature Modulation) will provide the bandwidth next-generation content networks desperately need. WAM vs. QAM To understand what MagnaCom is claiming, we need to first talk about the current system. All existing cellular technology is based on QAM. In QAM, data streams are amplitude modulated --... Read more...
Google has enjoyed plenty of success with its Nexus 7 tablet. Now, it appears the company is looking to expand its tablet offerings with the addition of a 3G model that could launch in approximately six weeks. According to reports on the Web, Google and Asus are already in the process of building a 3G-enabled version of the Nexus 7. The report claims Asus is ramping up manufacturing in preparation for a launch in about six weeks, which would indicate a mid-October release. At this point, it appears the Nexus 7 with 3G connectivity would have the same specs as the original version of the tablet with the addition of the cellular radio. When or if, Asus and Google are planning a 4G LTE-equipped... Read more...
Most phone carriers these days are doing everything they can to hop off the unlimited data bandwagon. Both AT&T and Verizon have rolled out penalties for refusing to upgrade to their new shared plans; AT&T won't let you use FaceTime unless you've got a shared data plan, while Verizon is forcing customers to switch over if they want to keep their discounted phone upgrades. Now here comes T-Mobile -- moving in exactly the opposite direction. Starting next month, T-Mobile will offer Unlimited data plans, as opposed to Unlimited* data plans. The asterisk denotes the invisible limitations on these services. In T-Mobile's case, the existing restrictions are actually pretty good -- the company... Read more...
Six weeks ago, Verizon launched its new "Share Everything" data plans, declaring that everyone would henceforth use these plans or be banned from upgrading their phones at a discount, and unveiled a suite of options that range from $50 for 1GB to $100 for 10GB (not counting per-device fees). Unlimited talk and text is now baked into the per-device base fee, which means that users with minimal data needs could actually benefit from a swap. Now, the company has admitted that its usage plans stretch higher, though these plans are usually offered on customer support lines or in the event of overages. Verizon will sell you 12GB of data for $110, 14GB for $120, 16GB for $130, 18GB for $140, and 20GB... Read more...
It's been quite awhile since anyone had much good to say to say about RIM's chances of surviving the next 12 months as an independent company, but a new interview with CEO Thorsten Heins has me hopeful. Unlike Heins' widely-publicized op/ed in the Globe and Mail a week ago, in which he sounded like a beleagured ship captain reasurring everyone that no, we haven't struck an iceberg, here he comes off as well-grounded. More importantly, he offers the best, most-concise explanation for RIM's current situation that anyone in the company has had to date. Where RIM Went Wrong The problem is actually quite simple. Back in 2007-2009, RIM was busy selling like gangbusters in the US and had focused most... Read more...
A joint study between Microsoft Research and Purdue University has taken a look at how smartphone applications handle power consumption and come to some damning conclusions where energy efficiency is concerned. This is an issue that's become more important as smartphone specs have skyrocketed without a similar increase in battery life. The paper only considers devices running Android and Windows Mobile, but this isn't a problem that's unique to that platform; Apple's iPhone 4S suffered from battery life issues for months after release, while the new iPad is ~10% heavier than the old thanks to the need for a heavier battery to power the device's screen. The new iPad's battery holds 67% more power... Read more...
Sprint announced a new USB modem called the Sprint 3G/4G Plug-in Connect USB that features a compact design and provides access to Sprint’s 3G and 4G networks in one click. The modem requires no software installation and you won’t have to wait for an application to load to use the connection; the Sprint 3G/4G Plug-in Connect USB works just like an Ethernet cable. The Sprint 3G/4G Plug-in Connect USB is available for free with a contract and after a rebate. Customers can also opt to purchase the modem and use a pay-as-you-go plan. Day, week, and monthly passes are available. Sprint 3G/4G Plug-in-Connect USB Available to Sprint Customers March 11 Available beginning March 11, Sprint... Read more...
Several months ago, AT&T notified customers that it would begin throttling network speeds for users who exceeded a certain threshold, with the definitive throttle point defined as an imprecise "the top 5% of mobile data users." The company has issued a statement clarifying this policy after irate customers with unlimited data plans demanded to know what the cap was and how the company determined who should and shouldn't be throttled. The magic number is 3GB, which conveniently happens to be the maximum amount of tiered bandwidth AT&T will sell you. "Our unlimited plan customers have told us they want more clarity around how the program works and what they can expect," AT&T said. "For... Read more...
For as long as WiFi hotspots have been around, you’d think they would have run their course by now. Instead, they’re shaping up to be the next big thing in mobile wireless. Wireless carriers have been using WiFi deployments to offload data usage from their 3G and 4G networks when customers are in range, and there are plenty of developments emerging to make that process work better with stronger security and less interference to the user experience. The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) announced that its latest effort to that end, Next Generation Hotspots (NGH), has enjoyed successful trials with carriers including AT&T, BT, China Mobile, DOCOMO InterTouch, NTT DOCOMO, Orange,... Read more...
It’s no secret that cell carriers are constantly fighting to keep up with the increasing data demands on their networks, and with projections indicating that mobile data usage will continue to skyrocket over the next few years, providers need to offload any workloads they can. Bumping network activity from cellular networks to available WiFi is a primary way to do that, but Alcatel-Lucent is taking it a step further with its lightRadio WiFi architecture. lightRadio smooths the handoff between a 3G or 4G network and WiFi and allows carriers to incorporate WiFi as part of their service offerings. The transition is automatic and requires no action by the user. The company describes the methods... Read more...
Upstart wireless service provider Republic Wireless is upping the ante in the market. The company announced in a blog post that it will offer unlimited service to all users for just $19 per month. Republic Wireless--which is still in beta--earlier offered the flat $19 per month plan, but its limits were bound up in a confusing thing that the company called the Cellular Usage Index (CUI). Now, after much discussion (and presumably, a lot of customer blowback), Republic Wireless has decided to essentially say “screw it” and go with the unlimited option. The wireless industry isn’t exactly an easy market in which to compete, especially without a running start, but Republic Wireless... Read more...
The AT&T - T-Mobile merger may be off the table, but T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom is walking away from the deal with a smile on its face. The communications giant released the details of what AT&T agreed to pay for the privilege of bidding on its business, and it's an impressive set of benefits. AT&T's $3B (approximately €2.29B) payment will reportedly be used to pay down DT's debts in other areas. What T-Mobile is getting is a large package of AWS spectrum in 128 market areas, including 12 of the top 20 ((Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Baltimore and Seattle). As a result, DT's population coverage... Read more...
Last Friday, AT&T gave notice that it would henceforth take steps to block unauthorized tethering. For those who aren't familiar with the term, "tethering" is the practice of using a cell phone's data link to provide wireless service to a desktop or laptop. Now, Verizon is evidently following suit. Customers who have previously had no trouble using tethering on jailbroken devices are reportedly being redirected to Verizon's advertising page for tethered data plans. AT&T and Verizon have both justified their moves by noting that they don't prevent customers from tethering--they simply charge for the privilege. Verizon, however, has come under particular scrutiny thanks to a clause in the... Read more...
Nvidia announced today that it's acquiring the fabless semiconductor design firm Icera. The UK-based company specializes in soft modem chipsets for a variety of devices, including laptops, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones. The two companies have a history of cooperation; Icera announced Tegra-compatible wireless chipsets back in 2009. Nvidia's Phil Carmack writes: "This is a significant step forward in NVIDIA’s strategy to be the processor company for the post-PC era... Icera’s baseband and RF technologies span 2G, 3G and 4G networks... Icera’s programmable baseband processor architecture will allow NVIDIA and its OEM customers to innovate and adapt signaling algorithms in... Read more...
One of the persistent criticisms of the Motorola Atrix and HTC Inspire is that the devices don't deliver anything like the wireless speeds AT&T claims they're capable of. AT&T has been coyly playing cat and mouse over the question of whether or not its phones consistently deliver "4G" speeds but has finally admitted that it had capped the phones' upload speeds. An April update to remove the limitation is currently in the works. One of the major problems of communicating such differences and limitations is that there's no industry-standard definition on what 4G is (or isn't).  Service providers are allowed to use the "4G" designation provided that the next-generation service offers... Read more...
Bug Labs sells open source hardware modules that lets you build just about any kind of gadget you can imagine. Last week the New York startup got a big helping hand from (who-would-believe-it?) Verizon. At the same time, it finally got the full OK to sell its wireless modules in Europe. Verizon Wireless announced plans to partner with Bug Labs as part of the Verizon Wireless' Open Development Initiative (ODI). ODI-approved devices have access to the Verizon network so developers can test their 3G functionality. Verizon requires many hoops to be jumped through before it gives a device the ODI stamp of approval. Fees for independent testing houses to certify a device can run tens of thousands.... Read more...
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