Tag: T-Mobile

Deutsche Telekom puts T-Mobile sale on hold

tmobile1Deutsche Telekom has put the sale of T-Mobile US on hold while it worries about an upcoming US auction of radio airwaves.

The move gives potential suitors time to wait for a more favorable political environment toward telecoms mergers.

The US Federal Communications Commission is to start an auction for low-frequency airwaves at the end of this month and this could last for months. While this is happening, it is unlikely that there will be many mergers.

Auction participants are not allowed to engage in any partnership or merger talks during the weeks before and after the bidding process. T-Mobile US, which is 65.4 percent owned by DT has said it could spend up to $10 billion in the auction.

An auction of AWS-3 airwaves, which ended early last year, raised a record $44.9 billion.

DT has been trying to sell the unit for years, hoping to cash in on a recovery in the business.

Last month T-Mobile US’s net profit nearly tripled in the fourth quarter after it added more than 2 million customers. Last year it overtook Sprint to become the third largest provider.

But attempts to sell T-Mobile to Sprint in 2014 were blocked by US regulators and last year talks between T-Mobile US and Dish Network stalled.


T-Mobile puts an end to subsidies

T- Mobile USA has decided to bite the hand that feeds it, moving away from offering its customers smartphone subsidies.

Carriers and phone manufacturers have for many years worked hand in hand scratching each others backs in a bid to make cash, offering deals on smartphone handsets when customers sign up to specific contracts.

However, it seems T-Mobile has tired of these deals becoming the first company to make the split and shunning mobile subsidy deals.

It means that new and upgrading customers will have to pay a lot more for their handset.
The WSJ explained that for example a standard issue iPhone 5, sells for $199 with the subsidy and a two-year contract, but it costs consumers $650 if bought without carrier support.

The paper pointed out that the split could drive consumers to opt for a smartphone cheaper than Apple’s and Samsung’s offerings, just like the trend seen in countries that don’t offer subsidised deals. Of course this could end up damaging the big brands with cheaper handsets filtering into the market and forcing prices to drop.

However, savvy consumers could end up saving money as part of the plans, snapping up the   Samsung Galaxy Note II for around $20 a month for two years with a $200 downpayment as opposed to a subsidised deal which could see a two year contract costing on average $680.

The company is currently teaching staff how to explain the new deals, investing in around 20 hours of training per person.

FBI frustrated by private sector telcos

FBI agents are frustrated because private companies are getting in the way of their snooping – and are seen to be holding back implementing more sweeping surveillance of the web.

A CNET report has revealed the FBI has sought Homeland Security’s help in discovering cases that were “negatively impacted” by private companies which delayed investigations either inadvertently or did not immediately bend over to surveillance requests by the police. 

CNET’s report cites Cricket Communications, where federal authorities were irritated that the company allegedly hindered an investigation because the network was facing technical problems. These got in the way of a wiretap and location tracking.

Cricket told CNET that if requested disclosure is lawfully permitted, it hands over information to the authorities, but if not, it denies the request. 

The FBI’s anxiety about the efficiency of its data collection is part of a wider plan to appeal for major web companies to install back doors solely for the use of government surveillance, known as Going Dark. 

In a report acquired by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Homeland Security acknowledged that other mobile and broadband companies had also caused problems for data gathering, including T-Mobile, Comcast and MetroPCS.

In Honolulu, Homeland Security whinged that there were delays of up to four months from Cricket and T-mobile after subpoenas had been issued. The Phoenix office, meanwhile, noted a large number of its targets were using Mexican Nextel phones.

Homeland Security also moaned that Comcast dragged its heels in replying to a customs summons because FBI agents wanted connection records, though they did not specify customer IP addresses.

One company the FBI will not have to worry about is Microsoft, which has been getting on the Federales’ good side by financing ‘fusion centres’ – hubs were the various tentacles of US surveillance collaborate and share whispers.

EE gets its 4G head start this October

Everything Everywhere – rebranded EE – has announced when it will launch Britain’s first 4G network across the country, 30 October 2012. This will include mobile 4G as well as a fibre broadband service.

EE will offer 4G services to 16 UK cities this year. It is aiming for 98 percent coverage by 2014. 

Olaf Swantee promised the press that the rollout will be a “significant milestone for the United Kingdom, and for the people and businesses of our country who will now be able to enjoy the huge advantages of superfast 4G technology for the first time”. For the first time, of course, unless they’ve been to countries that already have 4G networks for a while now, including the USA and Germany. 

There have been long lasting controversies surrounding building the 4G network. The Coalition government itself was alleged to have stopped Ofcom from going ahead with the auction way back in 2010. After another 18 months, the delay was believed, Labour MP Helen Goodman said, to have been hitting the country in the pocket.

In January, Andrew Ferguson at ThinkBroadband said that the government hadn’t got its priorities straight: “Questioning of why the auctions have been so delayed, and why we continue to have a slow style consultation processes, rather than simply getting on with the auction and actual network implementation is something that must be done,” he said.

“We are told by the current Government that the e-economy is important to the UK, but the level of investment and political pressure applied to firms and regulators to ensure infrastructure projects such as the 4G roll-out do not seem to carry the same level of importance as road and rail infrastructure projects.”

When the ball finally got rolling, Ofcom was then criticised by Everything Everywhere rival Vodafone – now merged with O2 to offer its own 4G networks – of giving the company an unfair advantage, fearing that for the time being, its own services would be Nothing, Nowhere.

Top exec Guy Laurence said Ofcom took “leave of its senses” by handing over the first 4G services to EE, and claimed the organisation was “all but agreeing to grant the largest player in the market a headstart on the next generation of mobile internet services”.

Critics accused Vodafone of throwing its toys out of the pram because it wanted to milk more money from 3G services before switching to 4G.

Comtek CEO Ashar Sheibani put the boot in to Ofcom and Everything Everywhere, claiming that estimated figures about boosts to the economy were largely exaggerated. Sheibani also suggested EE was pushing for a faster roll-out so it could get a head-start on fashioning a monopoly before the competition got a chance. The Vodafone and Telefonica joint deal suggests further convergence of the big players. 

Now, the Guardian reports, the big telcos have signed a truce which should offer to close the gap on EE’s head start and bring 4G to the UK quicker than expected. New culture secretary Maria Miller revealed that there will be nationwide 4G services running on multiple networks by the end of next Summer.

A presentation, the Guardian reports, put the blame squarely on Ofcom. The regulator said Ofcom’s objective has “always been to release the spectrum as early as possible”.

Keen 4G-hungry T-Mobile and Orange customers can buy a Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, HTC One XL, and the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE, which will be ready for a 4G upgrade, reports TechRadar. iPhone 5 users will be expecting an upgrade to 4G, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE will also be 4G ready on EE, as Apple’s promises of offering 4G are actually realised.

Vodafone and Telefonica team up for shared 4G grid

Vodafone and Telefonica have announced plans to join forces with the ultimate goal of creating a shared 4G grid in the UK.

According to the Beeb, the companies hope to improve coverage and speed out 4G rollout by 2015, two years ahead of Ofcom’s 98 per cent coverage requirement, set for 2017.

Of course, Vodafone and Telefonica will continue to compete, but in doing so they will share the same network infrastructure. However, the deal will cut costs for both operators, which sounds like a pretty good idea given weak consumer spending in Europe.

Ovum’s principal analyst Jeremy Green believes that the shared grid makes sense. 

“This is an entirely sensible move by Vodafone and Telefonica in the UK,” Green said. “Most countries would end up with only two physical LTE networks.”

“It follows on from the merger of T-Mobile and Orange in the UK into Everything Everywhere,” he said. “If Vodafone and Telefonica had not also embraced sharing in this way they would have been at a competitive disadvantage. As it was, they were able to build on and extend the relationship that they already had through Cornerstone, their existing joint venture. This sets them up well for the 4G rollout and will help them catch up on 2/3G rollout too.

“Both operators stress that it has no implications for their relationship elsewhere, and that they will continue to compete on services. This move follows the logic of network economics and technological possibility, and is what the near future is going to look like,” Green said.

Although 4G is becoming the next big thing stateside, Europea doesn’t appear to be as interested. There is still a lot of clinging to 3G and there does not appear to be much demand to upgrade for the time being. This probably has something to do with the fact that 3G coverage in Europe is excellent for the most part, while 4G is rather limited. Of course, in the UK, the 4G rollout is dragging its heels and has been criticised from many corners.

Unlike their European counterparts, a lot of US consumers opt for pricey unlimited data plans on high-end devices, since they seem to believe that austerity is a European country neighbouring Austria and Italy. 

T-Mobile forced into the arms of Sprint

T-Mobile might be forced to link up with Sprint Nextel after its owner’s $39 billion deal with AT&T collapsed.

Deutsche Telekom has been left in the lurch after AT&T gave in to the US regulators and dropped its bid for T-Mobile USA. It needed the cash from the sale to make a dignified Germanic exit from the US market and concentrate on Europe.

According to Reuters, DT’s chief executive Rene Obermann has lost a lot of time and will now have to invest in the US market or find a new way to exit the country. Since leaving the country will be too expensive, he is probably going to have another crack at a merger with Sprint.

Will Draper, head of telecoms research at Espirito Santo, said T-Mobile is run-down and lacks the spectrum it needs to build a network to handle the data volumes that US consumers and businesses use on smartphones.

Obermann told investors he was working on a long-term cunning plan for T-Mobile and the only real option that analysts can think of is a deal with Sprint.

Obermann said that in the long term, T-Mobile needed more spectrum and network capacity but he would not speculate about any inorganic steps or deals. An organic step is when you walk into dog mess, so we guess he’s not talking about anything like that.

Before talks with AT&T were announced in March, Deutsche Telekom was looking at a potential deal with Sprint. This involved a sale of T-Mobile USA to Sprint in exchange for a stake in the combined company.

However, Obermann changed tack and bet the farm on a deal with AT&T. The reason was that while a Sprint merger was better in the long-term in the United States, it would be a pain for Deutsche Telekom because it would need to invest in the new venture.

Sprint also needs cash thanks to a costly network upgrade and the fact that its agreement with Apple to flog the iPhone bled the outfit dry. 

T-Mobile loses plot and sprays QR code on cow's arse

Technology has permeated throughout almost every area of modern society in the past few years, with microchips finding their way into just about all aspects of life.  

Now, it seems even the farmyard is not safe from the unstoppable rise of technology, as country bumpkins swap their pitchforks and cider jugs for iPads and a BlackBerry. Not the kind you pick, the kind you throw at the wall when it stops working.

We can thank T-Mobile for playing its part. The company has combined the mobile revolution with the combine harvester, reinventing age-old farming practices.  And the result, we have to say, is certainly interesting.

T-Mobile has been letting a group of 12 farmers into brainstorming sessions with its own suit-wearing creative types. The result is some suitably odd applications.

Our favourite hybrid is simple but breathtakingly effective – the surrealist vision of a cow with a QR code sprayed onto its massive bovine arse. 

T-Mobile is adamant that there’s a real purpose to the tech-inspired Dada rump art. It’s not just the result of some particularly strong scrumpy. Reports of other ideas are unconfirmed, but we have been tipped off about Hen bluetooth and a curious project that sellotapes a Wiimote to a goat’s face.

Apparently, scanning a QR code located on the cattle’s rear will quickly and inexpensively identify them as individuals, which they are, you cow racist. M&C Saatchi promises it cuts out expensive scanning equipment usually needed for chip implant systems. We have to say though, Banksy it is not.

Once the farmer snaps the cow’s posterior with a smartphone, they are directed to a website showing all the cow’s vital statistics – a bit like a bovine OKCupid.  You can see pictures of the lovely Shirley from Hampshire here.

Furthermore, in a nightmarish Farmville comes to life, the  team has also created a 3G controlled, moving scarecrow with night vision. It will likely do just as good a job scaring humans.

Live feeds from the night vision goggles implanted in the scarecrow’s eyes, essentially a 3G- controlled apocalyptic Wurzel Gummage, can then look out for what T-Mobile terms “nuisance birds” or livestock rustlers.

Another example of T-Mobile’s ludicrous foray into agriculture applications is the brilliantly monikered ‘flying sheepdog drone app’. 

It gives farmers the opportunity to “supplement” their sheepdogs with flying drones that can be controlled via smartphones, truly an app that will truly drag sheep-herding programme One Man And His Dog into the twenty first century.

Huawei lands Everything Everywhere deal

It’s built itself a firm little UK nesting place in the concrete jungle otherwise known as Bracknell, and now Huawei has made its stand over here in blighty, winning its first UK major UK contract.

The all encompassing Chinese network equipment maker has received the wireless network deal from Everything Everywhere – a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom AG and France Telecom SA, inherited from the merger of T-Mobile and Orange.

Upon signing on the dotted line Huawei has agreed to rebuild the operator’s 2G infrastructure over the next four years, which is claimed to give better sensitivity and improve coverage . It also seems that it will get itself into top position when it comes to building and advancing  4G too although Everything Everywhere hasn’t named its partner for this.

Whilst the Chinese giant will be splashing out on the champers, not everyone is going to be impressed at the deal. After all it’s no secret that many countries are already suspicious of the company when it comes to security. Most notably is the US, which last year tried to banned a deal between the company and an acquisition bid for 3Leaf. It tried to force the company to pull out of the deal – something Huawei refused to do – after claiming that the company failed to declare the acquisition of 3Leaf Systems. It instead claimed that it did not require clearance in this instance.

Of course the US isn’t being paranoid when you consider Huawei’s content against the threats to cybersecurity and the fact it’s a Chinese company. In October last year US lawmakers also made their feelings clear when they put the company under pressure over trading concerns on its links to the Chinese military and government

Then again, it seems old Huawei is juggling a double edged sword playing nicely, nicely with the US. Earlier this year Huawei’s chairman in the USA wrote an open letter gushing about his host country and appreciation for democracy.

AT&T will buy T-Mobile USA

Sunday, AT&T agreed to buy T-Mobile USA from Germany’s Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion. This is another acquisition in the race to expand and diversify US wireless spectra. The cash-and-stock deal has been approved by the boards of both companies and would make AT&T a dominant player in the US wireless telecom sector, pending regulatory approval.

Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive, said: “This transaction represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand critical infrastructure for our nation’s future.”  He continued “This transaction delivers significant customer, shareowner and public benefits that are available at this level only from the combination of these two companies with complementary network technologies, spectrum positions and operations. We are confident in our ability to execute a seamless integration, and with additional spectrum and network capabilities, we can better meet our customers’ current demands, build for the future and help achieve the President’s goals for a high-speed, wirelessly connected America.”

Deutsche Telekom CEO, René Obermann said “After evaluating strategic options for T-Mobile USA, I am confident that AT&T is the best partner for our customers, shareholders and the mobile broadband ecosystem. Our common network technology makes this a logical combination and provides an efficient path to gaining the spectrum and network assets needed to provide T-Mobile customers with 4G LTE and the best devices. Also, the transaction returns significant value to Deutsche Telekom shareholders and allows us to retain exposure to the U.S. market.”

There were rumours of this buy as far back as 2008. Sprint and Verizon use different technology to run their networks. Most analyst think an acquisition by AT&T would likely run into regulatory hurdles. AT&T and T-mobile have been partners for WiFi at Starbucks since 2008.

T-Mobile USA is the fourth largest network operator in the US, trailing AT&T, Sprint and Verizon wireless, with about 14 percent of the market. Deutsche Telekom has been talking to banks about what to do, and rumours since the first of the year kept saying Germany’s Deutsche Telekom would make a decision about T-mobile USA before May. As part of the transaction, Deutsche Telekom will receive an equity stake in AT&T that, based on the terms of the agreement, would give Deutsche Telekom an ownership interest in AT&T of approximately eight percent. A Deutsche Telekom representative will join the AT&T Board of Directors.

Another major reason for the combination is the compatible enhancement to their respective HSPA + wireless topology. Early last month Ericsson demonstrated three flavors of HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) with download speeds up to 168Mbps (megabits per second) and 24Mbps on the uplink . As well as the fact both have announced plans for LTE, along with Verizon. Even Sprint and its WiMAX provider Clearwire says they are evaluating LTE. BSN* sees the AT&T & T-mobile USA combo as a way to keep talking about 4G and simply enhance their existing networks. This allows them to wait-n-see which wireless manufacturer’s flavor of LTE works best.

AT&T thinks it can get government approval by pushing on President Obama’s promise of high-speed data to rural communities. Stepehenson added this comment to its press release: “With this transaction, AT&T commits to a significant expansion of robust 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) deployment to 95 percent of the U.S. population to reach an additional 46.5 million Americans beyond current plans – including rural communities and small towns. This helps achieve the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and President Obama’s goals to connect “every part of America to the digital age.” T-Mobile USA does not have a clear path to delivering LTE.”

On Friday, Deutsche Telekom AG closed at $13.58 (up $.03 or +0.22 percent) and AT&T closed at $27.94 (up $0.20 or +0.72 percent). TechEye will follow this announcement

Microsoft is the most ethical company in the known cosmos

Further proof that the fabric of the universe has been fundamentally changed since CERN was switched on has appeared.

Microsoft is among the world’s most ethical companies, according to a list put together by the Ethisphere Institute in New York.

There are 110 companies in the Ethisphere list, including Microsoft and 35 other newcomers. Getting on the list is decided by whether or not companies have leading ethics and compliance programmes, particularly compared to their industry peers.

More than 26 companies dropped off from the 2010 list because of litigation and ethics violations, as well as increased competition from within their industry.

Ethisphere publish the list to prove that it pays to be ethical. Those that land on the do-good list have performed better than the S&P 500.

However Starbucks also is on this year’s list probably for providing TechEye with much needed wi-fi back up in times of crisis.

Other tech outfits which made the list were Adobe, Google, Cisco, Symantic, Terradata, Ricoh,T-Mobile, Vodafone and Xerox.

Missing from the list are Oracle, HP, Intel, IBM, and Apple. Oracle was there in 2009 and seems to have slipped off. Oddly HP was also there the year before, despite being involved with snooping on hacks and the time. Other exits from the 2009 list include Intel and Freescale. Apple never was on the list.

If we had asked Apple about ethics it would have told us about its plans to build an Apple store in Chelmsford, so we didn’t bother.