Archive for March, 2008

CTIA: Surround sound in your pocket

With all the focus on the latest videos, mobile TV shows and music libraries on wireless handsets, the quality of the viewing and listening experience often gets overlooked. But let’s face it: access to your Napster music library or feature-length films on your cell phone isn’t worth having if the sound quality is sub par. Recognizing this, Dolby Laboratories and Symbian Limited today announced that Dolby Mobile will offer surround sound quality audio for Symbian smartphone users on a plethora of content, including music, movies, TV and games. more

AT&T lets customers set the tone

Hoping to reverse a widespread trend for declining ringtone sales, AT&T’s announcement today of two new music applications, mSpot’s Make-UR-Tones and Remix, has the potential to reinvent the market – if customers aren’t already doing it for them. more

CTIA: Former presidential candidates added to the keynote roster

John Edwards and Fred Thompson have been added at the last minute to CTIA Wireless’ list of keynote speakers. The two former presidential candidates, both of whom flamed out in their separate nominating contests, will impart their wisdom on the wireless industry on Day 3. Perhaps that’s some incentive not to book the early flight out of Vegas next Thursday. more

TWC and Comcast–Sprint’s latest suitors

If Sprint were a celebrity it would be a regular feature on Entertainment Tonight: the ruffled carrier in and out of rehab that is constantly seen gallivanting with the industry’s biggest stars. First it was Verizon, then it was T-Mobile, and the constant rumors of an Intel tie-up with Clearwire and Sprint never seem to go away. The Wall Street Journal now has Time Warner Cable and Comcast pegged as Sprint’s latest partners, and this time it might be right. more

Putting words into action

The folks at Tellabs set out to do a survey of telecom industry professionals to determine their opinion of broadband availability. Here’s what they found: more

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Is Ciena cooking a PBT control plane?

Recently I reported that Soapstone Networks, which pioneered the market for Provider Backbone Transport control planes, won’t be alone for long. Equipment vendors in the PBT space know that other control planes have been developed for the Ethernet transport technology and expect them to be unveiled soon. My source said a pair of startup suppliers will probably emerge in the first half of this year. As I said, one of them seems likely to be Gridpoint Systems. I wonder if another near-future entrant will be Ciena.

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700 MHz auction closed but still creating controversy

All of the bids may be in, and the auction may have generated more than double its projected earnings, but after the 700 MHz auction’s close some people are asking why there weren’t a few more bids and a few more billion dollars in the pot. Specifically consumer advocates are pointing to the controversial D-block shared public safety/commercial license, which received only a single bid and failed to meet its reserve price after 261 rounds. more

A sneak peak at AT&T’s new wireless portal

AT&T is giving MEdia Mall a much needed face lift, updating the navigation and graphical user interface with a new design from UIEvolution. The new portal won’t go live until after CTIA, but you can preview it here.

Yeah that 3D interface is pretty cool, but that’s not what you’ll be seeing on the phone. The individual phone screens embedded in the various storefronts are actually the new portal catalogs. As you can see, not too much has changed. AT&T is really just sprucing up the site, acknowledging that the graphic capabilities of all of its devices have gone beyond mere text but at same time that the graphical capabilities of its lower-end devices are still limited.

The only really new thing is the ability to preview ringtones before you buy them–not exactly a big leap, but it’s certainly handy. What the new interface really does is bring the portal on par with a lot of the individual content sites that MEdiaNet links to. 

700 MHz Auction closes in round 261

The FCC closed the seemingly endless Auction 73 late this afternoon after no bids were submitted in Round 261. The Auction raised $19.592 billion in 28 days, but the winners of the 700 MHz licenses still remain a mystery. The FCC said it expects to reveal the secret identities of the high bidders in the next 10 days. There’s still no word on the fate of the D-block shared public safety/commercial license, which failed to reach its minimum reserve price. (See story to follow.)

700 MHz Auction: 210 rounds and counting

Anyone who thought the current sorry state of economic affairs in the U.S. would produce an equally sorry Auction 73 can toss those doubts outside. Though all excitement surrounding the auction dissipated weeks ago, it’s kept chugging along, entering its 210th round today, raising $19.6 billion, and beating 2006’s AWS auction handily on both counts. Auction 66 raised $13.9 billion and went 161 rounds. Despite the 700 MHz auction’s longevity, it’s bound to wrap up soon (you’ve heard us say that before…).  more

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