Tag Archive: At and T



Chipmaker Intel Corp said on Thursday that it was updating 5G equipment that will allow telecom companies like AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc to run trials based on standards to be released later this year.

A 5G network is expected to offer faster speeds, more capacity and shorter response times while supporting uses ranging from self-driving cars to remote surgeries. Telecom companies and their suppliers consider it to be a multibillion-dollar revenue opportunity.

Intel has five 5G trials with global service providers and 15 more in the pipeline, Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich said on a post-earnings conference call in July.

One such trial, with wireless carrier AT&T, involves a 5G broadband service that could be introduced as soon as late 2018.

Intel’s mobile trial equipment, which looks like a large box, handles the processing needs for a 5G connection. The updated version, slated for the fourth quarter, will support new 5G standards that the Third Generation Partnership Project, a telecom group known as 3GPP, is expected to release in late 2017.

As a result, the new platform will allow Intel’s partners to “really see what works and what doesn’t,” Rob Topol, general manager of 5G business and technology, said in an interview.

Intel participated in 3GPP’s working groups to develop the 5G standards, Topol said. 3GPP also developed current mobile phone standards for 4G LTE.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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Comcast plans to launch a cellphone service roughly in the middle of next year, although it would be limited to areas of the country where it’s a cable provider.

That could potentially offer real competition to carriers like Verizon and AT&T for a subset of the country. Comcast has just over 28 million customers.

The cable giant plans to create a service that would run on its 15 million Wi-Fi hotspots and use Verizon’s wireless network, which it has a deal to resell.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts confirmed the company’s plans at an investment conference Tuesday in New York.

He suggested that Comcast was looking at the mobile service as an add-on to customer bundles, and combining wireless service with Comcast cable or internet would likely make customers stick with Comcast longer.

The company has long looked at mobile service as another potential way to grow its business. Consumers are increasingly watching video on their phones.

Adding wireless service on to a cable bill could also mean some savings for Comcast customers.

“If Comcast is to make this a compelling offer, especially given their lack of history in wireless, they’re going to have to offer some steep discounts in their bundles,” telecom analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research said in an email.

Comcast spokeswoman Jenn Khoury declined to answer questions about the mobile service’s pricing and whether people who didn’t subscribe to Comcast cable or internet could sign up for it.

Several attempts by big cable companies to offer wireless service have foundered, like the Wi-Fi-only phone launched by New York-area cable company Cablevision in early 2015 (Cablevision is now owned by European telecom Altice). Cox Communications, one of the biggest cable companies, pulled the plug on its short-lived mobile phone service in 2011, saying it didn’t have the heft necessary to compete, including the ability to sell certain popular smartphones.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Samsung will sell unlocked versions of its flagship Galaxy S7 phones in the US so consumers can switch carriers more easily.

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Although two-year service contracts are now rare, consumers are instead stuck with two-year installment plans and cannot take a phone to a rival until it’s paid off.

Unlocked phones have no such restrictions. They are also free of carrier-specific apps for messaging, video and other tasks, though Samsung still adds several beyond the standard version of Android from Google.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 will sell for $670 (roughly Rs. 45,000), and a model with a curved side screen called Edge will go for $770 (roughly Rs. 52,000). The prices are cheaper than Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, though more expensive than Sprint. You pay the phone’s full price rather than monthly installments.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission have asked mobile phone carriers and manufacturers to explain how they release security updates amid mounting concerns over security vulnerabilities, the US agencies said on Monday.

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The agencies have written to Apple Inc, AT&T Inc and Alphabet Inc, among others, in order “to better understand, and ultimately to improve, the security of mobile devices,” the FCC said.

The FCC sent letters to six mobile phone carriers on security issues, while the FTC ordered eight mobile device manufacturers including BlackBerry Ltd, Microsoft Corp, LG Electronics USA Inc and Samsung Electronics America Inc to disclose “the factors that they consider in deciding whether to patch a vulnerability on a particular mobile device.”

The FTC also seeks “detailed data on the specific mobile devices they have offered for sale to consumers since August 2013” and “the vulnerabilities that have affected those devices; and whether and when the company patched such vulnerabilities.”

The agencies are opening the inquiry about how mobile carriers and manufacturers handle security updates for mobile devices because consumers and businesses are conducting a growing amount of daily activities on mobile devices and new questions have been raised about how the security of mobile communications.

The “safety of their communications and other personal information is directly related to the security of the devices they use,” the FCC said. “There have recently been a growing number of vulnerabilities associated with mobile operating systems that threaten the security and integrity of a user’s device.”

The FCC said it sent letters to mobile carriers including AT&T, Verizon Communications Inc, Sprint Corp, US Cellular Corp, Tracfone Wireless, which is owned by America Movil SAB, and T-Mobile US, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom, “asking questions about their processes for reviewing and releasing security updates for mobile devices.”

The companies must respond to the FCC and FTC questions within 45 days.

There were more than 355 million US mobile wireless devices in use in 2014, the FCC said in a December report. The agency said that number had risen to 382 million by mid-2015, citing company disclosures.

The FCC noted that a vulnerability called “Stagefright” in the Android operating system could affect almost 1 billion Android devices globally. Reuters reported in August that Google and Samsung planned to release monthly security fixes for Android phones.

The change came after security researcher Joshua Drake found a vulnerability that could allow attackers to send a special multimedia message to an Android phone and access sensitive content even if the message is unopened.

Google did not immediately comment on Monday. Apple declined to comment.

Consumers may be left unprotected, potentially indefinitely, by any delays in patching vulnerabilities, the FCC said.

John Marinho, vice president for cybersecurity at CTIA, a wireless trade group, said in a statement that “customers’ security remains a top priority for wireless companies, and there is a very strong partnership among carriers.”

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


AT&T will no longer offer discounted phones with two-year contracts starting Jan. 8. Before you rush out to beat the deadline, consider that you might be better off paying full price for the phone.

That’s because phone companies also reduce the monthly bill for voice, text and data services when you buy your own phone or bring a used one. Some may pay a bit more, some a bit less, but the overall bill is roughly the same. What you get in return is more flexibility in which phone you buy and how long you stay with the carrier.

AT&T’s decision comes as no surprise. In the third quarter, only 1 in 5 customers chose a contract plan when they signed up with AT&T or upgraded their phones. T-Mobile broke away from contracts completely nearly three years ago, and Verizon stopped offering contracts to new customers in August. Sprint also has been weighing dropping contracts completely.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure told The Associated Press in September that discounted, contract phones – including his company’s – amount to “a gimmick, a trick. You tell people I’m going to give you a free phone, but really the customer pays in a more expensive service plan.”

Indeed, phone discounts mask the true costs of phones and phone services.

Here’s an explanation of the changes:

What are my options now?
Most people now buy and pay for phones in monthly installments, though you can also pay the full price upfront. You can also bring a used device, such as one from a friend or family member who has upgraded to a newer model. Sprint and T-Mobile also have leasing options – you pay less each month, but you don’t get to keep or resell the device in the end.

Will i pay more?
Not necessarily so, even though you now have to pay the full price for a phone.

When you got a discounted phone under contract, you were already paying the balance in the form of fees. For instance, the full cost of an iPhone 6s is $650. Although you pay just $200 at the contract rate, the phone company passes along the remaining $450 in higher monthly fees for voice, text and data. Over two years, the $450 comes to $18.75 a month. Put another way, your phone company is subsidizing your phone by $18.75 a month and tacking that on to the phone bill for voice, text and data.

If you forgo the contract, your monthly bill for voice, text and data is typically reduced by $15 or $25 a month. The $25 discount applies for higher data plans – usually ones you share with family members. In such cases, you’re actually better off buying the phone yourself, as you’re getting a $25 bill reduction but giving up only $18.75 in subsidies.

If your discount is only $15, and you’re giving up $18.75 in subsidies, then technically your bill is going up slightly. What you get instead is flexibility.

What do you mean by flexibility?
Because phone companies were subsidizing phones, there was an incentive to get the most expensive model, even if you didn’t need that. These days, there are many mid-range Android phones that do what high-end phones did just a few years ago. If you choose one of those models, you keep the savings. That’s also the case if you get a friend or relative’s old phone. You no longer feel that you’re losing out by not claiming the most expensive phone in a contract renewal.

And if your phone lasts longer than two years, there’s no longer the pressure to upgrade just to claim the phone subsidies. You simply pocket the savings.

More important, you’re no longer tied to two-year contracts.

Does this mean i can switch whenever i like?
Yes and no.

If you buy a phone under an installment plan, you’re still stuck with the phone company until you pay off the phone. That said, rival companies often have promotions to pay off the balance for you. And if you pay the full cost of the phone upfront, you own the phone and can switch whenever you like. Just be aware that certain phones work on limited number of networks, so it’s still not total freedom.

What if rates increase once i pay full price for a phone?
Phone rates can go up at any time, but that historically hasn’t happened because of stiff competition. In fact, phone companies have been offering more data for the same prices, an effective price cut.

And if your phone company does increase the rates, just go to another. Again, rivals typically offer promotions to switch. You can always take your phone number with you as long as you sign up with the new company before cancelling.

Can i still get a subsidized phone?
Sprint still offers contract plans, though they aren’t emphasized and they may disappear any day. Verizon offers contracts only to existing customers who renew. At AT&T, contracts will be offered only under certain business plans.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


When T-Mobile launched a new feature last month that let customers stream unlimited Netflix, HBO and Hulu over their data plans, there was a notable partner missing: YouTube.

Now, YouTube is accusing T-Mobile of degrading the quality of its videos, as well as those of other providers. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a YouTube official said T-Mobile is “throttling all video services” in what could amount to a violation of the government’s net neutrality rules.

YouTube’s complaint marks one of the first public objections by a major Internet company to T-Mobile’s program, known as Binge On. And it will likely draw further attention from regulators in Washington.

T-Mobile’s Binge On exempts specific online video channels from consumers’ data caps. As a result, subscribers who use the feature can watch as much Netflix as they want without fear of hitting their monthly data limit.

But there is also a catch. T-Mobile automatically enables Binge On for all customers with a 3 GB data plan or greater, whether they like it or not. At the same time, videos for consumers who don’t opt out of Binge On may get artificially downsampled to 480p – a lower quality than what they might otherwise get. This process makes streaming video more efficient, T-Mobile has said, and it is applied to all video content that people consume through Binge On, not just the special apps that enjoy the data-cap exemption under the program.

T-Mobile’s marketing claims that its video quality policy, as applied to non-Binge On partners like YouTube, still allows consumers to stretch their data plans three times as far. And it says Binge On streams video at 480p “or better,” hypothetically leaving open the possibility of higher-quality streams.

But by subjecting YouTube to that policy, and by requiring consumers to opt out rather than opt in to Binge On, T-Mobile risks running afoul of rules aimed at preventing discrimination online, activists say.

“Degrading video quality this way violates the FCC’s no-throttling part of the net neutrality rule, which forbids reducing the quality of an application or an entire class of applications,” wrote Marvin Ammori, a net neutrality lawyer, earlier this month in Slate.

The fact that even T-Mobile’s unlimited data customers also appear to be affected by Binge On’s lowered video quality (even though their unlimited plans largely preclude the need for degradation) is also worrisome, others say.

“T-Mobile’s new ‘streaming optimization’ program appears to involve throttling of all video traffic, across all data plans, regardless of network congestion,” said the Internet Association, a Washington trade group representing businesses such as Google, Netflix and Uber.

Officials from the Federal Communications Commission sent letters to T-Mobile this month, along with AT&T and Comcast, asking the companies to meet to explain their policies in greater detail. Those meetings are expected to happen early next year.

T-Mobile said Wednesday that it is working to expand its list of Binge On partner services, but declined to comment on YouTube’s allegations, referring to a tweet from company chief executive John Legere:

“Our customers (heart) #BingeOn – streaming video w/o hitting their data bucket AND complete control to turn it on/off at will!”

A YouTube spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


T-Mobile US Inc on Thursday posted better-than-expected second-quarter profit and revenue and raised its 2015 subscriber forecast for the second time this year, boosting shares about 5 percent.
The No. 4 US wireless by revenue now expects to add 3.4 million to 3.9 million postpaid users, or customers who pay on a monthly basis based on usage, in 2015, up from 3.0 million to 3.5 million.

Quarterly revenue jumped 14 percent to $8.18 billion (roughly Rs. 52,360 crores) as aggressive promotions helped win customers in the second quarter. This beat analysts’ estimate of $7.94 billion (roughly Rs. 50,824 crores).

Once faced with subscriber losses, the company has revamped pricing plans, eliminated service contracts and launched marketing campaigns to turn around its business and lure customers from bigger rivals Verizon Communications Incand AT&T Inc.

It posted net income of $361 million (roughly Rs. 2,310 crores), or 42 cents per share, surpassing analysts’ forecast of 18 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“T-Mobile has progressively addressed one after another the question marks around the sustainability of its growth,” MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said in a note.

T-Mobile, which expects to report a profit in the third and fourth quarters, looks poised to pull ahead of Sprint Corp as the No. 3 US wireless provider based on subscriber numbers, Moffett said.

The company, which reported key user metrics earlier this month, added a net 2.1 million customers in the second quarter, up from 1.5 million a year earlier.

“We’re several quarters in a row with more postpaid customers than a combination of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint’s postpaid customer gains,” Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert said in an interview.

T-Mobile, which calls itself the “Un-carrier,” said the rate at which users switch to other networks, also known as postpaid churn, fell to 1.3 percent from 1.5 percent a year earlier.

As the US wireless market becomes saturated, companies are looking for new revenue streams. Verizon is gearing up to launch a streaming video service for mobile devices and AT&T, which closed its $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV, is working on mobile video products.

About venturing into video, Sievert said the question is whether viewers want wireless providers to curate content for them.

“We’re watching with interest what some of the others are doing,” Sievert said. “If our customers want us in this game and if we can add value to it, better believe we’ll be in it.”

Shares rose $1.88 to $38.92 in late trading.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Verizon Communications Inc will pay $90 million (roughly Rs. 576 crores) and Sprint Corp will pay $68 million to settle US government probes into unauthorised charges tacked onto their customers’ phone bills, federal agencies said on Tuesday.
The settlements are the latest in the government’s push against the practice known as cramming, in which mobile carriers bill customers for services they never requested such as daily horoscopes or trivia.

The Federal Communications Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and attorneys general from across the country investigated the charges and negotiated settlements with Verizon and Sprint, the No. 1 and No. 3 wireless providers.

“Well before any government action, Verizon Wireless stopped allowing companies to place charges for premium text message services on customers’ bills,” Verizon spokesman Ed McFaddensaid in a statement.

Sprint spokesman Jeff Silva said the company had already refunded customers tens of millions of dollars before the government’s investigation.

The companies joined national carriers AT&T Inc and T-Mobile US in agreeing to pay fines and refund consumers for such practices.

Last year, AT&T paid $105 million (roughly Rs. 673 crores0 and T-Mobile paid $90 million to settle a similar probe by the FCC, theFederal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

The regulators said on Tuesday that the companies had charged consumers for subscriptions to third-party products such as daily humor or celebrity gossip services, typically charging consumers $9.99 a month and taking a cut of up to 40 percent.

Consumers who called to complain were often refused a refund, the FCC said, even though government investigators could not find proof the services had been requested.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


AT&T Inc , CenturyLink Inc and US telecom and cable industry groups called for regulators to block parts of new rules for Internet service providers on Friday, citing “crushing” compliance costs and threats to investment.

In filings with the Federal Communications Commission, the industry did not ask for a suspension of the principal “net neutrality” rules that ban Internet providers from blocking and slowing down web traffic or from striking deals with content companies for smoother downloads.

Instead, the groups and companies sought to block the agency’s move to reclassify broadband Internet as a more heavily regulated telecommunications service, and a new broad general conduct standard that prohibits Internet providers from “unreasonably interfering” with consumers’ access to the web.

While the requests are expected to be rejected by the FCC, they pave the way for the industry to ask courts to pause the implementation of the rules while they are being litigated. The new regulations go into effect on June 12.

(Also See:AT&T Profit Beats Expectations, Fewer Subscribers Defect)

After a year of intense debate over how to best regulate Internet service providers, the FCC now faces several industry lawsuits over the proposed rules in different courts. It is not clear yet which court will ultimately get to hear the arguments.

The FCC on Thursday asked to transfer the pending cases to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which has twice rejected its previous versions of net neutrality rules but last year confirmed its authority to set Internet regulations.

Cable and wireless companies earlier argued they didn’t oppose the principles of net neutrality, such as no blocking of any traffic, but rejected the tighter regulatory regime. Friday’s filings offer the most specific details yet of the arguments they are expected to make in court.

The documents cited testimonials of executives at regional and local Internet providers that the rules will create costly compliance burdens and limit resources for improvements to broadband networks or new products.

The filings said that the complexity of the rules would be “crushing” for small broadband providers with limited human and financial resources, pointing to the risk of immediate lawsuits and additional burdens from new privacy protection demands.

AT&T executives said that it would cost the company about $400 million in lost revenue to end current marketing practices in order to set up new procedures for compliance with the tighter, though yet unspecified, privacy protection requirements for broadband providers.

The filings came from the USTelecom Association, CTIA-The Wireless Association, National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the American Cable Association, AT&T, CenturyLink and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)