Archive of the 3G/4G Category

Prepaid reaches the high, low ends

Prepaid wireless users are no longer relegated to out-of-date flip phones or the bricks that once symbolized the contract-free market. More and more sophisticated handsets are being introduced by carriers and being embraced by younger text- and Web-oriented wireless customers, according to New Millennium Research (NMRC). more

Sprint prepaid guru taking over 4G business

Matt Carter, the brains behind Boost Mobile’s $50 unlimited plan, is moving from prepaid to Sprint’s WiMax group, where he will take on the newly reinstated title of President of 4G. After Sprint (NYSE:S) acquired prepaid MVNO Virgin Mobile last month, Virgin CEO took Dan Schulman took over all prepaid operations, but Sprint has found a new task for Carter: performing the same black magic that revitalized Boost and launched the ‘unlimited wars’ in the US on Sprint’s newest business division, 4G.

Carter is stepping into shows that were originally filled by Barry West, Sprint’s former chief technology and President of 4G, who left for Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) after the two companies’ merger of WiMax assets last year. After the divestiture, Sprint became the controlling stakeholder in Clearwire and began to offer service over its WiMax service as a MVNO. While Clearwire was still in few markets, Sprint kept the 4G President role vacant, turning over 4G operations to vice president of mobile broadband Todd Rowley. But with Clearwire expanding its footprint to 20+ markets, covering 30 million pops, this winter, Sprint appears to be renewing its efforts in WiMax, bulking up its local and nationwide ad campaigns and reinstating the 4G President’s role.

“Matt Carter has led Boost Mobile prepaid service to unprecedented growth in the last year, and he has the executive and marketing skills to maximize Sprint’s industry leadership in 4G,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in a statement.

Sprint CEO Hesse on 4G pricing plans

Dan Hesse On the same day (and at the same investor conference) that AT&T’s Mobility and Consumer Markets CEO Ralph de la Vega talked about how his company is preparing consumers for usage-based billing models, Sprint (NYSE:S) CEO Dan Hesse shared his own thoughts on the subject.

“When you think about post-paid — and I don’t know what’s going to happen — it’s not just going to be your phone,” Hesse said. “It’s going to be your camera, your iTouch, your gaming device – they’re all going to become wireless, so what’s going to be the right plan for those? As we move into 4G, it’ll be much less about minutes and more about gigabytes (GB) as the main driver of what customers are buying per month, because it’s going to be VoIP-oriented. Minutes will be largely irrelevant. It’s going to be data-oriented. Customers may buy 100 GB of data rather than by month, they may buy monthly contracts or 1- or 2-year [contracts]. We want to have the flexibility — in wholesale and retail, prepaid and post-paid, with multiple brands — to move and morph, because business models are going to change…The biggest growth will come from non-traditional wireless devices.”

Distracted drivers get mixed messages

The potential of consumers talking while driving was a fear that kept Martin Cooper, Motorola engineer and the inventor of the first cell phone, awake at night, according to an interesting report in the New York Times today. He suggested a lock on the dial to keep users from making calls while in motion. This idea got lost as the business of in-car calling became more attractive, but other options have since arisen. The latest comes from ZoomSafer, which today launched a new Web site and partnered with cell-phone retailer Wirefly to offer free ZoomSafer-equipped BlackBerry smartphones to encourage safe driving. more

3G vs. 3G: Whose mobile data network is best?

As Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) and AT&T (NYSE:T) argue on TV whose network is fastest and most ubiquitous, independent performance testing firm Root Wireless has put their claims to the test, mapping out the performance metrics of all of the big four’s 3G networks in seven major metro markets. The findings were surprising. Though AT&T has taken a huge public relations hit for poor coverage and capacity on its high-speed packet access (HSPA) network, Root found that it’s network performed best in almost every single category from average download speed to level of connection failure (See TelephonyOnline’s related analysis of AT&T and Verizon’s networks). Root’s complete market data can be seen after the break. more

Manufacturing in the U.S.A. — an Adtran photo blog

So this week Adtran invited press and analysts down to Huntsville, Ala., for a debriefing on upcoming announcements and a tour, of among other things, its manufacturing facilities that build and assemble enterprise and carrier equipment here on U.S. soil, right in-house.

The company does ship high-volume manufacturing off-shore to contract manufacturing partners, but says managing first-runs and rush jobs locally — with its engineers and designers right in the next building — can actually save money when all costs are accounted for. Further, it gives the company insights into its own products that it claims competitors lack.

U.S-based manufacturing is so rare these days, we thought we would share a look. more

Adtran focuses on multi-access economics, mobile backhaul opportunity

Adtran this week opened up the doors to its Huntsville, Ala., headquarters to press and analysts to talk about a range of topics spanning its enterprise and carrier businesses.

On the service provider side of the house, the focus was on helping carriers drive IP and Ethernet ever deeper into the network while using Adtran’s multi-access platforms to affordably serve the mix of copper and fiber and TDM and Ethernet environments that are the reality today for most carriers.

Also on the agenda: opportunities in mobile backhaul, especially moving from bundled T1s to something more flexible, affordable and Ethernet-based; thoughts on broadband stimulus, national broadband and other funding scenarios; and the potential for blurring the unified communications lines between enterprise and carrier.

Plus: a tour of its on-campus manufacturing operations — a unique resource in an industry in which most manufacturing off-shored and outsourced. more

Nokia plans, previews Symbian UI overhaul

At Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Capital Markets Day yesterday, the handset maker reiterated its commitment to Symbian, but promised a makeover to the user experience, which many think has been hindered by a clumsy user interface. Rather than start from scratch or phase out Symbian in favor of Maemo, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo promised to take the Symbian UI to “a new level.”

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Tellabs-WiChorus a done deal

Tellabs (NASDAQ:TLAB) today finalized its acquisition of upstart mobile core gateway WiChorus, making Tellabs the newest entrant into the 3G and 4G core space. Announced just over a month ago, the purchase of the small and privately held WiChorus was a relatively painless process. Meanwhile, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) still has a few more hurdles to overcome in its own acquisition of mobile core vendor Starent (NASDAQ:STAR), which it announced just a few weeks earlier. As a publicly traded and much larger company (Cisco is paying $2.9 billion as opposed to the $165 million Tellabs shelled out for WiChorus), Cisco must has to run a much bigger regulatory gauntlet and doesn’t expect to finalize the deal until the first half of next year. more

Usage-based pricing key to AT&T’s iPhone woes, analyst says

By now it’s commonly known that consumer data habits on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone haven’t been friendly to AT&T’s (NYSE:T) overloaded 3G network. The average iPhone user consumes five to seven times the monthly bandwidth of an average wireless subscriber, and two times the amount of an average 3G smartphone user, according to Bernstein Research senior analyst Toni Sacconaghi. As smartphone penetration continues to increase, his belief is that usage-based pricing is inevitable in the US. more

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