Posts Tagged T-Mobile
T-Mobile needs the WiFi spectrum to compete with Verizon LTE? T-Mobile USA nearing deal for Clearwire spectrum – RealtyGo blog
Verizon’s LTE application gives them superior leverage in the Mobile data transmission space; Will T-Mobile emerge as a huge competitor…?
Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA unit is getting closer to a deal to buy spectrum from Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), according to a Bloomberg report–the latest twist in the long-rumored relationship between the two companies.
According to the report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, T-Mobile is the only potential bidder for Clearwire’s spectrum and a deal could happen by the end of the first quarter. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said at the carrier’s investor conference last month that the company does not need spectrum in the near-to-medium term, which could give T-Mobile leverage over Clearwire. T-Mobile has been upgrading its HSPA+ network and has not committed to deploying LTE in the near term.
Clearwire, which recently announced a debt offering of $1.33 billion, is seeking additional funding sources to continue its mobile WiMAX network buildout. Clearwire’s WiMAX network is in 71 markets and covers roughly 120 million POPs.
Representatives for Clearwire and T-Mobile declined to comment.
Clearwire late last year disclosed plans to sell off some unneeded spectrum. CFO Erik Prusch said late last year Clearwire was exploring several different options, including selling off spectrum in regional or market-by-market chunks. He said in the top 100 markets Clearwire has 150 MHz to 160 MHz of spectrum.
LAS VEGAS–Remember the days when Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel ruled the world? Everyone used desktop or laptop computers running Windows software and powered by Intel chips. While there were alternatives (think Mac), most of the world computed with Wintel whether they wanted to or not.
Today, thanks in large part to the smartphone and tablet cavalcade, the world’s primary computing platform may change. Microsoft and Intel are relatively minor players in both smartphones and tablets, whereas upstarts Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) are leading the game. At the Consumer Electronics Show here, Motorola (NYSE:MOT) and LG took the wraps off tablets powered by Google’s Android 3.0, dubbed Honeycomb, and Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor. Though Honeycomb is not yet complete, vendors are promising to ship devices in the coming months.
Further, Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is gearing to release its PlayBook tablet this quarter, while Apple likely will soon introduce an updated version of its iPad. And Hewlett-Packard has scheduled a Feb. 9 event where it may announce a webOS-powered tablet.
If consumer and enterprise users move the bulk of their computer use to tablets and smartphones–as some believe they will–then the relevance of Microsoft and Intel could fall into history.
“The future of computing is mobile. That doesn’t mean that desktops and notebooks go away, just that the growth appears to be in smartphones and other light computing platforms,” wrote Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart in response to my questions on the topic. “Right now, ARM and phone vendors have a decided advantage over Intel and PC manufacturers. This is not only relevant for tablets, but for smartphones as well–it’s why Apple, Dell, Asus, Acer, HP, et al are all trying to become smartphone vendors.”
Microsoft and Intel are attempting to reinsert themselves in the smartphone game, though their efforts are still in the early stages. As for tablets, Intel is working to supply chips for the gadgets but silicon vendors such as Nvidia have managed to capture the lion’s share of awareness in the space. For its part, Microsoft has said Windows Phone 7 is not intended for tablets and that tablet vendors should instead use its Windows 7 operating system for their devices, despite criticism that the platform is not suited for touch-based tablet computing.
Interestingly, according to a Financial Times article, Microsoft is at work on a “rewrite” of Windows geared toward touchscreen tablets. Microsoft representatives weren’t immediately available to provide details on the reported effort.
“Google’s Honeycomb poses a much bigger threat to Microsoft than it does to Apple,” wrote Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps. “Of the 24.1 million tablets we expect U.S. consumers to buy in 2011, the majority will still be iPads, but consumers looking for a cheaper, feature-rich alternative will turn to Google, not Microsoft.”
Asymo’s Horace Dediu took a broader view. In a post titled “This is the most exciting CES ever,” Dediu noted that PC makers have embraced platforms beyond Windows, and Microsoft has moved Windows beyond Intel architecture by embracing ARM Holdings. “These actions confirm the end of the PC era. Although most people would characterize the era as exemplified by a particular form factor or market, for me the definition of that era is the way the value chain was structured and hence how profits were captured.”
So what does this mean for the current crop of tablet and smartphone vendors? Despite evidence of a withering Wintel, it’s not a panacea. CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber told me that Android tablet vendors are already caught in a race to the bottom–a trend highlighted by Android tablets nearing the $100 mark–which indicates that vendors will have to innovate on the service layer to effectively compete. And they have a steep hill to climb, considering the work Apple has already done on the service layer (think iTunes and App Store).
Concluded Current Analysis’ Greengart: “One thing is certain: There is a rush to market here, and products that can deliver a clear and differentiated value proposition have a shot at standing out in the crowd. Slapping components together with a stock OS may work if you’ve got a time to market and distribution advantage, but that won’t be sustainable for long. There will be a lot of carnage along the way.”
T-Mobile USA is going to push its smartphone prices down in a bid to attract more first-time smartphone users to postpaid plans, the company’s CEO said.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm said the carrier plans to sell a number of devices running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform that retail for $100 or less. “We are working with our vendors on this one to drive the price of smartphones down,” Humm said, adding that not all customers want an expensive, high-end device.
The push by T-Mobile, the nation’s No. 4 carrier, highlights the efforts that all operators have made recently to push smartphone prices down and change their pricing plans to attract more first-time smartphone buyers. Subsidies by carriers have helped bring the price of some Android phones to well below $100. T-Mobile itself offers several such deals, including for phones like the LG Optimus T and the Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) Charm. Sprint (NYSE:S) just announced that it will launch the HTC Evo Shift Jan. 9 for $149.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate on a new, two-year contract. Additionally, flat-rate carriers are offering cheap Android phones even without a subsidy. MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) offers the Huawei Ascend for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) offers the phone for $140.
Aside from handset pricing, carriers are also working to lower the cost of smartphone data plans. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) rolled out tiered, usage-based data pricing last year, charging $15 for 200 MB and $25 for 2 GB of data. Both T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) have followed AT&T’s lead with similar data pricing options.
T-Mobile does not plan to gear its entire lineup toward to the low end of the market though, and will still offer high-end devices. However, the company has struggled to attract postpaid subscribers. T-Mobile lost 60,000 postpaid subscribers in the third quarter, an improvement from 140,000 net postpaid losses in the year-ago period but a sharp drop from 106,000 net postpaid additions in the second quarter.
The battle over network technology supremacy is reaching new heights, with both Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA trading claims over the performance of their next-generation networks.
Verizon Communications CTO Tony Melone dismissed T-Mobile’s claims that its upgraded HSPA+ network will offer service comparable to Verizon’s LTE network.
In an interview with CNet, Melone said HSPA+ provides incremental improvements via software and hardware upgrades and said it is possible to squeeze more performance out of HSPA+ technology. “So I am sure they are pushing the envelope on what can be done with HSPA+, but it doesn’t match what LTE is capable of,” he said. “The real difference in the technologies is when you look at what happens on the edge of the cell network, where the signal is weaker and speeds decrease. We’ve stated that average speeds on our network are 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps for downloads. And on the cell edge people are getting 1 Mbps to 3 Mbps on average. For HSPA, I’d say that the download would be a quarter of that or less. Folks who understand these technologies would have a hard time arguing with that.”
The verbal back-and-forth between carriers over network performance is nothing new, but has taken on a new twist now that both AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile claim HSPA+ is a “4G” technology.
Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, T-Mobile said at some point this year it plans to launch HSPA+ 42 technology, which provides theoretical peak speeds of 42 Mbps and represents a doubling of the speeds provided by the carrier’s current HSPA+ 21 network. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said that HSPA+ 42 will provide speeds that are comparable to Verizon’s LTE network. “There’s very little difference,” he said, adding that T-Mobile has been testing T-Mobile’s planned HSPA+ 42 upgrade against Verizon’s LTE network in Las Vegas and that both networks provided average download speeds of around 8 Mbps.
Melone added that he thinks the only reason T-Mobile is continually pushing the limits on HSPA+ technology is because the company lacks the spectrum to move to LTE. “So they are using HSPA+ to transition,” he said. “I’d do the same thing if I were them.”
T-Mobile USA is discontinuing its HotSpot@Home phone program. No more free, unlimited VOIP calls via Wi-Fi at home anymore, at least not through T-Mobile. Skype, anyone?
The program has been in place for two years, but apparently never hit it big. Current HotSpot@Home members can continue to use their subscriptions until they run out, and T-Mobile will continue to support phone calls via Wi-Fi in public hotspots.
Other than that, it doesn’t look like T-Mobile will be releasing a replacement to this service anytime soon.
Subscriptions were between $10 to $15 per month for unlimited calling for phones plugged into a broadband-connected adapter. But when Skype has monthly subscriptions starting at $2.95 that you can use from the ease of any compatible computer or smartphone, the HotSpot@Home program just doesn’t seem worth it.
Any T-Mobile users out there distraught over this?
RealtyGo currently is designing new Social VOIP Software for future Smartphone operating systems.